By Carol Simon
Provost & Executive Vice President
As a philosopher, I sort through issues that I find puzzling. More than 20 years ago I published my first book, The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny and Imagination (still in print from Eerdmans). Our destiny is our true selfhood, given to us by God as a task to be faithfully pursued. Our destiny is what God intends us to become. How can each of us fulfill our destiny (or even know what it is)?
Cultivate imagination. A healthy imagination keeps us connected to reality and open to new possibilities. A healthy imagination is different from the all-too-human tendency to distort our perceptions in self-serving and destructive ways. A liberal arts education is a great resource in cultivating imagination. Read widely. Surround yourselves with beauty. Spend time in nature. Play with a child. Steep yourself in Scripture and prayer.
Listen to wise friends. Wise friends can help us see ourselves as we, at our best, would aspire to be and become. Friends can shake us up and call us back to reality when our perceptions of ourselves and our choices have gotten out of whack. Friendship expands our horizons as we engage in helping one another pursue our destinies.
Do not fear detours. A destiny is not a blueprint or a straight-line road map. What God intends us to become can be achieved in multiple ways and often through painful frustration – even failure and tragedy. Roadblocks and losses can, in hindsight, be seen as rueful blessing. They can be used by God in surprising ways.
Depend on grace. Without God's grace we are incapable of fulfilling – or sometimes even glimpsing – our destinies. Now we see in a mirror dimly; through God's grace we will come to know ourselves even as we are known by God.