On my last blog, I wrote about the Royal Baby. I talked about the difference a birth canal can make in determining your life.

However that’s only part of the story.

Certainly, there are circumstances in our lives that we don’t choose or control. The birth canal you came through is definitely one of them. I’ve been thinking about that in a personal way since our precious ten year old came back from his annual two month trek to Australia. His mom and his step dad live there.

Because our boy is the product of a broken marriage, he will have to navigate between two worlds. And those worlds (and their values) will grow more different the more he grows.
Given that he spends most of the year with us, odds are, he’ll be a little more influenced by his dad and me. Nevertheless, because of his split circumstances, he’ll have to navigate some things other kids will never face. He’ll have to decide whose values he will adopt, how important his faith will be, and who he’ll listen to for guidance in his life.

After he came back this time, we had a conversation about cannibus (yes, that cannibus), movie ratings, and violence in Xbox games.
And he’s only ten.
I can’t even imagine what those conversations will look like when he gets to be a teen.

Help me Jesus.

For now, he is being guided from two different sources of influence. But I told him that one day he will make his own decisions, and those decisions won’t have to be controlled by his environment.

And you know what? That’s true for us too. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that.

Surely, there are circumstances in our life we have to deal with that we don’t choose or control. However there is a control we have over our circumstances that many of us fail to live.

The power of response.

You may not get to choose what happens to you. But you do get to choose how you will respond. That can make all the difference.

I was reminded of this while I was reading about a famous historical figure this week. You may be familiar with his story, but what you may not know is how his life started out:

At age 9, this little boy’s mother died. Because of that, he never finished grade school (or high school or college).
Nevertheless, when he finally left home and turned 23, he tried to make something of his life and start a business.
He failed.
He then boldly decided to run for a state office.
He lost.
At 24, he borrowed money and tried to start another business.
That failed too. He spent the next 17 years paying off his debt.
At 26, he got engaged, but his fiancé died.
At 27, he had a nervous breakdown.
Understandably, he spent the next 6 months in bed.

One would think a boy like this wouldn’t even live to see 30, let alone make anything of his adult life.

But after several more defeats, Abraham Lincoln became arguably the greatest president who ever lived.

So, I guess it’s not all about being the royal baby, or the product of a broken home, or the recipient of all the good and bad circumstances that make up the hand you were dealt.

Some of it is how you play your hand.