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What is “destiny”?
And more to the point, what is your destiny?
Do you have one? Does each of us have one?
How you answer that question will reveal many of your beliefs about life, in general.
Some people believe their destiny is in their hands: it’s up to them. They can, in fact, create their own destiny.
And I think there’s an element of truth in that. Each day, we make decisions about what we will do with our day. We make decisions (those of us who have mobility), about what our level of physical activity will be. We make decisions (most of us) about what we will eat, and read, and watch and do.
How we treat our bodies, what we put in our minds, and how we spend our time: all these decisions have consequences. If you take a pattern of small decisions, made consistently over time, these decisions do have consequences, and will greatly impact our lives.
But we can also kid ourselves into believing that all these choices give us control over our lives. It only takes a sudden health crisis or an unforeseen accident for us to suddenly become aware of just how LITTLE control we actually have over our lives – over our destiny.
For those of us who believe in God, there is another aspect to our destiny.
Many believers subscribe to the line of thinking that our Creator created us to do certain things. Scripture teaches such, in the New Testament. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.
As a believer in Jesus, when I think of the word “destiny”, it’s that verse, Ephesians 2:10, that comes to mind. It has, in fact, become a kind of life verse for me. So very often, I find myself asking for guidance, that I might do the things that God has prepared in advance for me to do. And somehow, that thought that they are things that He has prepared in advance for me to do? Well, it helps! It takes the pressure off, so I don’t have to worry whether or not I’ll “get things right”. If God wants something done, it gets done. And those are the very things that I want to do!! I want to live my life with the knowledge that my heavenly Father is with me, there to guide, help, and enable me. When you know that He loves you, when you believe that He takes pleasure in you, it makes the thought of His companionship with you as you do those things, that much sweeter.
I began this post with the question, “What IS destiny?”, because in the seventh and final chapter of the book The Cure: Two Destinies, I found myself wrestling with that very question.
I think it’s easy to get tripped up. At one end of the spectrum, is the belief that destiny is some larger-than-life thing that only happens to famous people, or great people, or fictional people. “Destiny” sounds grand, and romantic. Surely “destiny” doesn’t happen to everyday, normal people. Destiny? Sounds too high falutin’ for me.
At the other end of the spectrum is the belief that I make, and must make, my own destiny. I am the Captain of My Own Destiny. Thus, the onus is squarely on me, to decide who or what I will be, become or do. (And at the opposite end of the spectrum, this kind of thinking almost completely discounts the role of Divine Providence, or even of dumb luck.)
But I think the truth lies somewhere outside of either of those two ideas.
If you’ve read the book, The Cure, or if you’ve read my posts on the book, you may remember that there were two metaphorical paths. One was labeled “Pleasing God”, and the other, “Trusting God”. So this, the seventh and last chapter of the book, indicates that choosing either path also involves a choice of destiny.
The problem with choosing the path labeled “Pleasing God” is that it keeps us stuck in a self-focused mindset. All our efforts revolve around striving to please God, who is Perfection. The idea underlying this is that MAYBE if we just strive hard enough, then maybe we can sin less. And if we sin less, then we’ll be a little closer to perfect, (like He is), and then MAYBE with all our hard work and efforts for the Kingdom, MAYBE we can please Him. Can you see the messed-up, navel-gazing focus of such a mindset? It’s really still all about me-me-me. “How’d I do?” “Am I doing enough?”, or, worse, “Do I look as holy as my favorite admired holy person?” or “Do the people at my church/on my Facebook feed think I’m exhibiting holiness?” It leaves us trapped in an immature state: striving, always striving, to please God by the things we do. And attempting to show others how hard we’re trying and how good we’re being.
We can NEVER be good enough.
Guess what else?
God ALREADY is pleased with us.
When we believed in His Son, *that* was the work God required of us. (John 6:38-39) He then made us a new creation. And now, His Spirit lives in us, and He takes great delight in communing with us, as we remain in Him. All He asks of us is that we trust Him. (Without faith, says the book of Hebrews, it is impossible to please Him. So the converse is also true: WITH faith – with trust – we DO please Him.)
So the path of Trusting God, which leads to the Room of Grace, may have been, at first, about OUR healing: a healing in our understanding of who God is and how He sees us. It may have initially revolved around a better understanding of our relationship with our Father in heaven. But secondly, once we understand that, and as we draw on His love, and as we live out of that new nature He has placed inside of us, we have love, and to spare. We mature. We become outward focused, as we discover that our new nature has unlimited resources of love to spill outward onto others who are in need.
Healing results in maturation, which results in us joyfully walking into our destiny.
And as we walk into that destiny, we find ourselves engaged in obeying both the first, and the second greatest commandments. We love the Lord our God with all our hearts. And, we love our neighbor as ourself.
So destiny becomes doing the works that God prepared in advance for you to do, yes, but doing them for all the right reasons. Doing them because you *know* you are loved. Doing what’s on your plate today because you love and enjoy fellowship with the One who made you, and who is there to guide you into what He has for you to do, today.
Destiny doesn’t necessarily come with angel choirs singing in ascending notes of, “Ah-ah-ah!” It doesn’t necessarily come with large crowds cheering your words, or with great financial success. Those ideas are the kind of chum that the media ladle out daily, but don’t be tricked by those fishy smelling lies. Destiny comes in the little everyday moments, in the things that have come your way, today. God is big enough to have you exactly where He wants you, and big enough to get you exactly where you need to be, when you need to be there.
So, whether your destiny is going off to dig wells in Africa, or kneeling down to give your own child or grandchild a cup of cold water: all our times are in His hands. It’s our job – but even better – it’s our JOY – to get to make this journey with our heavenly Father, who takes the greatest of delight in making the journey WITH us. It’s OUR picture that He keeps up on His refrigerator. We are that precious to Him. All He asks is that we trust Him, and He will lead us into our destiny.
This post is NOT sponsored in any way. The book, The Cure, was life changing for me. It came my way via a dear, dear friend who had received a great deal of help from it herself. While it might not be life-changing for everyone who reads it, it certainly was for me. I led a book study using it with some friends with whom I meet on Fridays, and they loved it so much that they all asked to immediately read it as a group again. THAT’S never happened to me in the history of …ever…so….I don’t think it’s just me who needed that book.
So, picture me opening my hand, and offering you a peek at something that to me, and to several of my friends, has been treasure. Open it if you’re hungry for change, and healing.