I just read a somewhat depressing article describing secret regrets of twenty-something men.  It was a collection of short testimonials from guys who weren't able to share their feelings with someone they really cared about, who let their "true love" get away, who weren't able to forgive a wrong and who hurt someone they had loved.

I was somewhat surprised, yet inspired, at their honest heartfelt admission of (self-described) insecurity, selfishness, mistakes, cowardliness and immaturity, mostly because they were made by a group of young (probably non-Christian) guys in today's society.
 
No matter what the age group, religious background, or economic status though, most men, and I would include myself in this, probably share some of these along with a number of other regrets from their past.

So, what is it that holds us back from doing what we really want to do and what we know to be right?

Paul ponders this in Romans 7:18, "For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it."

Are we just going along with what other people think or say we should do?  Do we not care?   Are we trying to take the easy (or lazy) road?  Do we put more emphasis on ourselves and our pride than others?  Or are our decisions (or non-decisions) based upon some aspect of fear—fear of failure, fear of being vulnerable, fear of being embarrassed, fear of appearing weak or fear of making the wrong choice?

Fear can be contagious, spread from the pessimism of those around us, and seems to be the common denominator in many aspects of our life today. 

We are fearful of losing our jobs, our investments and our homes, we fear international terrorism, we fear where the nation is headed, we fear the stock market's volatility, we are influenced by the fear of what a person may do in political office, we are fearful of starting a new relationship, we fear being alone, and we fear what we do not understand. 

We don't draw conclusions based on facts, sound biblical advice and our hearts, but rather on fear.  When we make our choices (or avoid them) in this way, they often result in regret—for not doing what we believe in, for not being ourselves or for worrying about things we cannot control.

If we reflect upon yesterday with regrets and tomorrow with fear, we are not content in our situation or the lives we are leading.  Wouldn't we rather have regret for not doing what people say or for almost anything else than regret not doing what our heart tells us to and wonder how our lives would have been different if we had?

If you ever watch professional sports, you see athletes competing with a no fear, no one is going to beat me attitude.  With every shot, every move and every play, they make decisions to act and confidently commit completely, without regret.  They give everything they have and play like "there is no tomorrow," because there may not be in sports, or in life.

You don't even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! (James 4:14).

As children, many of us grew up with the thought that nothing could touch us or harm us.  We felt invincible and lived fearlessly.  However, somewhere between then and now, we lost that assurance, that "I can do anything" spirit.  At some point in our lives, fear took its place, influenced by society, parents, friends, experiences or from a number of other sources.

As we "matured," many of those fears developed and became second nature to us, and we have grown to accept it and it in us.   Today our fears often dictate how we live.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).