the master of my fate

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley

This weekend I watched Invictus, the story of how Nelson Mandela found a way to unite his very broken country through the game of rugby. The poem, "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley is what Morgan Freeman playing Mr. Mandela says helped him while in prison "to stand on days when all he wanted to do was lie down."
The final two lines of the poem are quite stirring; I both believe in them very much and hesitate to validate them at the same time.

On one hand, the poem is incredibly embolding when it comes to person to person interactions and dealings:no other man must be allowed to be the captain of your soul, the master of your fate. You must come out of the shadows, stand up for yourself and make the choices you want. Only you can dream your dreams. You have the power within you and with it you can do many things.This frankly, is a position I find myself now. I ask myself almost everyday, "What do you want to do? How do you make that happen?" The feeling of being the master of my fate is both invigorating and daunting.

However, as I follow Jesus, He is the ultimate captain of my soul. I am merely the clay while He is the grand artist. I am a thread and He is the weaver of the tapestry. All to Jesus I owe and all to Him I pray I give. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25 Through the journey of the last year, I've had honest conversations with God about my future; He and I both know what I hope to do, experience, and accomplish in the future but I'll joyfully put it all aside if it's not what He wants for me. It can be a difficult power to relinquish, but Jesus has to be the captain of my fate; otherwise, I'll wander through life instead of truly walking it.

The last two lines of the poem are the kind of words you want to tie around your heart because of the power and courage they stir in the soul. They encourage you to push when possibility is bleak and keep you steadfast when you want to give up. It's a balance that I'm sure takes a lifetime to learn: not listening to the world, keeping in tune with your heart, and God. Ultimately, I suppose we are the true masters of our fate because we alone can make the decision of who will hold the power: ourselves or God. God, thank you for being willing to be the master of my fate and the captain of my soul- You are so much more capable than I.

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