Marriage & Relationships Ponderings

The only way to overcome the unpredictability of your future is the power of promising

When we make a promise we take it on our feeble wills to keep a future rendezvous with someone in circumstances we cannot possibly predict. We take it on ourselves to create our future with someone else no matter what fate or destiny may have in store. This is almost ultimate freedom.

When I make a promise, I bear witness that my future with you is not locked into a bionic beam by which I was stuck with the fateful combinations of X’s and Y’s in the hand I was dealt out of my parents’ genetic deck.

When I make a promise, I testify that I was not routed along some unalterable itinerary by the psychic conditioning visited on me by my slightly wacky parents.

When I make a promise I declare that my future with people who depend on me is not predetermined by the mixed-up culture of my tender years.

I am not fated, I am not determined, I am not a lump of human dough whipped into shape by the contingent reinforcement and aversive conditioning of my past. I know as well as the next person that I cannot create my life de novo; I am well aware that much of what I am and what I do is a gift or a curse from my past. But when I make a promise to anyone I rise above all the conditioning that limits me.

— Lewis Benedictus Smedes (1921 — 2002)
“Controlling the Unpredictable – The Power of Promising”
Christianity Today Jan. 1983

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