Sunday, May 8, 2011

Life Regret #3: Dating

No one can make it through the twists and turns on the road of life without hitting a few bumps. It would be nice to have a road map so you can know how to spot a pot hole before you hit one. Unfortunately, you have to gain your own experience in life and hopefully learn from your own mistakes. So far in my short 28 years, I have found 4 major regrets that could have changed my life for the better.

The 3rd regret will need to have a little background explained. I should start with a description of an attitude of disobedience that I had. First, if God gives commandments by appearing to someone on a mountain top with some "thou shalts" or if we hear the "thou shalts" from a prophets voice it is the exact same thing and we should obey (D&C 1:38). If we don't follow God's guidelines for life whether they are given to us from God himself or from one of his servants I have found that pain, sorrow, heartache, and regret always follow.

As a Latter day saint in high school, the counsel was given not for young men and young women to NOT date exclusively just one person, from a prophet of God. Young men are encouraged to prepare for missionary service at 19 and then when they return date seriously and get married. The world might not understand this advice because so many are on different value systems, but their is always wisdom in God's word. Many youth make mistakes they wish they wouldn't have.

Whenever we seek to justify actions we know are contrary to God's counsels we say to our Father in Heaven that we will make our own path instead of following the path He has prepared for us. When I was 17 I justified the counsel to NOT seriously date, and as should have been expected pain, sorrow, heartache, and regret followed. My regret is not from committing any major sin but from the missed blessing I could have received from obedience. I like to think about commandments and counsel as a friend in a tower who is can see the path though a rose bush maze and we are blindfolded. If we listen we will make it through unscathed - if we make a wrong turn we will get hurt.

The girl was nice enough and things worked out for a really long time. Everyone wants to find love in their life and as a teenager the desire seemed to be intensified. At the time it seemed like a good idea to be with the girl and it was a lot better to be around her than it was to follow a path of destruction I was on before - or so I justified. I thought I was some "exception" to a rule because I was "different than the rest" of those other kids. This was my attitude - I didn't need to follow the counsel because I was "different". Unfortunately I found I wasn't. Crazy idea I know - but God was right!

I gave up a lot of opportunities to see the hand of God bless mine and the life of others for a simple wanting to be accepted. While serving as a missionary in PA I learned to love people and I could feel the Holy Ghost prompting me to go places, talk to certain people, and say certain things. I was a messenger from God for two years and loved it. I felt so happy that I was helping my brother and sisters in PA. It felt good to be a part of building God's Kingdom. I made life long friends out there that I will never forget. I have a friend Kyle who I met in PA. We have become great friends and our friendship has really strengthened me during tough decision and hard times in my life. I wonder how many Kyle's I missed because of my disobedience.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had followed that counsel to NOT date one on one. I think about the times when I became unfocused as a missionary and my mind would draw back to home and the life I had and wonder how many people I missed because of my personal pride in a small decision. I am sure there are many out there that think I am crazy for calling this a huge regret of life but I really did miss out of helping people. The girl and I have obviously went our separate ways since then. I am 28 now and have changed my life and try and put God first. I can't help but feel like I should have done more during my golden opportunity to dedicate 24 hours a day to missionary service.

There is nothing I can do now but to repent and determine to be a better follower of Christ. I am thankful for scriptures and a prophet to teach me how to avoid these regrets. Now I try hard to lead a life of discipleship, and although I fall sometimes I know that I have a loving Savior to help set me back on the path. This is just one example that God's word is tested and tried and when we disobey pain, sorrow, heartache, and regret follow.

- Joe Macedone

"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." - Doctrine and Covenants 1:38


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