In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed explored the free will that God give us to make our own choices beginning with this quote – “It’s choice, not chance, that determines your destiny.” (Jean Nidetch)
There is a tendency to use the words fate and destiny as if they have a common meaning and indeed the dictionaries often show them as synonyms; however, when I did a little quick research, I found some useful definitions of the differences –
“Fate and destiny are both words dealing with a predetermined or destined future. That’s why they are so easy to mix up. However, while fate is concrete and determined by the cosmos, destiny depends on your choices in life.”
It is that ability to make choices that is made possible by free will and the impact of free will is further defined in these two sentences that I found –
Fate brings you opportunities, and free will determines whether or not you take them.
Fate parades options in front of you, but you have to use your free will to reach up and grab one.
So, rather than believe that God has somehow pre-determined the course of your life, it is perhaps more accurate to think that God already knows what choices fate will present to you and can foresee the choices that you will make. There are all sorts of sayings about God being one’s co-pilot in life or being there with you as you make those choices. It is also comforting to know that even if you make bad choices, God forgives you and sticks with you.
Still, it is our free will that give us the opportunity to make those choices and we should take that responsibility seriously and make good choices. There are things that take away free will, like an addiction to drugs or alcohol, which cause people to make bad decisions. That is why some form of interdiction must take place, so that they can begin to exercise their free will and once again make the right decisions. One should admire those who attend AA or DA meetings because they have taken back control of their free will and made a good choice.
Rather than surrender to fate, take control of your destiny. Make the first good choice each morning with a prayer for God to watch over you during the day and help you make good choices at the inflection points that fate throws at you during the day. Remember Nidetch’s quote that is your choices and not chance that will lead to your destiny. Most choices that you face during the day will not seem to be all that important, but each one will impact your destiny, so exercise your free will and choose wisely.
I was searching for inspiration this morning, determined to break out of the lull in my blog posting. My life got a little busy and then went off in directions that distracted me from making the effort to write for this blog. I missed it and decided it was time to get back to posting. I keep a list of inspirational quote on my PC desktop, so I perused that this morning. two entries in that list caught my eye as being things that should be linked together in a post. They are:
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda
What strange bedfellows Emerson and Yoda, yet thinking of those two quote together seemed natural. How often we hear people say, “I’m trying to be a better person.” That person needs to heed Emerson’s and Yoda’s advice and decide to just do it, not to just try.
IF you find that you need a little boost of confidence each morning to help you achieve your destiny, perhaps this little verse will help.
Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
So make the decision and define your destiny, then get to it.
A reader of one of my recent blog posts sent me a little note of thanks for reminding her that it was OK to just be yourself, as she put it “to be the person that I was meant to be.” That brought to mind how many times we might say to ourselves “I never meant to be that way” or “ maybe “it was meant to be” or perhaps “this is the way that God meant it to be.”
I’m not a believer in predetermined destiny. I think we all create our own destinies. I was always taught that God allows us all free will, but reveals to us a correct path if we just ask – “correct” in the sense of making better decisions rather than one that lead us into trouble. There are people who wear those little rubber bracelets that have the initials WWJD on them – What Would Jesus Do – as a reminder to stop and think before making life’s decisions. For them, it’s a way to interject some of the lessons of the Bible back into the decision-making in their daily lives.
Back to the original opening thought. The intent of this person’s email was to say thanks for making me feel better about just being myself, about loving myself for who I am and for not worrying about what others may think about that. So, it’s not so much that she was meant to be who she is; but, rather, that, who she has turned out to be is OK with her. She is at peace with herself and that, for many, is a huge victory in life. I have known many people who never seemed to get comfortable with who they are. They were always striving to be like someone else and thus they were always unhappy when they could not achieve that goal. It is truly a happy thing when you can be at peace with who you have turned out to be.
I’ve also see the cute little phrase “Lord, please make me the person that my dog thinks I am” on T-shirts and other things and it points to the same thought process. Your dog gives unconditional love to you and asks for your love back. What could be more straightforward or simpler than that? If we all lived life with no other guidance than that, I suspect the world would be a much better place.
Are you at peace with who you’ve turned out to be? If not, get one of those little WWJD bracelets and wear it for a while. Maybe it will cause you to stop and take different directions on the life decisions that you have to make. Go get a dog, too. And, don’t get a puppy, get some lonely dog at the pound who needs a home. He (or she) needs you as much as you need him and that will work well for both of you. Think of it this way – you’re both lonely and afraid and in a cage that life has landed you in and both of you can free the other to live a better life. Then try to live up to the phrase on the T-shirt and be the person that your dog thinks you are.