Bob Tamasy: Would You Have Chosen The Life You Have?

Monday, August 1, 2022 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

When we’re young, anything seems possible. Options are many and the future seems filled with unlimited opportunities. As we advance well into our adult years, however, we discover some of the doors that seemed wide open have closed – if they were ever really open in the first place. Some dreams will never be realized, and the future looks different than what it once did.

 

We don’t have the luxury (at least yet) of entering a time machine and going back into the past to make changes and course corrections for our lives.

Most of us can still make some adjustmens for the future, but guardrails have been established that limit the path we’ll be able to take.

 

So, perhaps in a reflective moment or two, we might ask ourselves: “Would I have chosen this life, the life I have now?”

 

Some people might respond with an enthusiastic, “I wouldn’t change a thing!” Others wish they could make a few changes but are relatively satisfied with how things are turning out. Still others are less positive, with thoughts filled with “woulda, shoulda, coulda” types of regrets.

 

Looking back over the course of our lives, we recognize some things were out of our control. Other things, however, resulted from choices and decisions we made, and we’ve had to deal with the consequences, good and bad. Since we can’t change the past, how do we handle the present – and the future?

 

Years ago, when I was a magazine editor, I had the privilege of interviewing Joni Eareckson Tada, an internationally known and greatly admired quadriplegic. She became paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident as a teenager, yet became an accomplished author of many books, artist, speaker, and even singer. Joni has achieved more, despite her disabilities, than most able-bodied people could dream of doing.

 

I’ve not talked to Joni since then, but from her subsequent writings and interviews I’ve learned she has experienced ups and downs in life similar to what we all have. What if Joni hadn’t chosen to dive head-first into that shallow lake? If she could, would she have chosen a different life?

 

Thinking back to that interview, I feel confident she would not choose a different life. Joni told me, as she has said many times in various settings, “I shudder to think what my life would have been like if I had not become paralyzed.”

 

What an amazing statement! I recall her explaining that the trajectory to her life prior to the accident had not been good; her relationship with God had not been growing. After her injury, the process of adjusting to her life and limitations was extremely difficult, but she gradually began drawing closer to the Lord. Joni started tapping into the creative gifts and abilities He had given to her, and she discovered a very special calling.

 

Over the years, her books, artwork and spoken messages have touched millions of lives and inspired many to accept and overcome whatever their earthly limitations might be. She founded a wonderful ministry, Joni and Friends, dedicated to serving children and adults with disabilities. It’s unlikely she could have accomplished anything approaching these things had she not become disabled and forced to trust and rely on God every moment of every day.

 

One day she will shed the shackles of her earthly body and enter the presence of God, being able to jump, run and dance. But if given the chance to press “Rewind” to prevent her life-changing dive into that lake, I doubt if Joni would, given the course her life has followed since.

 

My own life certainly hasn’t followed the track I anticipated, even though it can’t compare to what people like Joni have experienced. If I had been able to plan things out, I couldn’t have guessed what opportunities God had in store for me. My marriage, family, career, relationships and travels all have far exceeded my greatest hopes.

 

This is why two of my favorite Bible verses speak of how God delights in doing the unexpected and unimaginable. In Jeremiah 33:3, for example, He declares, “Call on Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”

 

And Ephesians 3:20 assures us that the Lord is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” I have seen this to be true not only in Joni’s life and my own, but in the lives of countless other people I have gotten to know through the years.

 

Ultimately, it comes down to having faith that God knows exactly what He’s doing and is never surprised or caught off guard by what we do or fail to do. A promise He gave to the Israelites thousands of years ago still applies today for everyone who is a member of His eternal family, His chosen people. He said, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 33:3).

 

If at times we’re prone to wonder if the life we have is the one we would have chosen, it might be reassuring to know that from the Lord’s point of view, it’s exactly what He had in mind for us.

 

* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.


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