Saturday, July 12, 2008

What Does This Mean?

As I kid I was taught that I have a destiny and I am going to fulfill that someday. It's a rather simplistic notion as I look back upon it. I never questioned the idea. Frankly, I doubt a lot of kids would question such a notion. You lean on adults to tell you how the world is. If they tell you the world is what it is not, well, who are you to know the difference? The more I think about it, however, the more I believe the destiny doctrine -- I coin the phrase -- is both naive and destructive. It places an expectation in a person that one should wait for the appropriate moment to react to a particular event. An event that you will somehow recognize because God is going to shoot down a light from heaven to let you know about it. Or something like that. Not that God cannot come and get you if you walk away from your calling. I am not contradicting that idea. There are far too many biblical examples for me to knock down the fact that God does call people to specific purposes.

However, not everybody gets a burning bush. You might notice that the people who get those moments are the most reactive rather than proactive people in the whole Bible. I mean, look at Moses. He tried to help his brethren, ended up committing murder, tried to cover it up, and ran off into the desert to hide from it. He had no plans to return and rescue his people. How do you get through to someone who reacts to his calling with fear? Burn a bush and yell at him. Sounds good to me.

On the other hand, consider Jesus's parable of the talents. Nowhere does it say the master explained in excruciating detail what each servant should do with his money. It just says he gave them the money and went on a journey. He expected them to use the money to produce more money. Maybe the idea of an explicit destiny is incorrect.
A calling is different from an absolute destiny. A calling allows for free will. Destiny doctrine is fatalistic. It even suggests you cannot accomplish your work until you receive that explicit voice of God. It does not take into account that things change as you live your life. If you go along waiting for that epiphany I doubt it will ever come. You have to make a decision to follow a dream. You have to develop yourself and continue to make positive changes. You cannot hide away expecting your opportunities to walk up to you and ask if you are ready to join the game. Destiny doctrine is a rigid teaching that I have heard at many evangelical churches. I think it's a human response to a human idea. We want to believe that our lives have a purpose. Yes, they do. But it's okay to make that purpose happen.

In the end I am talking about myself here. I have taken a circuitous route to reach the place where I am. The truth is, I will never have a fulfilled life until I make the decision to pursue the interests that I really enjoy. I will never be content until I give up the idea that somewhere out there my fate is waiting to grab me by the throat and pull me into the right path. Frankly, I need to remind myself that proactive is better than reactive. One might say, proactive is the new reactive -- for me, at least.

1 comment:

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