The good thing about silence is it can’t be misquoted

“The good thing about silence is it can’t be misquoted.” This quote is commonly attributed to Calvin Coolidge. I think Mr. Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, was very wise in what he said. After all, a politician would know a thing or two about being misquoted. One of his nicknames was “Silent Cal” for his quiet and steadfast nature. It’s a wise person who knows the importance of being silent sometimes over the importance of speaking up all the time.

“The louder the silence, the clearer God’s voice.” Adding my own twist to the importance of silence, I believe silence can be more deafening that noise. Not in a measure of decibels, but rather in the opportunity to hear what God is telling us. Quiet time can be just what we need to wipe out the distractions that block us from knowing God’s will for our lives.

1000 Tips 90 silence clear voice

Have you ever felt like the noise in your life was so deafening you couldn’t break free from the distraction? It helps to sometimes just find a quiet place to gather your thoughts and regroup. But for many of us, the noise continues… even with the silence.

How could this be you ask? It’s the buzz in your head. It’s the roar of your inner thoughts. It’s the banging and booming, the clanging and clattering of your inner monologue. While you may be surrounded in silence, you are never really voiceless in your head. You are never truly in a free, mental state of quiet when awake.

Here’s what I’ve found to be true. The times you have found peace and quiet are often the times you need to listen the hardest. You never know, this may be one of the ways God speaks to you.

So yes, our personal silence can be loud. But it doesn’t mean it’s a terrible thing. We all want our silence to be our utopia, our bliss, a little piece of heaven – to get away from it all. But maybe we don’t need to get away from everything. Maybe, instead, we need to hear the truths God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit in our stillest moments.

Who knows? The louder your silence, the more you may hear spoken truths. Are you listening in your silence. Trust me, it won’t be misquoted.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
– Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV)

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Control the Controllables – Vol. 1

Today’s blog is the first in a three-part series about control.

This installment is a condensed version of what I like to call one of the Godcentric Principles of Spirit-filled Leadership. It’s about controlling the things within your control.

keepcalmcontrolthecontrollables“Control the Controllables” is a phrase we use all the time at Southwestern Advantage and something I take to heart. For many who read this blog not associated with Southwestern Advantage, you may not be familiar with this phrase. This may be new to you. It’s basically a fundamentally sound concept in which you focus on controlling what you can, rather than pouring your energy in trying to control the things you can not. 

Think about all the time wasted trying to control things you just have no power over. Things like when your favorite TV show is interrupted for weather alerts, or Baskin Robbins is out of your favorite ice cream therefore only having 30 flavors that day, or like the times you have to get your oil changed so the annoying dash light can be reset. While those are silly examples you have no control over, but can be frustrating, you never had control of the situation in the first place.

In a spiritual context, God allows us to choose, but ultimately, He is always in control. A verse in Proverbs pretty much sums that up:

We may throw the dice,
but the Lord determines
how they fall.
– 
Proverbs 16:33

This is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible! Proverbs 16:33 is all about control. But really, we could also say it’s about lack of control. Okay, it’s both. When I read this verse, I always come to the same realization: “Who’s in control?…It ain’t me.” No matter how much I think I am or want to be, the Lord always has a way of putting me in my place and setting me on a straighter, narrower path. And I’m okay with that. I accept it. God is, and always will be, in control. I know this because I have experienced this first-hand time and time again.

Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
– 
Ephesians 1:11

I believe God is the Creator of all. Since He created everything, He controls everything. For all the things on this earth we are unable to control, we would be better not to waste our time with futile efforts of defiance.

Good leaders concentrate on the things they can control and influence. Good Spirit-filled leaders concentrate on letting God control things out of their control and influence.

By accepting the things God controls and not worrying about it, there is a greater allocation of attention to other things deserving of greater attention such as acts of service, leading, and loving others. Our little human minds have a hard time comprehending this because the devil fuels us with a need to be in control.

It’s okay to want to control the situation, but you have to equally be able to lose control of it (or give it away) when the time comes in order to let God do His thing.

So let God control the uncontrollables in your life. Focus on this Psalm if you have trouble letting God sit in the driver’s seat:

Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
– 
Psalm 131:1-2

Remember, control the things in your control. If you try to control the things out of your control, failure is imminent.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Both the wise and fools affect who we will one day be

“It was the best of people,
it was the worst of people.”

This take on the classic first 12 words of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens describes in a nutshell what others can show us about who we want to be. I always find it fascinating how you can learn as much about who you want to be as you can about who you don’t want to be through both direct and indirect interactions with others.

The fact is, we can always learn something from others. The Bible has a whole lot to say about the wise and fools. These are some of my favorite verses – especially the ones that come out of Proverbs. Here is but a sampling:

Honor is no more associated with fools than snow
with summer and rain with harvest. – Proverbs 26:1

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. – Proverbs 12:15

Fools have no interest in understanding;
they only want to air their own opinions. – Proverbs 18:2

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent. – Proverbs 17:28

And one of my favorites:
As a dog returns to vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. – Proverbs 26:11

In the summer of 2000, I asked to gain the skill set of  my company’s craft by the learning-by-doing method. Southwestern Advantage is like the Navy SEALs of sales. As the company’s representative to the outside world, I felt I needed to gain the EXPERIENCE we offer college students in running a business in order to have credibility with both internal and external audiences. What I came out of it with was so much more valuable.

After spending several weeks meeting with families through cold-calls and referrals, I was astounded at how much I learned from those I met. I’m not kidding when I say this… but I learned more about myself and human nature than I did in five years of college. It was an experiential education – meaning this was stuff you would never learn in a classroom. I learned through experiencing it first-hand.

1000 Tips 123 best and worstOne of the many things I saw was the best in people and the worst in people. This was very important for me. By interacting with others directly and observing them indirectly, I was able to discern the person I wanted to become. Sometimes it was positive, as I saw something great in someone: their attitude, how they interacted with their kids or spouse, the cleanliness of their home or appearance, their tone of voice and choice of language, or simply a smile. But on the other hand, I would experience the absolute worst in people: how they talked to and treated others, their deplorable living conditions, addictions, unrestrained anger or resentment, broken relationships, and the results of a life of regrets and poor choices.

This is not an indictment of those I interacted with necessarily, but it is an indictment of human nature. No matter the time or place, we can learn from others often more than we can have them learn from us. And… the future you appreciates the past you soaking it all in.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com 
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What to ask yourself when stuck in a rut

Are you stuck in a rut, or is a rut stuck in you? This may seem like a silly question… but you CAN get a rut stuck in you. This is not like a fish bone in your throat or strawberry seed in your teeth. The difference between the two is the source.

stuckWhen you’re stuck in a rut, you’re in some kind of negative groove you must struggle to get out of. It may be a mood, an attitude, a sense of helplessness, or constant and continued mediocrity on your part. It could be brought on by depression, anxiety, fear, or any type of catalyst holding you back. It could be mental, emotional, or physical. Being stuck in a rut may or may not not be something the stuckee typically chooses, but it is something you can climb out of – even if it’s one of those giant ruts left in the mud by a monster truck. The deeper the rut, the bigger the challenge!

When you have a rut stuck in you, this is definitely not of your own choosing. At Southwestern Advantage, we have a saying that’s spanned generations: “Control the controllables.” This means placing your focus on the things within your control. There’s no need to worry about the things outside of your control because it’s like King Solomon says, it’s like “chasing the wind.” Therefore, having a rut stuck in you is like having an annoying splinter that you can only get half-way out. You do what you can, but it’s still deep in your flesh. Once you’ve exhausted your control, it’s there to stay until it works it’s way out.

Either way, when a rut is involved, you need to do anything and everything you can to break free. A lot of it has to do with self-accountability. Here are four questions to consider when a rut has engulfed you:

1. What is the reality of your situation? Ask yourself this question and write down the1000 Tips 121 problem opportunity answers. Be honest with yourself. If you’re not honest, you will be fooling yourself and seek solutions that won’t be helpful. Sometimes you have to look at the problem to see the solution. A problem is simply an opportunity to change either a situation or yourself.

2. Why are you resistance to change? Is there something holding you back or blocking you from scaling the walls of your mental cage? Make a list of the things that would have to change or you would like to see changed in order to find yourself in a different situation. Then make a sub-list of the things to do in order for each of the things on your first list to happen. When you determine the reason for your resistance, you will be half-way to your desired result.

3. Is there a refusal to make a change? Do you relish misery? Is there a reason you are in the state you are in or why you have dug the hole? There could certainly be something deeper here that may require some outside perspective and help. For any situation, you have to WANT to make a change. Many of us refuse to do this because we get comfortable in our discomfort. This happens all too often.

4. Can I pray my way out of this? This is a question you can ask each time you find yourself in a rut, but the answer will always be the same. YES! Prayer is a two-way, open communication, or conversation, if you will, between you and God. He always hears our prayers but He does not always answer them as we would like. Whether it’s not our preferred timing or a solid “no,” prayers are an important process in working our way out. How can we expect answers if we are not asking questions and seeking resolutions? Act and you shall be moved, speak and you shall be heard.

In the New Testament letter from Paul and Timothy to the Philippians, they alluded to the many ruts they found themselves in as messengers of the Good News.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
– Philippians 4:12-13

You too can do all through Him who gives you strength!

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Close the doors in your life that are better shut in order to open new ones

Have you ever felt you had to take a step back in order to move forward? Over time, that’s what life is like. “One step forward, two steps back,” right?

1000 Tips 115 where want to beYou sometimes have to stop and take note of where you are so you can make plans for where you want to be. In many cases, this means a change of trajectory. That direction may be any number of ways. You see, there’s often more than one right way to get somewhere. There’s also lots of wrong ways that get you nowhere.

Visual imagery time: Think of a wall blocking your path which represents obstacles, regrets, a broken heart, poor choices, and any other pain points you have. There are many ways to get past a wall. You can go over it. Under it. Around it. Through it. Or just alter your path and take a detour to a new path that has no wall that will take you to the place you want to go. All of the ways or paths to get past the roadblock of a wall represent change.

Change isn’t a bad thing. But it’s something many people fear. I fear change when I don’t know what the outcome may be (which I bet is the most common reason people fear it). However, what I’ve come to realize is change can be a great thing for revitalizing a tired routine or refreshing a stale or negative attitude. It can also be good for breaking through the walls in your life.

Another visual example is the theme used as the title of this blog post: you sometimes must close doors inthree door order to open others. This illustration represents closure. There are times you will need to shut the door on the garbage in your life in order to open new doors that allow you to walk into opportunity. This includes toxic relationships, dead-end jobs, decisions you are putting off, and resistance to positive life hacks.

I’ve had to do this before. I’ve closed the door, in fact, SLAMMED it, so I could run to another. Nearly two decades ago, I resigned from my first real “career” job out of college in another state so I could rejoin my wife and build a life for us back in Tennessee. While I gained lots of experience, I was being held back. But God had my back. Three days after moving back, I walked through the doors at Southwestern Advantage. After being hired six weeks later, I’ve never looked back. What was a good first-time opportunity in order to get experience in Maryland led to me shutting that door so I could open one that allowed me to grow, build, and fly to new heights – both personally and professionally.

There’s no shortage of doors to be opened. The doors you close will likely force you to open others. And, in time, you may close those too – or they maybe closed for you. The disciples found new opportunities when they needed to. If a town was unwilling to hear about Jesus and the Good News or ran them out of town, then they went to the next one to proclaim it. At Southwestern Advantage, we have a saying: “The answer lies behind the next door.” It always does, just sometimes it’s a “no,” and that door stays closed. You see, you have to have the “nos” in order to get to the “yeses.”

A note about closed doors: Once you close a door, I encourage you to make the decision to never open it again if it hides a past you would just prefer to move on from. That door might just be a closet door that holds your skeletons. Move on from this. You are a person who has a mind to think, a heart to beat, and a soul to love. Make the most of the rest of your life… starting now. Close the doors that need to be shut and look for others that need to be opened. GO!!!!!

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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The waves of your unintentional influence wash over others

The result of unintentional influence:

You never know how your waves
wash over someone else. 

Have you ever thought about your influence? How about your circle of influence? We all have influence over others to varying degrees. Your influence is the essentially the effect 1000 Tips 94 waves washyou have on someone’s character, development, or behavior. It’s something that causes them to think or act in a specific manner.

Influence is a funny thing. You just never know what may or may not be the spark that lights someone else’s fire. And something else… you may not always realize it, but your influence can have a much greater sprawl than your intention – in either a positive or negative way. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of how the things you do and say are received. Remember, it’s your responsibility to be responsible in this regard.

The ramifications of unintentional influence can be far-reaching. Unintentional influence is when there is an unplanned cause and effect. Cause and effect is a relationship between events or things, where one is the result of the other. This is a combination of action and reaction.

This has been on my mind recently as I’ve been thinking about how I need to build a bigger platform from which to reach a few of my goals. These include building an audience for my upcoming book and speaking engagements related to the content. For me, it’s about the impact I can have through my message. This impact is spread through influence created by importance. It’s like this in all situations. If someone feels you have given them something important, they are influenced by your impact.

Unintended influence is a two-way street. You can have a positive reach when you didn’t necessarily mean to or you can have an adverse effect by having an impact stir about the unfavorable.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
– Proverbs 13:20

Proverbs 13:20 tells us if you are with the wise, you become wise, but if you are surrounding yourself with idiots, you will suffer such idiocy through proximity. You see, we influence each other. Whoever crosses your path and whoever’s path you cross – the opportunity is there to influence the other. Therein lies the power of obligation that says you should do your best to be a positive influence. Why? Because you just don’t know what someone will take from you and apply to their life. Your waves wash over others. It may be a faint drizzle, but it could be a full-blown tsunami. You never know what little thing may strike a chord with someone else.

I’ve been told years later how one itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, seemingly insignificant thing I said to someone had a profound impact on their life. In fact, it changed their trajectory and helped lead them to being a Christ-follower. I share this not to boast, but to show how one little, tiny suggestion made a world of difference to a young lady who had been lost because of her upbringing. I’m also sure I’ve said other things that have had the opposite effect. Those are the things I’ve tried to strike from coming out of my mouth. I want to be a person of impact for others, a builder. It’s easy to say things that tear down others or change their way of thinking. Too easy. And we do it all the time… unintentionally.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What would the world look like if we were more conscious about what we said and how we said it? 
  • What would your life look like it you spent more time with the wise and less with fools?
  • What would your impact be if you were less foolish yourself and a little more wise? 

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Is it in you?

No, this is not a blog about Gatorade. Though the company’s popular slogan, commercials and ads with visual gatoradeeffects, and famous athletes sweating Gatorade does conjure up thoughts of a thirst being quenched. Gatorade has made a lasting and effective ad campaign out of asking if it’s in you to enhance performance and replace electrolytes… and sell more product. As you read on, you will see where I’m going with this… but for now, consider this question:

Have you ever loved someone so much you
would give your life for them?

This was a question I asked a group of college students with Southwestern Advantage while at a meeting in New Orleans. The point wasn’t to think about who you would take a bullet for, but who do you love enough to lay down your life for? There’s a distinct difference. Who do you love enough to pour into, to invest in, to serve? In other words, do you love others unconditionally – so much so that you would put your life on hold for them? Would you give up what you have for them?

Someone did this for you in each of those ways. Jesus not only gave his life away to those he inspired, led, healed, taught, scolded, outwitted, told parables to, befriended, and forgave, but he also gave his life away by dying for you. But that’s not the end of the story – he rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of the Father. He did this so his sacrifice would wash away our sins. This is our ticket. Our ticket out of hell. This is an ultimate, unconditional love we all have in common.

With the example set forth by Jesus – a precedence like no other before or since – why would we hesitate to do anything in his name if ever called to do so? While we will likely not be in a situation to have to die for our faith (though many are around the world), what we can do is give our life away to others through our faith. After all, we know what real love is.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
– 1 John 3:16

The above verse is followed up with this:

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a
brother or sister in need but shows no compassion
– how can God’s love be in that person?
– 1 John 3:17

Here’s the follow-up question (and Gatorade tie-in) from the one we started with at the top: Is God’s love in you? When you love someone enough to sacrifice for them, it’s not about giving up power, it’s about submitting to it. That power is love and the love in you that you share with others is powerful. It’s unconditional and compassionate. Through love for others, you can share wisdom, talent, time, money, laughter, friendship, and resources. You can share you. Give your life away through love. Is it in you?

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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How you talk to yourself says a lot about how you talk to others

Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” This statement means if you put junk in your body, you will have a body full of junk. And your waistline will have more to show for it. If you eat healthy, you will have a healthy body and your belly won’t leave a shadow on your feet.

The same is true with what you tell yourself. This is what is called your self-talk. If youryou are what you think 1284 self-talk is negative, then you tend to be negative. If it’s positive and uplifting, then you will also be more positive and uplifting.

When training the college students at Southwestern Advantage, I explain how communications, at its most basic form, is two-way. It’s you and the person you are sending a message to.

SENDER   >   m e s s a g e   >  RECEIVER

I then tell them where misunderstanding and miscommunication comes into the process. It’s when NOISE is introduced. Noise is any interrupter that keeps the message from being received as it was intended by the sender. It can also be the personal messaging you tell yourself that sways your thought process – also known as garbage.

1000 Tips 114 talk to self othersHow you talk to yourself translates to how you talk to others. If you are hard on yourself, your expectations may be harder

And that’s why it’s so important you limit the noise between your ears. Mental, internal ear muffs are a fashion necessity if you want to block the negative things you tell yourself that you end up believing. You see, noise is a barrier to growth. It’s a roadblock to success. It’s like chains holding you back. Noise affects your attitude. It affects your perception of reality.

Let’s take it a step further. The noise (garbage) that interrupts the messages from yourself to yourself translates directly to how you communicate with others. The junk you tell yourself comes out in what you tell others. If you don’t filter your self-talk to be positive, then you come off as negative.

Just like you feed your body nourishment each day, you need to fill your mind with positive material. Your messages to yourself and to others are a reflection of you.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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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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