How to not regret your decisions and be happier in life

A few years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to take a much needed vacation.

Now, to be fair, it wasn’t just a vacation. We were also going to a conference for pastors that was to be held in Georgia. We couldn’t wait to go. For weeks we looked forward to this trip.

Over the nearly 19 years of our marriage, we haven’t travelled much, so this particular getaway was going to be something really special for us. The trip from our home to the Georgia border took around 10 hours, and we drove straight through.

We had left early that morning to avoid all the traffic and had done a pretty good job so far; but what happened when we reached our destination was something I never expected.

Decisions lead you down the road of life

As I remember, there were about 8 lanes of traffic in both directions. To top things off, we had arrived just at the peak of the evening rush hour. Our rented car slowed to a halt, caught up in the middle of grid lock…welcome to the city!

Over the next few days I drove through places much bigger than I was used to. Gradually I became accustomed to the traffic.

The best thing about all this driving was our GPS. As long as I listened to the soothing voice of the lady on the GPS, all would be well. After a few days, I thought I had a good bearing on our direction; after all, I had been driving in this city for days now.

So what did I do? I turned the GPS off.

What a mistake! Almost immediately, I regretted my decision. Not only did I veer off track; but I came very near having a collision trying to get onto the off ramp I thought we needed to take. Little did I realize, however, that I was completely wrong in my direction.

It took us around and hour and a half to finally get back to where we were supposed to be going.

What I learned that day has stayed with me for years.

It is a simple, yet powerful principle:

[clickToTweet tweet=”A bad decision leads to a bad direction. ” quote=”A bad decision leads to a bad direction. ” theme=”style5″]Here’s the deal:

God wants to take your life somewhere. He has a plan for you and a destination for you to reach; but all to often, we get caught up, and go in the wrong direction. Most of the time, the biggest reason is simple…we fail to listen to Him.

Just like I turned off my GPS, we have a tendency to shut down our spiritual ears, so that we don’t clearly hear God when He tells us to make a u-turn. Had my GPS been on, I would have never made a wrong turn. She had successfully guided me, took me to the places I wanted to go, and helped me navigate the twists and turns of unfamiliar territory. But for some strange reason, I thought I could do it on my own.

Human beings are prone to want to do things our own way…to our detriment.

You don’t necessarily have to be a caught up in sin, or have hurt, bitterness, and unforgiveness stored up in your heart to make a mess of your life.

Just go the wrong direction for a while…it’ll mess things up real good.

If you make a wrong decision about the purpose and plan of God for your life, you’ll end up in the wrong place. 


In fact, I bet you know someone right now who has ended up in a wrong place. They aren’t happy, they long for help, and they regret their past decisions.

Here’s the good news:

You don’t have to be that person.

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to oversimplify things; but it certainly makes sense to go in the right direction.

A bad decision leads to a bad direction.

So…how are you supposed to make better decisions? How do you make decisions that reflect the plan of God for your life?

Make sure that God has your ear.

Watch out who you give your ear to. All too often, people are mislead by well meaning voices, who happen to be saying the wrong thing.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Listen for the voice of God in your heart. He will confirm the right direction. ” quote=”Listen for the voice of God in your heart. He will confirm the right direction. ” theme=”style5″]

Pay attention to your prayer life. Listen for the voice of God in your heart. He will confirm the right direction.

There are times I wish hearing from God was as easy as driving up and placing an order at the fast food window; but most of time it’s not. It requires a real relationship with God. He wants to speak to those who take the time to listen.

Are there moments when God will direct you on the fly? Sure there are. All I’m saying is that  He really wants us to listen. In fact, when you listen, God will speak direction, comfort, peace, and wisdom into your life.

I don’t know about you; but I’m really tired of making decisions I regret. I’m going to make a decision to listen first, and act second.

Larry Shankle is a pastor, author, and blogger. He helps people get clarity and direction in their calling, purpose, dreams, and leadership.

Larry and his wife (Amanda) live in the Arkansas river valley with their two boys (Braxton and Dawson). He has spent almost two decades in active local church ministry serving in multiple leadership roles. Larry has spent the last six and a half years serving as Lead Pastor of GrandviewChurch in Natural Dam, AR.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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