He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, April 10, 2017

Altering My Destiny

           As a child, I remember wondering what I would be when I grew up.  It wasn’t something my family talked about much.  Most of my extended family was poor, and since that is what we knew, it was accepted as “life.”  It was “meant to be” and you couldn’t do much about it!  

          There was one aunt who married into a family of greater wealth than what most of the family had, and it seems she no sooner married than relations became extremely strained; to the point of being totally cut off.  Two uncles took a different road, as well, moving many states away to live their lives.  I have no memory of having met either one of them, yet both are alive and have children, and certainly I expect grandchildren by this time.  They chose to change the course of their lives; they changed their “expected” destiny!

            I have a friend, who for years, said he would become a rich man.  He also said he would stop some specific bad habits, ending with, “It is my destiny.  My life was laid out before I was born, so it doesn’t matter what I do, when it’s time, these things will happen. It is a predetermined course over which I have no control!”  I’m not sure I agree with this idea since, while I know we all have a “destiny,” we alter that course by our choices because we have free will.

            God has a purpose for all our lives.  It is part of the “creation God instills in us before we are born.”  He gives us gifts and opens doors that can lead us down the path that does His will.  But as humans, we can ‘go the long way’ if you will, because we make choices that are not part of his plan.  He doesn’t force His will on us.  It’s a choice.  Consider the Israelites when they left Egypt.  God’s plan was for them to go into the Promised Land.  But their choices left them wandering in the desert for forty years. It was the next generation that finally crossed the Jordan. 

            As I grew into a young teen, still I did not know where my life would lead me.  There was a time I considered teaching and dreamed of writing, but that dream seemed so unrealistic, I didn’t dwell on it but for a moment.  I believed writing was for someone who had much education, was gifted in Literature, had to live in New York or some other busy city, and it could never be me!  It truly never occurred to me that if God wanted me to write, then a writer I would be!

            Yet my destiny was different than what I imagined.  God did have a plan, but I suspect ‘I took the long way’ much like the Israelites because I didn’t believe in my skills or God’s power and purpose.  Of course, God can use my choices to work out His plan.  Writing later in life gives me the perspective of “life experiences,” something which had I started in my youth, I would not yet have had.  Still, if I’d followed my ‘dream,’ however brief, there might have been so many other possibilities.  I’ll never know. 

            Our destinies are part of who we are supposed to be, but the path can go forward, or backward, with lots of “bunny trails” along the way.  We need to be open to God’s guidance, looking to see with a prayerful heart if we are walking through the doors God opened or forging a path through a forest (or desert) we weren’t meant to be.

            Are you following the destiny God has for you?  Have you searched with a pure heart what God’s purpose is?  Or…..are you hanging back, unwilling to grow and produce the ‘fruit’ God has designed for you?