When the boys were small I found them playing church one day in their room. They had lined all their stuffed animals to face them.

One of the boys was being pastor Steve Tipton, the other was pretending to be their grandpa that we went to church with. While the third had his play music set and was worship pastor.

Peaking through the door I stood and watched them for awhile and thought they were so cute and turned and left them to their play undisturbed.

Little did I know this moment of play would cross my  mind years later and have me evaluating; Who is influencing my life? The boys looked up to these men in their lives so much they were imitating them and pretending to be just like them. They had been influenced. And to this day I still see the influence of great men and women that have crossed my sons lives.

A very strong part of walking in a life of joy is to not be dragged down by people that cut you down, constantly complain , or ignore your existence.  These people will be in your life, I often catch myself being one of them and apologize for it.

This influence is everywhere and can be a great danger to a walk with joy if it is not recognized.  I do not need to let them dictate my joy. I do not need to imitate them. I can evaluate who brings life to my life and let those people speak into it. I can and will choose to be like those people that have joy and grace and mercy. That are not full of hateful words or indifference.

Who is it that is influencing your day? If you can not get away from them because they are a integral part of your life, can you not choose to say, I refuse to be like them?

We truly are our own person, however, often who we are around is what we can become. Be aware of the sources that are influencing your joy. Be proactive in who you want to grow up to be. I for one have not grown up yet but I am working on it.

Stand up and laugh out loud and say; this day is mine and joy will fill this heart and those that bring about death instead of life to me will not be my influence.


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