"You are a product of your past, but you are not a prisoner of your past. It has influence over you, but it's just one of the cards."
Warren created an analogy between life and the card game of poker. He explained:
"The cards we are dealt are the things we don't have control over. I didn't choose where I was born, when I was born, I didn't choose my gender, my parents, my race, my natural abilities, my natural weaknesses, but a wise player can even play what seems to be a weak hand, and win the game. There are ways to take what you are given and make the most out of it."
Hear Rick Warren in his own words in the video on the left as he describes the five cards we are all dealt.
The first card represents the body people are given and the chemistry that makes up their physical characteristics. Warren said we have no control over how we were created physically by God.
The pastor said we were made to be in relationship with others. We are wired to be connected together with others.
We have no control over who our parents are or where we were born. Warrens said we give this card way too much power. Circumstances are what we can't control.
This is the card you have when you talk to yourself. It is the story you tell yourself. When it comes to this fourth card, Warren explains:
"Your consciousness is the story you tell yourself. All of us have things we want to change in our lives. If you want to change the way you act, your start back with your thoughts. If I'm acting depressed, it's because I feel depressed. You can't change a feeling – but you can change a thought."
Oprah reacted when the pastor said the key is not to resist temptation, but to replace it. Warren further explained:
"Not to resist, but to refocus. You have to renew your consciousness. If you want to break a focus, you need to refocus."
This fifth card is the only card that you can control. It is the card that can either make or break the entire hand. It is the wild card in the deck.
Only you have the power to change the direction of your life.
Warren had an object lesson to explain how the choice card is the only one a person can control. His object lesson was Nick Vujicic, the 29-year-old man born without arms and legs whose life story proves there is nothing he can't do. He is now married and he and his wife are expecting their first child. He was brought to the group to prove to the audience that everyone has choices to use the hand they have been dealt.