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Do you believe in Destiny?

I’ve always felt that whatever happens was meant to happen. Otherwise it wouldn’t have happened. You know, because something else would have happened instead.

But the idea of “meant to” connotes influence: who  meant it to happen? (Not to mention why, which is a big enough topic for it’s own separate discussion.) For me, the who is God, and I do believe in some kind of destiny planned by God for me.

I’m just not entirely sure what it looks like.

I very much believe that He works in my life in a multitude of small ways every day. And I believe that He has an overall plan for my life and for the end of my journey – a place where He intends for me to end up. And I believe I have a whole lot of free will too. So, what does that all add up to?

I think, if I looked at my destiny as a map, there would be a starting point and an end point, and checkpoints all along the way. I think God set those long ago. But I can move from point to point, on from the beginning of my trip to the end, using any route I choose. I can take a short cut or go the long way. I can take the highway, or the most backwater, overgrown, muddy path imaginable. That part’s all up to me.

That’s what I believe…

Here is what some other people had to say:

Logan: Not necessarily.
—Michelle: When I say that, what do you think of?
Logan: Pre-ordained paths. I don’t know, I don’t necessarily think that everything’s destined to be or one event is destined to happen in your life. That’s too massive an idea for me. I mean, because once you get into destiny, you get into what’s controlling destiny and…if it’s a master plot and if the world’s already been set up and we’re just living a pre-set path…and I just don’t think that’s happening.

Alaina: I don’t know. I think so, yeah. I don’t know if it’s the real definition of destiny, but when two people are meant to be…
—Peyton: What type of destiny? There’s a whole bunch – what are you looking for?
Rebecca: Whatever you want. Whatever you think. What do you think the definition of destiny is?
—Peyton: Destiny is when you’re searching for something and you’ve found your destiny. It could be a person.
Alaina: That’s what I’m thinking of, like when you’re searching for the other half and you find him or her.
—Michelle: Do you believe people always find it, whether it’s a person or what you’re supposed to do with your life?
Peyton: I guess you’ve found your destiny when you’re happy with what you’re doing.
—Alaina: Not everyone has found their destiny.

Glo: I do believe in destiny.
—Michelle: How do you define destiny?
Glo: It’s your fate. It’s God’s plan for you.
—Michelle: Do you believe that God plans every little thing…
Glo: Yes.
—Michelle: …or do you believe he plans long term, the ending?

Glo: Everything works according to his plan. It’s not time sensitive, it can happen any time during your lifetime. Cause I found my true love at 40; I’ve been married once. So…it happens. It happens at the right time. You might not know when it is. For me, if you’re destined to be married, then you will be married. You just have to believe in the destiny.
—Michelle: How does free will play into that?
Glo: If you have the free will that you’re waiting for somebody to come into your life, you would entertain all the possibilities that do come into your life. If you shut it down on your system that “I’m not seeing anybody, I’m not destined for anybody,” then you would not go on dates, you would shut it down. So that removes your opportunity to meet somebody.
—Michelle: So, with our free will, even though God has a plan, maybe we could still mess it up?
Glo: Yeah, because it’s still your choice though. God will give you the choice. If you didn’t work for it though…you have the chance to work for it. If you don’t work for it, it will not come.
—Michelle: You’ve made that decision.
Glo: You’ve made that decision and you would not put that effort, doing something that would have an outcome for what you’re longing for. It takes free will as well. It doesn’t come on a silver platter.

Jacque: Yes and No. I think that there are certain paths that you choose, that shape your destiny. But I don’t believe in a pre-set, pre-ordained, this is what’s going to happen regardless of what you do. I think that a person has a destiny, otherwise why would you be here, but I think that there are various destinies that you could end up with. I think if you choose one path, this is what happens, and if you choose another path, this is what happens. I don’t think it’s pre-set.

Nadia: Yes, but it’s not always fulfilled. There is a path for you to take, but I don’t think a lot of people take it.
—Michelle: So, we have our free will to do what we want…but do you feel like that’s a religious thing, like that’s the destiny…is…a will for our life? Some people think of it as fate and destiny being the same thing.
Nadia: I think there’s different kinds of destiny, it’s kind of destiny of like, who you’re supposed to be with, destiny of where you’re supposed to end up…your job or how successful you are. And you could fulfill one, but not the other. You could be with the right person, but be in the wrong place.
—Michelle: One of the things that Glo just said, the same thing, that yes there is a plan, a destiny that was meant for you, but you still have to put in your part of the plan. If you don’t do it, you could not get the destiny that was meant for you.
Nadia: Right!

Matt: You like to ask the hard questions. And the first thing I thought of was Mr. McFly saying, “you are my density.” I would say yes and no. I do believe there are certain things that will happen no matter what, and thus are destined to be, but also that we have freedom within that framework on A LOT of other topics.

Rebecca: Self created destiny. I think destiny is your purpose, or… the things that are going to happen to you based on the decisions that you made and the courses you have set. But I don’t believe in pre-determined destinies. I don’t think that things are pre-determined in a way that you can’t alter or change them, because I do believe in free will. And I think that there might be a direction that you start out in and that some things are going to occur if you continue on your path, but that you have the ability, if you are looking, to see and change where you’re headed.
—Michelle: To me, I don’t believe in a pre-determined destiny, but religiously speaking, I know God has a plan for me.
Rebecca: You can choose the plan or not. It’s up to you whether you do what you think you’re put here for.
—Michelle: Yeah.
Rebecca: I don’t believe anyone is put her for anything other than to experience this life. And how you experience it is up to you. I think that life is a gift, and I think to fully realize that gift you have to be the best that you can be. And achieve the best you can be. And I think when you are doing that, or working towards that, that’s the plan. The plan is to be everything you can be and to be generous and kind and loving…and to love yourself. And to try to always improve yourself or better yourself or better your environment or your people. Do I think that it was “destined” for me and Steve to meet? No, I pushed really hard to find a man. I put myself out there and I tried different methods and I tried different avenues. And had it not been for the fact that I was out there looking… There was nothing but my effort and Steve’s effort that put us together. So, that’s what I think.

Jessica: I’d say no, I don’t think, because destiny is…you’re destined to do something, that’s why you’re here. I don’t think that’s why.
—Michelle: Why you’re put on Earth, you mean?
Jessica: Yeah.

Tom: Yes. I definitely believe in destiny. I mean, I don’t have any empirical evidence that I can give you; I don’t know that there is any. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence and everything, but I believe in destiny in a sense that each one of us – some more attuned than others – but each one of us have certain gifts and abilities, certain things that they lean towards. Some of us it may be in linguistics, somebody can talk real good, they might be a salesman. There’s other people who have other natural talents. Somebody might be able to jump real high and is a good basketball player. In that sense I believe we are pre-destined to follow certain paths, and, just as much so, in a large degree are excluded from other paths. Like I would never be that great basketball player. I might want to in my mind, but that’s not my destiny.

Jordan: Yes. When you’re born, you have a plan…like God…the day you were born is the day that was figured out how you were going to die. That’s destiny.
—Michelle: How does free will fit into that?
Jordan: There is a plan, there is a guideline to go by – you don’t have to follow it, because you do have your own choices, you know. But at the end of the day, there is a set way.
—Michelle: When you say there is a plan and a guideline, do you believe destiny means that you start ‘here’ and the destiny is the ending spot…
Jordan: That’s a journey. The destiny is the journey. Your destiny is your life.

Amanda: Sure! How do I define destiny?  Experiences that you overcome or someone walking into your life.
—Michelle: Do you feel that you go after the destiny?
Amanda: No, I kinda feel that destiny finds you. If it’s meant to be, then it’s like destiny happened.

Lynn: Yes. I believe that…it’s your destiny in life…your path in life is already planned out.
—Michelle: Before you’re born kind of deal? How does free will fall into that?
Lynn: Well, you always have choices – you have choices every day. But, I still believe the choice you make is the plan. I think it’s already outlined. I feel like it’s one of those things where…people will say, “Oh if I only didn’t drive down that road.” Nope. It was meant to happen. Maybe it’s not a good thing. Maybe it’s even a tragedy. But I believe your life is already planned way ahead of time.

Eileen: Sometimes. There are times when things have happened, you go to do stuff and all of a sudden a certain situation will work out, and you think, “Oh, well it must have been destiny!”
—Michelle: Do you believe in pre-destined, that it was always meant to be?
Eileen: No. I’m more of sometimes things happen, it may be for a reason or that’s the way it was supposed to work out, but I don’t think it was pre-planned.

Sharon: Yeah. I guess if you think of it like…you were meant to do something, meant to meet someone, meant to be somewhere at a certain time because you saved them from something…or you won something. Or say you needed medicine really bad and you just happened to be there at the right time and you got the last bit of medicine. Or medicine for your kid, or something like that.
—Michelle: Do you think of it as something that…it converged, so it was meant to be? Or do you think that means pre-destined, planned before you were born kind of deal?
Sharon: Oh right. I don’t necessarily believe in that, because I do believe that, by the choices you make every day, you’re changing it. You know, because why would you have a choice if it was already pre-destined? It wouldn’t be a choice. If you ask me.

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. night owl #

    I read something once that resonates with me. All of our paths, all destinations, results, paths, are already written and laid out. At any given moment, we get to pick the branch of the path we want to take next. This, of course, limits the successive possibility of future events. If you move from Atlanta to New York, for example, then any further immediate possibilities in Atlanta are closed off to you. Even with infinite posibilities, we still get to (have to) choose.
    If we don’t have the option of not choosing, is it still ‘Free Will’? Hmm.

    June 27, 2013
    • Yes, that sounds reasonable to me too, branches and pathways. It goes with what Glo was saying, too. about closing yourself off to possibilities. Maybe your destiny is staring you right in the face, but if you refuse to open your eyes and see it, then it can’t be fulfilled. Your example also reminded me of those books where you choose what the character does next.

      I had the same problem/question about absolute destiny – beginning, every step, ending being pre-planned or set out for us, with no deviation possible. Obviously that leaves no room for free will. That’s one of the things I had to work out for myself as I was asking this question and listening to people’s answers.

      June 27, 2013
      • night owl #

        Yes, exactly so, just like in those books. In the books, we can always look at the path we didn’t take. In life, it’s harder to see, sometimes even harder to look at without regret.

        June 28, 2013
        • Ah yes, regret! We did a Query on that too, haha!

          July 3, 2013
  2. Gosh, such an involved topic. Like you said, it reminds me of the books my kids used to read, Choose Your Own Adventure, where the reader gets to choose at the end of each page what they want to happen next for the characters. There are some things in my life that have felt like they were preordained; others seem to have no rhyme or reason to them.

    June 28, 2013
    • It really is, and I was thinking last night that for so many of these questions, there aren’t really “answers”, it’s just opinion and belief.

      When things happen like what you’re going through now, it can be so hard to think that it was planned or “meant to be”, but I also think that attitude is such a key to how we view that. You are keeping your positive attitude, and while I can’t say this is a good thing that’s happening, it is testing your ability to stay upbeat and handle what life throws at you. Also, when we suffer and share that suffering, we learn what we mean to people and what they mean to us. Also, by sharing, you are giving information that might save someone else. If your suffering saves one life, then is it worth it?

      Life is so complicated and our lives are so far reaching and I think, as ordinary, not in the media people, we don’t have any clue how far our energy flows out there into the world. But it does. We are, as a human race, so much more interconnected than we usually realize. So maybe some things are “meant to be” and maybe some things that happen are just things that happen. Either way, we have to do the best we can with what we get!

      June 28, 2013
      • You speak great truths, O Wise One! How did you get to be so wise for someone so young? 🙂

        If only ONE life is saved because of anything I’ve ever shared, then my purpose in writing has been accomplished. It’s the only reason I share so much, gross photos and all, to help others. This is life. Cancer will happen to the large majority of people at some point in their lives. I had no idea how prevalent it was until it happened to me.

        A friend sent me this great post the other day, and it really struck home with me:

        June 28, 2013
        • Wow, what an awesome post! I can say from experience, that what he’s saying is right on – at least for me. It’s been in those times when I’ve just basically given up, when I simply don’t have the strength left to fight for emotion enough to care about what’s happening, when I am beaten down so much that I HAVE to give the burden up to God…that’s when I feel him come so powerfully down into my life. It’s like He’s saying, “Yeah, you know I’ve been here all the time…if only you’d open your eyes up once in a while, you might have seen me.” But I struggle with control and feeling that I can do everything on my own. Or very often, I just haven’t considered His help as even an option – I kind of forget He’s there or something. I’m getting better about that – it’s like opening a can with your teeth all the time because you don’t bother to look for the can opener. Then when your teeth are cracked and falling out of your head, you suddenly remember, “Wait a minute, I own a can opener!”

          July 3, 2013
          • Yes, I can totally see that. I don’t have faith in the same degree as you, but I do trust in the goodness of the universe, or whatever “it” is, so I do really understand and agree with what you’re saying. It’s like that saying “let go and let God.” So true.

            July 3, 2013
          • Yeah, I just hate that it takes me til that awful point to really let go! I am practicing, though. And I do find that the more I let go, and just have some faith and trust, the easier it is for me, the more happy and content I am. I think it’s the comfort of trusting that things will be ok. Maybe not how I want them to be, maybe not even for the better, but whatever happens I can handle and will eventually get through. One way or the other, haha. But why not get through it with less stress, right? I think that kind of calm giving over of things we can’t fully control anyway is a good way to go, no matter what you feel that you’re giving it over to.

            July 3, 2013
          • This entire concept of letting go is the cornerstone of the AA programs, and we all know that it works! There is something very powerful about giving your problems over to your higher power, to knowing that you have no control over everything in your life. I’m not an AA member, but I’ve always been impressed with what I know of it. I think what you’re describing is exactly the same idea.

            July 3, 2013
  3. Wow, you do ask hard questions. I like to think that things happen for a reason, and when certain events occur, it’s because God had intended it to be part of a big plan. It helps make sense of the senseless. But like you said, then there’s the issue of free will. So I kinda see it the same way you do. God has a plan for each of us. And it’s the perfect plan. But we get to choose whether or not we want to fulfill this plan. The only way to fulfill this plan is to trust in Him. When we stop doing this, the journey becomes harder with lots of misses and wrong turns, and we get lost. But if we trust God to lead us in our lives, then even though the going may get hard sometimes or certain things don’t make sense, we’ll one day see how it all comes together, and that it was meant to be.

    June 28, 2013
    • Sometimes I think that He only has one real plan, and that is where I end up after I die. But I can’t help but feel that there are things in my life, so very many things really, that occur or work out in a certain way because it was part of His plan. Life is full of questions!

      But I really completely relate to what you’re saying about trusting Him and things will work out. That’s something that I didn’t do before – I basically controlled (or didn’t control) my life on my own, and didn’t look to God for much help. But then I got my eyes opened and I realized how much easier and smoother my path is when I ask Him for help and trust that it will come. I’ve only truly succeeded in this with my work life, and I sometimes can’t believe how much less stressful and amazingly easy that environment has become – when I give it over to Him. I haven’t quite mastered the art of asking for help in my personal life, but I’m trying. It’s a matter of control, I think, but I don’t know why I insist on taking the rocky road by myself instead of the easy path with some help.

      June 28, 2013
      • I take the rocky road by myself all the time too and then I wonder why it’s so damn hard. There are times when I completely forget to pray or ask for help until I’ve struggled with the issue for days, sometimes weeks. Maybe it’s harder letting go when it’s our personal life because it feels like we have more to lose?

        June 28, 2013
        • I know just what you’re talking about and I think for me it’s a lot about control. When I first started really delving into this relationship a couple of years ago, I had a real issue with the idea of losing control. I pushed back against God because I wanted to do what I wanted. Basically, it was like I didn’t want God telling me what to do, through the Bible or my conscience or through learning. And it’s not like I do or did anything bad!! It’s just that I didn’t want to risk finding out that something I did was bad and so I’d have to stop, I guess.

          But the more I’ve let go, the more freedom I feel. It’s so weird and unexpected. But it’s also kind of addictive. I haven’t really felt that I’ve had to “give up” anything, and any issue I had with myself has been almost a relief to make the changes. Still, I struggle with letting go sometimes. I think it will just take a really, really long time to give over completely.

          July 3, 2013
  4. Great topic, Michelle. I’ve read that we make our own destiny, and that resonates with me. I have the sense that God is present to us at all times, but doesn’t interfere.

    June 29, 2013
    • I’m still not sure about all I think on this subject, haha! I kind of feel like God has plans of what He wants for us – but having free will leaves an awful lot of room for us to stray from those plans. I do think that God nudges me quite often, but I don’t think He pushes me. But I think when I open up to Him, He’s more likely to take an active part. Or maybe it’s just that I’m open to see and hear what He has to say.

      July 3, 2013

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