I woke up this morning wondering whether to reflect on destiny or devotion as they both resonated with my spirit for different reasons. However, the more I reflected on the word destiny, the more it drew me in and made me realize I was destined to write about destiny on the day I celebrate the 11 year anniversary of the woman I was destined to share my life with.
Talking about destiny is not as easy as it seems. One of the challenges I found was in how to define it. The definitions I found in dictionaries often times used destiny interchangeably with fate, as if they are the same thing. Fate is about all that was decided before we are incarnated. Destiny is about our participation in our life and how we respond to what arises in our life. Do we make the best of our lives regardless of what situations we encounter?
When we look across faith traditions, there is a relationship between responsibility, what some call free will, and predestination, what some call destiny. The scriptures across faith traditions affirm we do have a predestined fate, but we are responsible for using our free will in a way that leads to us fulfilling the purpose for our life. Having free will means we have to take responsibility for our choices, thoughts, actions, beliefs, and disbeliefs. While we are responsible for what we do with our free will in our lives, we are always surrounded by the loving and guiding power of our Higher Power; however one defines that source. Your spiritual tradition also has a bearing on whether you believe your entire life is predestined by the Divine or that you are provided with opportunities to make decisions that will assist you in living to the fullest of your predestined fate. So what do you believe?
Life does not provide each person with an even playing field. Sometimes our ability to act on our free will is shaped by conditions beyond our control. While I have been through my own share of struggle, I am also grateful for the hardships I have not had to experience in my life because of who I was created as. Some people may feel that they have easier or harder lives then others. There is not “An” explanation as to why this is. For example, there is an Igbo Proverb (Nigeria) which says, “Where you fall, there your God pushed you down.” This belief suggests that sometimes we are placed in situations, which are an inherent part of our journey.
Some believe our destiny in this life is related to our personal existence in countless prior lives. It is what we have done in past lives, which have contributed to the variations in circumstances people experience in this life. Those who do not believe in reincarnation believe their destiny is shaped by what they have inherited through their family. Our destinies are also shaped by the systems of inequality, which affect various groups and nationalities.
The beliefs about destiny are varied and range from the view of human beings as totally free and responsible for their lives, to one where life is regarded as totally predetermined by external factors. However, when we stop and look at all the spiritual teachings on this one word, what we learn is a very basic lesson – strive to do your best with what you have been given. Be grateful for what you have and make the best of every moment. Use your free will with a desire to be the best person you can be. This is our destiny, to be the best human being we can be.
Your relationship with your destiny is in part, about what you believe spiritually, but it is also in part about what you believe about yourself. Today, you can choose to go through life just flowing down the river, never knowing where life is going to take you and not taking any responsibility, or you can choose, as Anthony Robbins, suggests, to awaken the giant within and own your journey and make conscious decisions about your destiny. You can make conscious decisions about what you want to focus on in your life. You can make conscious decisions about the things that are important to you. You can make decisions about how to achieve the results you want in your life.
It’s your destiny. What choices do you consciously want to make about it?