Can Our Future Really Change Even Though Our Past Cannot?

As I meet different people I am becoming more and more certain of the kind of life that I want mine to become. I am always far from being the kind of person that I think I should be, but when I see certain kinds of people live their day to day lives I am reminded of who that person is that I should be striving to be like. I think when you are younger you spend a lot of your life constructing some sort of ‘best future’ for yourself that includes a range of things including wealth, family, happiness, accomplishments and education. This best future determines much about who we become. I think what happens to a lot of us though is that we get stuck in those immature plans and hopes for ourselves and then we spend the rest of our lives regretting why we aren’t becoming what we wanted. Many of us don’t have the ability to shift and change what we find central to our identity – our hope for our future.

If we started off on the right foot, we have a lot going for us. For instance, if family was always central to our lives then we find contentment in our relationships with them and the future always is welcomed as long as it is with them. I think this is why I don’t go back into things like music, or learning languages, or take up carpentry. I have bought into this idea that the past has determined who I am now and more importantly has determined who I will become. For me to get back into music, I would have to repeat something that should have ought to be done when I was fifteen. Which for a thirty year old is a lot of work, work that I don’t want to do – even though I really want the benefits of it. I think that is why I always admired those who would start something when they were adults. Going back for your undergrad when you are forty, choosing a new craft that you will invest your life into, starting to learn a language. For these are things that to choose to start now is to acknowledge that your past will not determine your future but your present will.

Back to the people I admire. I’m in Costa Rica right now, and we are spending a lot of time with Horacio & Esther Lopez who are local pastors who have given up their entire lives to be with those who are not loved by anyone else. They spend their holidays with the poor making them food, they spend their days with kids who live in the poorest areas of Costa Rica and they have chosen a way of life that few of us would ever choose. These are the kinds of people that I want to be like. But like learning a new language or craft – this isn’t something that I can just choose to do one day. I’ve spent too much of my life caring about myself and working towards whatever future I thought was a good idea. So for me to actually become the kind of person that I want to become is going to take making the kind of decision that I’m not good at making.

How do I reverse thirty years of indoctrination into the way of Nathan so that I can redirect my future? How do I become more like these folks that have somehow given up absolutely everything to be with those that they feel called to be with?

It’s not that I think it’s too late. It’s that I know its not too late but I’m terrified I’ll just keep waking up every morning and never actually moving in the direction that I should.

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