Connection Question – 2

What is the connection between character and circumstances?
Is it possible to break that connection?

The other day I asked if there was a connection between what you are and what you do, and if that connection could be broken.  My pastor said it was, indeed, possible, but when I went over the question on my blog, I came to the conclusion that it’s not possible at all.  ((And actually, most of you agreed with me))  We decided that there could be a change of character, but that would involve both a change in what you do and what you are together to occur.

The next question I wanted to think about is character and circumstances.  ((I know, lotta ‘c’s))  Is your character influenced by your circumstances, or not… to begin with.

Circumstances could mean anything.  A bad marriage.  A good job.  A certain kind of person you spend every day with.  A hectic schedule.  These are all variables that add to or take from our lives, right?  Circumstances definately effect our moods, our attitudes, our energy levels… but do they influence our character?  If – as we stated before – Character is what we are and what we do.

I think about Ed… the guy I mention from church all the time.  The one who amazed me.  He was a mere auto mechanic.  Changed oil, got down n’ dirty under a hood, listened to other young guys dissing their girlfriends and exchanging hard talk.  But Ed’s character was such that he wasn’t influenced by his circumstances.  He wasn’t where he wanted to be – he wanted to be serving God as a pastor.  His income wasn’t great, his company lacked… but he was one of the most gentle, incredibly faithful, godly men I’d ever met.

Then there’s Brian (who I have been doing some thinking about since touching this topic).  He works in a shop, too – tool n’ die – and the guys there are coarse, to say the least.  He was raised in a home where there wasn’t much love shared or time given to each other.  He has trouble with bosses that get a little overreactive to jobs that come in and deadlines.  And to be honest with you, the man is highly influenced by his circumstances.  His character is weak (not meaning it in a demeaning way, but) to where it affects how he treats Lydia and I… how he responds, how his attitude is.

It matters.  I have a real problem communicating with him… because the people he spends time with all day – every day don’t talk unless they talk crap.  So he doesn’t talk to me unless he’s picking, being a smarta$$, or making a snide comment.  I find out things from Yahoo news, Rush Limbaugh, SIR, my Bible digging… I don’t get conversation from my husband.  And it’s because that’s how he’s conditioned to be.  I honestly believe that because his character is weak, he literally can’t change it… unless his circumstances were to change so that he were influenced in a different direction.

Although our marriage has made huge steps in this direction, actually.  Because he’s in *our* home, he has made some drastic changes.  He would never have prayed at his mom’s… he prays with us at our house.  He never would have gone to plays or watched Disney movies before… he never played games or listened to music at his mom’s… these avenues are acceptable and persuable now… because his living circumstances changed.  I often wonder what other changes would happen if he got out of the ‘shop’ atmosphere and worked with less coarse people… would he be more interested in talking to or teaching Lydia?  Would he be more apt to converse with me?

You read stories about people overcoming the odds – living in the streets and yet always smiling and helping others.  You read stories about a bitter woman who lives in the lap of luxury, but is never happy and ends up sick most of the time.  You hear about kids in the projects who get 4.0 GPAs and become surgeons.  You hear about men who were abused as boys and grow up to be wife-beaters because of it.  Circumstances affect some, and not others.

It’s the character that makes all the difference.  Strong people don’t let circumstance suck them down.  They have their sights set on something higher.  They know where they’re going, and nothing is going to deter them.  They believe in themselves, in God, in second chances, in hard work.  Weak people are followers – they let others affect their whole attitude.  They accept blindly whatever they are told, without question or thought.

So I guess I’ve decided that the connection between character and circumstances can unbreakable if the character is weak, but a strong character can overcome the walls circumstances put in our way… and for the person of that character, the connection between circumstances and their character is conquerable.

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