No one’s life can escape bumps in the road. There are obstacles and circumstances beyond our control. Horrible things happen to everyone. Some people start life in the worst of circumstances. Others have tragedy thrust upon them. And still others make bad choices and experience hardship as a result of their own decisions. It is not what happens to us that shapes who we are, it is how we react to them. 

I have a dear friend who was in and out of foster care until she was two, then she was adopted. I have another friend who spent a portion of her childhood homeless living in a car with her Mom and sister. A man I greatly admire had to have all his teeth pulled and replaced with implants, a very painful process, simply beacuse of family genetics. Still someone else I know moved more than twenty times between kindergarten and high school. We have family friends who survived living in a refugee camp before coming to the US, and another family we know lost their son in a tragic car accident. Horrible things happen to all sorts of people. 

The one thing all these conquerors have in common is that they chose to be victors and not victims. For countless reasons they could be angry, belligerent, and firmly create walls between themselves and the world because of what they have experienced. But they didn’t, they chose to leave their past in the past and keep their eyes on the hope of the future. They know that dragging around the pain and horrible experiences of their lives will get them no where.  It will only wear them down and prevent them from being who they have the option to become. Instead of focusing on the horrible, they choose everyday to let hope and joy fill their minds. 

We all have bumps in the road, and today you may experience a bump or two. It isn’t the bump that gets you, it is how you react to it. It is how you let it impact your life moving forward that really shows who you are inside. We are not defined by what we expereince in our lives, those experiences prepare us for our future. It is all about choice. How we choose to learn from the bumps in life is what really matters. So how are you choosing to handle your bumps and bruises? Are you a victim or a victor?