Can someone in our life redirect our God-given destiny? If this person, with or without any bad intention, succeeds in doing so to us, wouldn’t God’s first plan for us be cancelled?
I’ve been having these problems because in my house my dad often shows a bad temper, and many times his display of anger interferes with my plans. I was often afraid to proceed with my plans due to his anger to our family, including me. It’s like emotional contagion from him. I’m afraid I’m not fulfilling my God-given destiny. Please shed a light to this question.
Filemon, you don’t say how old you are and so we will try to give an answer that will give you some guidance whether you are a teenager or an adult. Obviously, the younger you are, the fewer choices you may have in what you can do, but no matter what your age you can work on what you think.
We could have a fascinating conversation over the course of many hours as to how free will works if God has a destiny planned for us. What happens to someone who is killed when they are young? Was that their destiny or did the killer’s free will interrupt their destiny? There are thousands of pages of ancient Jewish wisdom on this topic, so instead of a philosophical discussion that can’t even touch the tip of the iceberg, we would like to bring it down to a practical level.
For whatever good reasons He had, God placed you in a particular home with a particular father. Part of the challenge of all our lives is to make the best out of our trying circumstances. Your destiny includes overcoming a difficult home life. Too many people in our society are content with complaining about their challenges and sadly see themselves only as victims of circumstance. Yet, history shows numerous examples of people who faced monumental hardships and used those hardships as springboards for greatness.
We know of one determined young girl from an extremely dysfunctional family who started saving money from the time she was thirteen (her trusted grandmother kept the money for her) so that she could escape her home as soon as she turned eighteen. More than one successful author with burdensome family responsibilities carved out sacred time to write, though it was excruciatingly difficult to find those few hours a day. Whatever your short or long-term goals, you can start making progress right now.
Very often, when we are under emotional stress, it is hard for us to see the right path to take. We encourage you to reach out to someone in person for wise spiritual guidance on how to balance conflicting obligations of respect for your father, support for your family, and responsibility for yourself.
Wishing you strength, resilience, tenacity and faith in yourself,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin