Ok, friends. I'm about to get real... really, really real. This is something that absolutely DRIVES ME MAD! The idea that life is either pre-determined for us or we are given a choice. There's no middle ground for people. There's no sense of destiny intertwined with choice... or at least, there's not in my part of the world. My current belief system is very different from how I was raised, but I don't plan on delving into what I believe now. I just want to point out something that gets under my skin that nobody ever wants to talk about.
I was raised Southern Baptist. I was raised to believe in God and to follow his plan after I had made the choice to except him into my life. Now, people prayed and prayed and prayed for my salvation when I was a child. Once I said I had done so or "been saved" as they say, my choice was taken away. I was expected to live a certain way, be a certain way. I was expected to change everything about myself because of this one thing. I was expected to keep my mouth shut and follow the path God had planned for me, even though they always preached freewill and God giving us a choice. In their eyes the choice was follow him or don't. That was it.
Honestly, I'm less than 2 months away from my 27th birthday, and I have NO IDEA what that path is. When I was a teenager, I was definitely a "Jesus Freak." I believed everything they told me in church. I tried to be the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect Christian. But guess what? I wasn't. My parents still got ill with me. My grades weren't always the best, but I went to church every Sunday (morning and night) and Wednesday if they had a service. If the doors were open, I was there. I wanted to find this path God had etched out for me on his big map of souls and their intended paths. I wanted to know. I wanted him to tell me, to show me what I was meant to do in life. I had the choice to chose him, but I wasn't allowed to choice anything after that. Oh boy! Did that change!
When I went to college, I started to think for myself. I started to search and explore other ideas, religions, beliefs... paths. I started to delve into things my family wanted me to stay away from. I'm not sure why. I feel more connected to the world and more alive thanks to the things I've learned. I've made choices. Some of them were terrible, but I learned from them. I've started to figure out what my strengths and weaknesses are because of making choices. I say started because I don't think anyone ever fully knows everything about themselves there is to know.
Somewhere along the way I have chosen to believe in both destiny and choice. I believe both are possible. In fact, they coincide. There's no one or the other. No heavenly entity is going to come down and tell me every single step to take. Nor do I think that is going to happen for anyone else. I don't think there is one path. I think there are MANY! Many paths laid out in front of us and WE get to choose. Not some higher power, but us! We can continue walking the one we're on or we can veer off onto another. It doesn't matter. If we're allowed freewill one second but not the next, what was the point.
Just LIVE! Stop looking for some greater power to point you in the right direction. I've prayed for that. Sometimes it has worked but most of the time there isn't an answer because I truly believe God (or whatever higher power you may believe in) wants us to find our way around ourselves. If you feel truly lost, by all means, pray if that is what you feel compelled to do, but don't live your life solely in the pursuit of the almighty pre-determined path. You'll miss a lot learning opportunities. I know, I did.