Many things happen in life because of our own initiative. Our decisions allowed us to become who we are and impact the world around us. But it’s also true we’re shaped and formed by many forces outside of our control.
To be sure, some of our abilities are hardwired in and greatly influence how we show up in the world. For instance, someone who is tall versus someone who is short will have very different life experiences. Their respective heights will shape many of their choices and opportunities in life whether conscious or not.
Likewise, some temperaments are like Esau, an outdoorsman, while others are like Jacob, who stuck closer to home. While we don’t ask for our particular temperaments, they still set much of the foundation for the kind of life we will live.
Our family, friends, and communities will also affect who we become and what we do with our lives. We’re social to our core and we will naturally adopt the culture of those around us. This simply becomes the water we swim in and we tend not to give its impact on our life much thought.
The generation we’re born into will play a part as well. For example, we will have many new job and career opportunities than our grandparents’ generation. As such, the work we consider and do will shape the life we live.
Whatever it looks like, it’s clear our life doesn’t happen in isolation and many forces shape us outside of our direct control. This is not a point of resignation, but rather a call to awareness. Instead of assuming complete independence, it’s acknowledging outside influences and being intentional about putting ourselves in those environments that help to form and shape the godly character we desire.
It’s all too easy to fall into darkness when we don’t allow ourselves to be continually formed for the better.
In the end, many forces shape you outside of your control. But pay attention to the choices you can make and allow your character to be formed toward the good.