In their book “The Faith of Leap” Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch describe the Wizard of Oz’ Dorothy as a young woman with a keen sense of destiny. This word destiny resonates with me. Dorothy had both a destiny and a destination. She thought all she wanted to do was to get home, to Kansas. But along the way she fulfilled her destiny of bringing out the latent potential in the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion and in so doing freed Oz from the clutches of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Destiny; destination: two words so similar that they can easily be confused. How often do we limit our destiny by making it a destination? Take marriage for instance. For many young women getting married and being a mum is still number one on the priority list (and there’s nothing wrong with that!)Marriage is for them a destination. Although the idea of the big wedding is not necessarily one that many men put at top of their list, winning that special girl and making her their own forever is. Winning the girl is their destination. But relationship of any sort, and especially marriage, is not a destination; it is not some place you can arrive and then stop. Relationship is a destiny because destiny shapes you. A healthy relationship, be it friendship or marriage, changes people. It rubs off the rough edges, changes the way people think, and shows them things about themselves. If a relationship is not doing these things, for one or both of the people involved, then perhaps the relationship has been seen as a destination. They have the girl, they’ve had the big wedding, and now it’s done. Too sad.
What about faith? I was raised in an evangelical Christian home and have lived all my life within that framework of faith. My teen years were shaped by the notion of sharing faith so that people would be brought to a place where they could make “a decision for Christ.” We were presenting faith as a destination. Step over the line, go forward at a Crusade, say the sinners’ prayer. Destination. But faith, of any sort, in anything, is a not a destination. Faith is destiny, it shapes you. Unfortunately there a too many people attending churches regularly for whom faith is a destination; they’ve arrived and nothing needs to change. Many Australians have been inoculated against the Christian faith because it has been presented to them as a destination, a place to go on a Sunday morning. For many of us though we know that faith is a destiny because faith is a relationship with Jesus. It means for us an active following of one we trust and believe in. Following Jesus, being his disciple, shapes us, transforms us. Faith is our destiny.
I continue to be shaped by both faith and relationships. I see them not as destinations, places to arrive, but as destiny, something that shapes and changes me.