There are undeniable givens which are fixed like gender, birth order, race, citizenship, genetics and intelligence which establish parameters and shape our identity. They are only the beginning of how we interface with the world and more importantly with our Creator. None of these fixed characteristics of a person touch on the spirit of a person, the incorporeal essence or the eternal center of the human being. These 'predetermined' or fixed variables may be compared with a rule book but does not speak to strategy or intent or desire.
I reject Calvin and his predestination along with Augustine and his ideas of human depravity. I deny emphatically the fatalism of determinism. As Orthodox Christians we strive to return to God and like the Prodigal we find the Father waiting to embrace us.
On the flip side yielding or submitting to an external locus of control ideology is a terrifying prospect where emancipated individuals are shackled, lack the free will, volition or the ability to shape their lives. By circumventing or more correctly exposing, the thin rhetoric of that poorly constructed paradigm which seeks to assert that we are little more then lab rats subject to the reflexive responses of behaviorism and determinism run amok; we can continue to be empowered.
By understanding the essentials of an internal locus of control we no longer have to live in a constant fear of deprivation or anxiety. We are able to harness the full force of our God given talents and use them to live securely and authentically. We can be good citizens by encouraging others to take control of their decisions and not to settle into the learned helplessness. By lending our 'ego' strength to others by showing empathy not sympathy (a fundamental distinction) and by our example of faith and fortitude we can show our neighbors how they too can be effective change agents in their own lives.
As we enforce our determination and augment our skill set those situations which seek to draw us away from our personal empowerment diminish and become the stepping stones beckoning us out to put our best foot forward. The conditions that exist beyond our control are blessed and released as we partner with God.
More then accepting our limitations as givens we must accept our ability and the responsibility we have in shaping our community for the better. It is altruistic not self absorbed to embrace our unique abilities. It is the ultimate cop-out to live a life controlled by others. It is too empty to have an existence where we feel blown about by the tides of the day, by the whim of some, by the assertions of others who may not have our interest in mind.