Many different things, experiences and people influence us in our lives - for good and for bad.
In fact, it is our environments that actually form us.
Those of us who are parents know that when our children begin to live their lives outside of our homes (at the baby sitters, kindergarden, at a friends house, and so on for the rest of their lives), our influence as parents diminishes.
What the people around us say and do can have an influence on who we are becoming.
The music that we listen to and the shows that we watch will have an influence on who we are becoming.
What we read will have an influence on who we are becoming.
"Who we are becoming" is the critical aspect to keep in our minds, because we are constantly changing. What we are changing into is something we do have some choice in.
In my life I have certainly been in environments that have impacted me in negative ways. But I have not allowed myself to be a prisoner to the negative experiences of my past.
We are all products of our past, but we do not have to be prisoners to our past. We can choose to change.
What I choose to focus on is what I am.
I choose to focus on the Life and Love that is freely given to us in Jesus.