Our Future Isn’t Determined by Past Circumstances

“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.” ~ Barbara Geraci

Some of us may have experienced difficult childhoods. Some may have made choices that impacted our lives in negative ways. It can be tough to put those experiences behind us.

But we dont need to be defined by our past. We can still grab a hold of our dreams and make them happen. We can still find great purpose. Some of us may even find a way to create something good out of past hurt.

There are people all around us who have faced enormous challenges but have still been successful in realizing their dreams. Some have even chosen to breathe hope into the lives of others. They may be doctors, teachers, ministers, coaches, clerks, bus drivers … 

The following people are well-known by the public, and Im sure there are many others you could add. Please take encouragement from those who have refused to give up despite their circumstances.

Nyle DiMarco

If you’ve been watching the latest season of Dancing with the Stars, you’ve become familiar with Nyle DiMarco, a deaf American model, actor, and activist. Despite not hearing or even feeling the music’s beat, he’s a remarkable dancer and has landed a spot in the finale this coming week. This isn’t the first time he’s challenged himself to compete. In 2015, he won the 22nd season of America's Next Top Model, being the only deaf contestant to ever compete on that show.

Nick Vujicic

I’ve been inspired by Nick Vujicic for some time. Born without any limbs, Nick struggled emotionally and physically. When he was only ten years old, feeling depressed and isolated, he tried to commit suicide by drowning himself in a bathtub. But by the time he’d turned fifteen, Nick had turned his faith to Jesus Christ. With new hope for his life, he began using his disability to help others. He became a motivational speaker and has traveled around the world, touching the lives of millions. And despite believing that he would never be a suitable husband, he married. He and his wife now have two children together.

Tyler Perry

I love movies made by Tyler Perry because they always seem to include a great message—even those that lean more toward comedy. He’s become highly successful, but his life didn’t start out in Hollywood. Born in New Orleans, he was brought up in poverty. He suffered physical and sexual abuse as a child, and he never felt safe as a boy. But with faith and determination, he rose above his past.

Bethany Hamilton

When she was just thirteen, surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her left arm and 60 percent of her blood in a shark attack in Hawaii. However, she was far too determined to let even that get in the way of going back to surfing. In less than a month after the injury, she not only returned to the water, she surfed in several world class competitions. Within two years, she’d won her first national title. She’s now a motivational speaker and a best- selling author. Bethany is involved in numerous charitable efforts, including her own foundation, Friends of Bethany, which reaches out to amputees and youth, offering hope to overcome through Jesus Christ. She’s also a wife and mom.

Charlize Theron

Charlize is stunning—she’s also a respected and talented actress. But if she’d allowed trauma in her life to define her, Charlize’s life could look entirely different now.  Her father was an abusive alcoholic who openly cheated on her mother. When Charlize was fifteen, her mother shot and killed Charlize’s father after he tried to attack her. The judge ruled it as self-defense; therefore, Charlize’s mother didnt have to serve any prison time. For years Charlize told interviewers that it was a car crash that killed her father.

Terrence Howard

Terrence Howard is one of the stars in the hit TV show Empire. He’s made a name for himself as an actor, but he was only a toddler when Terrence witnessed his father murder another man while their family was in line to visit Santa Clause. The incident, known as the Santa Line Slaying, made the national news. Can you imagine trying to overcome that horrible incident?

Richard Branson

With multi-billions, Richard Branson is the fourth richest person in the UK. He earned his wealthy by starting up many successful companies around the world. Although Richard struggled in school while growing up because of dyslexia, he didn’t let that challenge stop him from becoming extremely successful. 

Jim Carrey

Would you believe there was a time when Jim Carrey was homeless? When he was fifteen, Jim had to drop out of school to support his family. His father was an unemployed musician and their family was so broke that they eventually ended up living in a van. But he didn’t give up his dream to become a comedian, and now is known as one of the best comedic actors in the world.

Do you personally know anyone who has refused to let their past determine their future? Are you letting circumstances hinder you from fulfilling your purpose or pursuing your dreams?


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