pondering regret

I became a Christian when I was 18. A choice I will never regret.

But there are some choices after that day that I sometimes do.

I wonder what University would have been like if I didn’t spend most of my time running a Christian Ministry. And then I wonder where I would be in life if I didn’t go to Seminary for another 3 years. And now I look back and think about a life that didn’t involve 5 years of starting and pastoring a church.

That is about 8 years of full-time commitment to Christian work and another chunk of free time devoted in University.

Sometimes I wonder if I wasted my time. Sometimes I regret it. Sometimes I wonder whether it was worth it.

Seems like a lot of time to devote to something that ultimately I think has almost entirely lost its purpose and in many cases, usefulness… not Christianity, but the work part.

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11 Responses to pondering regret

  1. Joel says:

    Hey Kyle,

    Been reading your blog lately. Just read this post then read this verse – thought it would be an encouragement to you.

    1 Corinthians 15:58
    Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

  2. Alastair says:

    Not to be too sentimental, but I would not be who I am today (which I think is for the better) if it wasn’t for you sharing your life with me through the open house.

  3. Welcome back Kyle, it’s good to see the thoughts rolling again. Thanks for sharing.

    A few of my friends (mostly via facebook) are pondering the same thoughts as you, that most of the ‘work’ of Christianity seems futile.

    I totally had the image in my head of you running on a hamster wheel for 8 years. You managed to convince a few people to Join you on that hamster wheel as well. I hopped on for a little bit, before heading towards a much bigger wheel :)

    I remember TOH as a place where people came together, ate, laughed, loved each other (occasionally not I suppose), shared hurts and hopes. All within the context of (as best as you and Anna knew how) of you loving them. In that respect I consider what I saw a resounding success. I felt loved and accepted by you.

    I remember seeing you go through paradigm changes and you openly sharing that. I remember it being awesome, even if I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it all. Loving others is hard work, and can easily burn you out (as I’ve flirted with on occasion), but while much of it seems a waste (and rightly so), the love part is not. The loving others part in my opinion was worth it.

    Unless in your retrospection you believe that you never did it out of love or never truly loved others in the journey. That’s an entirely different story. I’d say that the little part of your ‘Christan work’ journey that I was part of had the fingerprints of love on it.. so you fooled me :)

    Beer at Augustines and a catch up one day would be most invited if you’re up for it. I’m sure Anna would like to meet our little one when he or she finally arrives as well (due date was yesterday).

  4. Rachele says:

    I don’t think you should regret your 5 years pastoring a church. You affected a lot of people in a positive way, and I know for myself that The Open House made me look at church in a whole new light. Without The Open House none of us would have ever met, and even though sometimes all of our lives are too busy to see each other all the time- its those friendships that I made in the community of The Open House that I value the most! You did an amazing thing with The Open House and I always valued your wisdom and teaching.
    I sometimes wonder what life would be like for me too- if I went to university right after high school. But we can’t get caught it up what could have been- we can only create what we want to happen in our lives moving forward.

  5. I wonder about some of the same questions . . . not all of the time . . . but some of the time. I recently spoke with a Christian leader, teacher, seminary professor and complained about something similar to your “regret.” He told me he felt similar emotions. I did not like that. This guy is my picture of success. His life looked so much better than mine. I will continue to wrestle through my own questions.

    I visited one of my three daughters the other day. My daughters are grown and married to wonderful men. Your boys are young. As I flew home from the visit I was struck by the thought that “it is a great blessing to have adult children that love me.”

    Shalom.

  6. Derek says:

    I will second Alastair’s comment. You’ve made a bigger impact on the community than you give yourself credit for. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t still be living in Vancouver today if it weren’t for what you did with the open house. The relationships that I made through the open house are what I appreciate most, and at the end of the day, that’s what church is about, right? IMO, the open house is still going strong, it just looks different than it used to.

  7. Frances says:

    Ahem…Lots of us devote a decade to jobs or people or places or etc. that end up not part of our present.

    Maybe this is what our twenties are all about? I think this change over time when you feel introspective and are getting retrospective- is supposed to feel confusing and help us morph into something new. Try this for an experiment- pretend to be 45 looking back on your thirties are you going to be fully happy with this man? What could you be doing to be happy in ten years time?

    Regret should not be felt over the time devoted to things that have made us who we are now. Just let it fall away and try and do the things you want to do now Cliche to finish….our lives are a great big process of discovery.

  8. Kyle says:

    I enjoyed reading all of your responses. I was very moved and I felt incredibly loved.

    At this point of my life, I am enjoying a season of doubting… purposeful doubting in order to see what sticks. I had a moment today in which I wondered about my Christian work past and this is how it came out. Some of my thoughts are just thoughts, but I am enjoying seeing where the thoughts take me and all of your varied responses were really encouraging and interesting to me. Thanks a lot!

    Have any of you doubted personally about something you wouldn’t want others to know, or something you felt wrong about even questioning it at all. I find the process incredibly liberating. If you have Id love to hear about it. I know sometimes in the Christian life there seems to be a pressure to stay strong and not doubt and I think while I was in the ministry I rejected “regretting” or doubting any of my choices, which may actually have had a more negative impact. I am really enjoying writing again with freedom to explore those emotions for a second time.

  9. Byron says:

    Sometimes when people move to a new city where they only know a few people, have no idea what they’re going to do, have an initially awkward time living with their estranged girlfriend’s brother, and experience the loss of a family member resulting in the all but utter devastation of their entire family they can have a very hard time adjusting and finding support.

    And other times there’s The Open House.

  10. Selam says:

    Billy Graham once said (paraphrasing a lot) ‘It takes 40 people to bring someone to Christ. The first person thinks they did nothing, and the last thinks they did everything. Both are wrong.’

    I’ve come really understand that as Christians we can’t let only the things we see be the main determinant of how we feel about something (good or bad). At the end of all things, if you’ve walked with God and shared his love, then

    “all things, together, work for those who love him, and are called according to his purpose.”

    Regret the times you were away from God or his will, not working for him.

  11. Kyle says:

    Wow Byron.

    Thanks for that.

    Powerful.

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