Consider the life of Moses.  He was born into a Hebrew family enslaved in Egypt.  His parents were happy to have a son.  But Pharaoh condemned every Hebrew male child to death, so the parents built an ark and sent the infant down the Nile.

Pharaoh’s daughter adopted the Hebrew boy.  She raised him as an Egyptian prince.  The boy grew up in the household of the oppressor of his people.  As a young man, Moses killed an Egyptian abusing a Hebrew slave.  When word got out, Moses fled.  He became a modest and anonymous shepherd.  But then he encountered God at the Burning Bush.  Moses reluctantly agreed to become God’s prophet and emissary to lead the Israelites to the promised land.  But God refused Moses’s entry to Canaan, and he died in the wilderness. 

When Moses’s life appeared headed down one road, his journey veered off in a radically different direction.  I can relate to this.  If someone told me when I was, say, twenty, that I would become a clinical psychologist with a psychotherapy practice, I would have scoffed at the idea.  At the time, I aspired to become an academic sociologist studying social change.  I wanted to know why Karl Marx was wrong.  Why did socialist revolutions happen in countries with scant industrial development, not in advanced capitalist societies as Marx predicted?  I’m still interested in that question.  But that’s for another time.

Likewise, if someone informed me when I was, say, forty, that the most exciting intellectual and spiritual adventure of my life would be to write about the first book of the Old Testament, I would have been utterly bewildered.  But here I am, with a psychotherapy practice and a published book on the remarkable stories of Genesis. 

There are times when I am simply astonished.  And other moments when I say to myself, why, of course, it all makes sense.  Our individual destinies are often concealed on the surface of our lives. 

What do you feel destined to do?  Who do you feel destined to be?  And what permission do you need to inhabit more of the life you want?  These are important questions.  But are you willing to follow your nose and change course?  To be guided by something that calls to you, whether it’s a relationship, profession or career, a book that wants to be written, or a place to live?  Are you willing to surrender to what brings you to life, that makes all the difference? 

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Neal Aponte

Neal Aponte is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience providing psychotherapy for adults, adolescents and children. Read more here.