The 4 Choices of the Paths of Life

The path you take in life is entirely unique to you. You can’t live someone else’s life, nor they yours. Your personal choices will lead to where you find yourself. Your path in life can be a path of destruction or a path of prosperity. The good thing about the path of life is there are lots of twists, turns, switchbacks, criss-crosses, and places to pull over to think.

Occasionally, life will divide your path. Often, there will be an unexpected fork in the road. At this point, you are forced to make one of four choices.paths

  1. Go to the left
  2. Go to the right
  3. Go back the way you came
  4. Go nowhere

As you weigh your options, you’re stuck looking one way, and then the other, back-and-forth like an invisible tennis match. All kinds of questions run through your head: Which one will yield greater prosperity? Which one will be the “easy” route? Which one will be more fun? Which one would my friends choose?

When life offers you options, but you prefer familiarity and comfort, you still are left with a choice to make. One path may lead to the unknown… or both paths may. The beauty is we often can’t see where the path leads. We can only speculate. It’s a calculated risk, but a risk nonetheless.

Of the four options, #3 and #4 ARE known. You can back pedal to recognizable terrain or you can sit where you are, becoming a spectator of life rather than being a player in the game of life. It is highly unlikely these options are going to be of any use to you. To grow is to move up and out, not inward and underneath.

With #3 and #4 eliminated for the sake of positive advancement, our attention is drawn to #1 and #2.

1000 Tips 105 pave your own pathOne thing is for sure. Whatever path you do take, it is yours and no one else’s. God made us each in his image, but we are all unique individuals. He has also given us free will to make mistakes. We will make plenty of them… and sometimes that means taking the wrong path.

While I was writing this, I was interrupted by a call from a man in a different state. He was letting me know about some damage to his property unintentionally caused by a college student and wanted to know if I was able to help. He claimed she had drove into a custom lamp post in his yard and knocked it down. While he would like restitution for the damage, he was more concerned that, after having a very pleasant conversation and product demonstration with her, she left the scene. It was at the very scene of the accident where this young lady was at a crossroads. She had a choice of which path to take. The one where she got as far away as possible, or the one laced with integrity in the form of accepting responsibility. While I don’t have the reasons for her choice, it seems at this point she chose the path of least resistance – and bolted. The wrong path often only leads us in circles. You have to get off at some point and get going in the right direction again. 

We do this time and time again. Sin gets us on the wrong paths. Think about some of the errant paths you have been down and where they led you – nothing but trouble! Paths of fear, anger, jealousy, resentment, temptation, gluttony… too many to name!

When faced with where to go next in life, my recommendation would be to look for where God would have you go. It’s not always the most exciting and glamorous path… but it is the one that leads to your purpose in life. Don’t be afraid to take the path that leads to greatness in His Kingdom, not yours…

Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.
– Proverbs 3:6

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Stumbling into compassion

Have you ever had a moment where you tripped or fell and clumsily hit the ground? We all have at some point. In fact, don’t we kind of stumble through life?

When I was working at my first “real” job out of college – you know, the kind that you call a career rather than a job – I was taught a life lesson I have not forgotten to this day. In fact, it will stay with me until I depart this world of dirt.

The receptionist, whom I was friends with, was walking through the common entry way that had offices surrounding it with a stack of papers. All of the sudden, she went airborne and into a door frame. Papers were gliding to the ground in a smooth, left-to-right arced motion. And the sound was the crash-type of noise you only hear in a cartoon. The whole scene looked like a cartoon!

Rather than immediately help her like I should have, I broke into a laughter. She was okay, just a little frazzled and embarrassed. I figured since we were friends, she would have had the same reaction had it been me. That’s when I saw the look on her face. Then I knew something was not right.

1000 Tips 88 Psalm 66.9 feet stumble

Upon analyzing the situation and yes, going over and helping her get up and pick up the papers, her eyes caught mine as we were both on all fours on the floor and I could see a tear form, then trickle down her cheek. I asked if she was going to be alright. Then, she hit me with it. She said she had not told anyone at work because she didn’t want to be treated differently. What she told me was she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This is a disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and from the brain to the body. Balance can be one thing affected by the debilitating disease.

After opening up about it, she felt a little better. But I didn’t. After some alone time soul searching in my office, I decided I needed to be more aware of my surroundings and both my actions and reactions. I wasn’t in high school (or college) any more and it was time I matured. I was mad at myself, but more upset for her. She was the one who would have to deal with MS for the rest of her life. I could overcome being a jerk. And, no doubt, there would be others just like me who don’t ever make it easy – whether intentional or unintentional. I learned from that encounter, but not everyone does.

Every time I read Psalm 66:9, I think of her. When I moved to another state, we did not keep in touch, but I do think back to how she taught me to be a better person through situational compassion. Each individual situation deserves understanding leading to compassion. I stumbled that day more than she did. She stumbled through her adversity. I stumbled into compassion.

We stumble through adversity, but when we put our trust in the Lord, our lives are His. When residing in His hands, we have Him to hold us up. And that’s all we need.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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There’s light and hope in heartache

In the last month, more than a few people close to me have received either a not-so-good health diagnosis or experienced the loss of a loved one. It hurts me when others are hurting. I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach like a roller coaster dip thinking of their pain or grief.

Gods presence shines brightestBy nature, I’m a “fixer” and want to do something about it. I want healing. I want to mend the broken heart. I want to bandage souls and restore losses. I want to fill the void. I want to bring the pain to an end. But I can’t. Not much I say or do changes the reality presented by the present darkness.

Well, nothing I say or do, but there is a light! Just check out this well-known verse:

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105

The living Word of God shows us the way and guides our feet on the right path – no matter the situation! You can always rely on Biblical truth to be the light that will set you free from whatever your bondage.

The light comes in the form of the realization that God’s Word is truth. God doesn’t promise us a life free of awful things, but he does promise us an eternity free of those things. Living in a world of sin has its consequences. This broken world certainly tries to break us. But in fact, it really it only bends us. Gods light

Recently, I text three Bible verses on how to restore a broken heart to someone I know who is dealing with the loss of a loved one. They were put together in the form you see below on a blog by Nena Podbury. To that end, the subtitle really hit the mark: “When your heart is broken, turn to God’s Word for healing.” Though the blog deals with mending a broken heart (relationships), the following points and verses are what she shared that relates to anyone going through a difficult period:

  1. God has the power to heal your heart.
    He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds.Psalm 147:3 (GNTD)
  2. God is near.
    The LORD is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.Psalm 34:18 (GNTD)
  3. God cares for you.
    Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7 (GNTD)

And you know what? God always has impeccable timing. As I was driving home, there was a song on the radio I had never heard before (or never paid attention). I figured the title out by a line in the song. It was “What Faith Can Do,” by Kutless. This was also worth sharing with my friend and it’s worth sharing with you. As you read the lyrics, think about the hole in your heart or the reality of your struggles.

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining
I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing
I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
Overcome the odds
You don’t have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!
I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That’s what faith can do
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise*

break into darkness

The lyrics in this song speak to my heart. The lyrics in this song speak to the broken-hearted.

Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

By Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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*Written by Scott Davis, Scott Krippayne, William Scott Davis • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Destiny, determination, desperation

Your destiny is determined by one part determination
and one part desperation

Destiny is a funny thing. Some believe the occurrences that lead up to a certain event are determined by an unseen power called destiny. An example of this is often used in sports: “_____________ is a team of destiny.” Or, “all the power in the universe can’t change destiny.”

I completely disagree. I feel destiny is determined by our efforts. And effort is determined by, what else? Determination. William Shakespeare said: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” Our determination is a matter intense belief, a knowledge we are capable of the incapable.

1000 Tips 113 Desiny determination desperation

The other part of this equation is desperation. Anyone desperate enough and wants something bad enough is willing to chase the wind – and come darn close to catching it too!

Let me ask you three questions:

Question 1: Have you ever thought about what it takes to be successful? Chances are you probably have, but it may have been in a limited scope. What I mean by this is it may have been contained to a specific project or goal with an end in mind. But have you really ever applied this question with a bigger purpose? As in the purpose for your life?

Question 2: Have you ever been so determined, your efforts outweighed your expectations? When this happens, your results will exceed your expectations. This is surprisingly rewarding! Determination leads to all kinds of other positive qualities such as persistence and enthusiasm. Recent studies even suggest it can be a positive emotion that leads one toward action and results through such things as perseverance and the development of various coping mechanisms.

According to WikipediaDetermination is a positive emotional feeling that involves persevering towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles. Determination occurs prior to goal attainment and serves to motivate behavior that will help achieve one’s goal.

Question 3: Does your desperation drive you? If you are not running with a purpose, the race is not important to you. Desperate people determine their destiny. They make choices based on demand rather than desire.

Destiny is a thing to be achieved, it’s not a string of happenings

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

– Proverbs 16:3

What drives you? Your destiny awaits you. Make it happen.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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*The photo above is part of a collection of truths, motivation, and wisdom from Lead Me Forward that can be found here. They are collectively called “1,000 Tips to Becoming a Better You.”

PA-POW!!!! YOU CAN MAKE AN IMPACT NOW!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A PERSON OF MEANS TO BE A PERSON OF MEANING1000 Tips 41 means and meaning

What does this mean? Well, put simply: the impact you have on others is not necessarily dependent on the capacities and measures you control. To be a person of meaning, you only have to rely on you (and God). You have more potential than you give yourself credit for, both in spite of and despite the means you have at your disposal.

Many people, both younger and older, with whom I’ve come to know and love are often operating their lives under what I would call a false assumption. Many figure they will make a greater impact later in their life rather than in the present. Don’t you sometimes find yourself waiting for the perfect time? Sure, we all do! It’s called selective procrastination. The problem comes up when we find ourselves unconcerned with this. Complacency, after all, is a tool of the devil. Not doing the things you are capable of is the same as not doing anything at all.

This is not a practical approach for those who wish to use the talents, gifts, and resources God has bestowed them with to be a person of meaning, especially a person of meaning to His Kingdom. To be honest, we are not promised tomorrow. It’s a flawed logic when the belief of what can be done now will not be as effective as what can be done later assuming our means and influence will be greater than at the present.

person of meaning quote

I think Michael Josephson got it right in his quote above. Anyone with character will place a higher value on significance over success. To be a person of meaning is to be a person of purpose.

There’s sometimes a desire to establish an identity and a certain level of desired comfort for oneself before maximizing our impact. This is human nature – the want to be comfortable (notice I didn’t say need?). The objective itself is not intended to be selfish, but it does stifle personal growth and spiritual maturity.

In a past blog I wrote, “Giving up is the most unacceptable form of giving.” To correct myself, not giving is actually the MOST unacceptable form of giving. Why is this? It’s because God did not intend for us to be inactive with our time, money, and other resources.

THE TIME IS NOW! The question is, “Why wait?” If we wait until “the time is right,” our means to help are diminished because the need may have passed. Don’t let this happen to you! Your meaning and purpose are too precious to those who need you now! Friendship, time spent, words of affirmation, hugs, sharing laughs, and wise counsel are way more important now than waiting for the perfect timing or a comfortable financial state. Lead, live, learn, and love!

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. – James 4:17

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
Facebook: www.fb.com/leadmeforward1

*The photo at the top of this post is part of a collection of truths, motivation, and wisdom from Lead Me Forward that can be found here. They are collectively called “1,000 Tips to Becoming a Better You.”

Change is scary. Obedience is scarier.

God’s plan is bigger than we are.

1000 Tips 82 God bigger than we areI have a confession. I struggle with this sometimes. Not in the way I think my plans are bigger and better than God’s, but in the way that I sometimes doubt. Maybe not really doubt, but I will allow a small crack to penetrate my faith. If left unchecked, it will slowly grow into a bigger problem like a chip in a windshield does over time.

Call it uncertainty or just fading conviction… but I sometimes have a hard time seeing the forest from the trees when it comes to how God works. He truly is mysterious.

One thing that helps me is to admit how God truly is bigger in every way. My little brain is not made to understand or question His plan. This is hard for me in my own life, and equally difficult when it comes to my family and friends. I have to realize it’s not for me to comprehend, but to obey. And the obedience part can be as scary as the acceptance part.

When change is involved, we can be conflicted by the shift or transition our lives take. I think lots of us get used to a routine or schedule. And, suddenly when something changes we go into panic mode or survival mode. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Lots of things God puts in our path are for the better. We sometimes just don’t know because of the fear of the unknown. Our comfort zone is not God’s construction zone. He builds us when we are uncomfortable and unguarded. It’s one of the most amazing things about His power and passion for us.

While I might not like the rug of life being pulled out from under me or my friends, I have to remind myself it may be time to let go of the matted, old rug for a new place to stand strong.

Yep, that can be scary. True courage is following in faith. God’s plans are bigger than we will ever be.

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
Facebook: www.fb.com/leadmeforward1

*The photo above is part of a collection of truths, motivation, and wisdom from Lead Me Forward that can be found here. They are collectively called “1,000 Tips to Becoming a Better You.”

When did you start telling yourself lies?

While I don’t usually get too shocked when a young person opens up about something personal, I’m still amazed every time they find themselves in confidence withdrawal. low self worthWhat I mean by this is how they are short on confidence, but long on the lies they tell themselves. Their confidence sinks to a whole new low – most often from their own low value of self.

One of the many ways we learn is through repetition. The things we tell ourselves over and over are the things we start to believe. In essence, we become as we think; we are as we tell ourselves. When we tell ourselves lies, our self-worth plummets into free fall like a raindrop in the wind.

One thing I always wonder in my head… when did you start telling yourself lies? Why do you look in the mirror and say you are unworthy? Say you are ugly? Say you are fat? Say you are not loved? Why would you have thoughts of hurting yourself? Why do you cut? What would drive you to the pain you feel? What kind of pain drove you to the numbness you feel?

Half the time, the answer is: someone told you _________________ before you told yourself – and you believed them. You bought the manure they were spreading and fertilized your insecurities. 

The easy answer is to stop telling yourself these lies. However, we’re all aware how anything that has an obvious answer is never as simple as it seems. If you are in a rut of depression or swimming in a pool of self-loath, know this: you are not alone. Our insecurities are all too often secret commonalities. We all have them.

The key is to put your pride aside and seek help. Help can come in all forms. It might be counseling or therapy (nothing wrong with this option), seeking accountability from a friend, getting new friends, seeking solace in your faith, or participating in positive reinforcement exercises. Quit listening to others who tear you down and quit listening to yourself when you say the same hurtful things.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is sparrowforgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
– Luke 12:6-7

Yes, you are more important that any number of sparrows. God loves you and wants a relationship with you. You can deny Him, but you can’t deny His love for you. Acceptance begins a wonderful healing process. It doesn’t matter when you started telling yourself lies. It matters when you stop.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Surprising God

Yes, I fully realize you can’t surprise God. But stay with me on this. You may just surprise yourself.

On the brink of a dear friend’s 30th birthday, and in the course of conversation, she made the following statement:

“I’m excited to find out what God has
planned for me at 30.”

God planI thought this statement was somewhat insightful. After all, she was looking forward to the path God has chosen for her life. For some reason, her statement stayed with me like yesterday’s leftovers – in a good way though.

I couldn’t immediately put my finger on it, but it made me think. I often think about what God has in store for me too at my age. In a few weeks, I will celebrate another year on this rock. I can say this with confidence: whatever it will be, the best is yet to come!

What if the situation was reversed from my friend’s statement above? What if the statement became this?

“I’m excited for God to find out
what I have planned for him.”

1000 Tips 14 greatnessThis statement has to do with taking control of our reason for creation and being active in seeking God’s will for ourselves. Though God is omniscient, what if we lived each day so as to try to surprise God in a good way? What if we rocked His universe by knocking His socks off in how we live, lead, and love? What if we made him turn His head to notice us or do a double take – not for the sinner we are, but for the saint we can try to be?

If we claim to be a Christ-follower, how we live our life determines who we are through Christ. At this very moment, can you look in the mirror and say God will be excited to know what you have planned for Him today? The irony of a plan is it has no value until acted on and results are garnered. That means you need to make things happen and have a consequence from those actions favorable to your original intent.

With that in mind… yeah, I’m pretty excited for both what God has planned for me and what I have planned for God. Obedience and actionable steps for desired results will be how I get through the day. How about you?

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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A Thief Proves Living in Desperation Does Not Mean You Have to Live in Desolation

1000 Tips 26 desperationDesperation comes in different forms. Some things we can laugh at after the fact, and other things seem unrecoverable.

Chances are, either you or someone you know is living in a state of desperation. Desperation takes on many forms depending on the situation. This is a place of total misery that often leads to poor choices, rash decisions, and extreme behavior. Desperation is completely natural when we feel confined in our emotional state of dejection and despondency.

Thick As Thieves
3 crossesThe Bible is full of amazing people who both fail and excel in the deplorable depths of despair. While you will not quite find yourself in the same situation, a good example are the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus. 

After they were nailed to their respective crosses, one of the criminals mockingly said: “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself – and us too, while you’re at it.” The second, known as the Penitent thief, took a different angle. He was humbled by his situation and realized the wrongs that put him there. He rebuked the other criminal and took responsibility for the reason they were both there: “We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” With that, despite the piercing pain of the cross, they continued their conversation. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom,” said the thief. Jesus responded by saying, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

In this incredible recount of one of the most important events of the Christian faith, a rebel thief who likely led a life in opposition to everything Jesus stood for was saved from his desperation in the waning moments of his life.

In Romans 10:13, Paul writes: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Whatever your current desperation is, know you are not desolate. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If no one else, you have the Lord with you. Just as Jesus was by the side of the Penitent thief, you have someone with you in your darkest times.

3 Things About Desperation
1) The pain is temporary.
 Pain is also just a part of life. Just like the pain of the cross did not last, the pain of your distress will not last. The pain you feel may be emotional or stem from other origins, but it will pass like a kidney stone. Remember: Pain is real. But so is hope.

2) You must change the trajectory of torment. Find the root cause and divert it. To do this, we must deflect it so we are not taking on the brunt of all of the baggage that comes with feelings of complete desperation. This is easier said than done. For many of us, we know the cause, but refuse to do anything about it for one of many reasons including fear, complacency, and even because we want to wallow in our anguish. Sometimes it feels like there is no escaping or “returning to normal.” Don’t let the lies you tell yourself become your reality. 

3) Let others help you. You are not alone: the fact is many people may be in your same position and you just don’t know it. How would you? You may not have shared your own commuitypainful story with others, so why would they with you? Desperation is the epitome of solitude. Find others who have dug their way out of discouragement. Find trust in those who will help you build from your brokenness. There’s healing in community. 

If you are facing desperate times, keep in mind the two thieves on the crosses on the right and left of Jesus. Stay the course. Which of the two courses is up to you.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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