I’m not waiting for the circumstances to get better. I’m simply using them as stepping stones through rough water. See, the break in our blog posts lately have not been without reason. On the trail of Andrea’s journey with her prosthetic eye, this week has set off yet another series of journeys.

I’ve spent the last 14 months watching my best friend from high school bravely fight cancer, which has now spread from his kidney to his spine and this week, to his lungs.
Our dad had surgery three days ago for prostate cancer.
A week ago, my (Aly’s) high school sweetheart husband had a BBQ pit accident and literally caught of fire, burning him from the waist up.
Today, our son is home with fever and strep throat.

Awesome for one week, right? The truth is, these are just crappy facts. Circumstances. Parts of the story.

The other truth is, these parts of the story are the parts where we get a choice. We get a choice to focus (or cry) about the circumstances, or we get to take advantage of the opportunity to let them shift our perspective to a better place. I don’t share a bullet list of the latest challenges to be a downer, or to compare them to yours. I’ll use them to teach what I’m talking about. See, we all have a story. And yes, we all have the choice.

Here are a few examples of how I CHOSE to allow my joy to be independent of my circumstances. It’s about how you look at it:

1. Chris, our best buddy fighting terminal cancer, is still making us laugh each day from his hospital bed at MD Anderson. For more than 25 years, we have laughed like this. Our choice is to dwell on the inevitable of what is to come, or to cherish all these years of laughter and memories together.

MY CHOICE: While the sadness of the circumstance feels almost unbearable, I will not give his cancer (or the end result of it) the authority to take away the blessing he has been in our lives. What a gift.

2. Our Dad’s cancer surgery this week…

MY CHOICE: With complete gratitude for the doctors who caught his cancer early, I thank God each moment for medical technology, skillful doctors, financial ability to have surgery, and for many more years ahead with our cherished Dad and G-Dad.

3. My husband is so hot, he caught on fire! I have to joke about this one because it has been truly unbelievable, and painful. I looked outside last Sunday and literally saw my husband flying into the pool… on fire! Like a movie, complete with a trail of fire behind him.

MY CHOICE: Thank God for that semester in college that I hated, when I had to do wound care and burn care at Brackenridge Hospital. Who knew?! And thank God for the pool he had to jump into. And thank God he did not lose any vision or hearing with this explosion. Thank God it didn’t burn his lungs. Thank God he is alive! And, he will heal in time. Let this be a lesson for everyone reading…do not ever stand amongst flammable vapor with flammable liquid with flame nearby. Bad idea. Maybe this message will save someone.

4. Little dude has 102 fever and strep throat.

MY CHOICE: Thank God we have a little dude to worry about. And antibiotics. Good to go in no time.

YOUR CHOICE EVERYDAY: Apply these lessons to your personal obstacles. With all your challenges, don’t forget you have a choice. It’s a choice to free your joy and remember it is 100% independent of your circumstances. It does NOT mean you will not grieve, struggle, or have pain. You will. If you didn’t, that would mean you didn’t care. And I know you do. So move through your circumstances and don’t be afraid to feel what you feel. No one gets to tell you what to feel. But even when you are struggling, remember to shine your light. Even when the circumstance dampens happiness, the joy comes from within and shines outward. In your personal life and in your career, own that choice, and that sunshine!

Author's Bio: 

This article was presented by Rock Star U: Aly & Andrea are identical twins, motivational speakers, and strength-focused success coaches with an emphasis on live-event presentations that inspire, educate, lead, and empower audiences to not only survive adversity, but to thrive in it. Hear their incredible story at http://www.rockstarsrock.com, or http://www.worldtourofsuccess.com. Hint: One is blind, both have Vision.

Connect with Aly and Andrea (@alyandrea) on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/alyandrea or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alyandrea