Monthly Archives: May 2016

Your punctuation will be your legacy

If truthful when asked, most of us would say we would like to leave our mark on the world somehow. And, why not? Everyone wants to feel who they are and what they do was important enough to be celebrated and remembered. But who knew the mark we leave could be determined by the punctuation mark of our life?

While thoughts of fortune, fame, and notoriety come to mind, being remembered for superficial circumstances or the amount of wealth we amassed is not going to be a enough of a consideration to determine where we spend eternity. In fact, it’s not a factor at all.

In reading Good to Great in God’s Eyes by Chip Ingram, I was reminded of this with a simple illustration involving, of all things, punctuation.

Chip wrote:
“You can be a good Christian by obeying God and loving people, but if you haven’t poured your life into others, your life ends with a period. Great Christians end with a comma.”*

A period. That means it stops there. But a comma – that small, curved indication of a pause in a sentence – designates there is more to come. When you are dead and gone, what form of punctuation will your life have?

  • many commasWill it end in a period where everything you did dies with you?
  • Will it end with a comma where your legacy is picked up by someone you poured into (like Jesus did with the apostles)?
  • And I’ll add one more… will it end in a question mark where your legacy is seen as questionable or uncertain?

In God’s Kingdom, the most acceptable form of punctuation for which to live your life for the end result is the comma. Why? Because it leads to someone being able to finish your life’s sentence. It allows for someone to pick up where you started. The comma is a member of the punctuation family that leads to continuation rather than an abrupt end. Isn’t this what we are called to do?

Those who pour their faith, love, and time into others are actively seeking to develop, increase, and reproduce the same in others. With intentional effort, an inheritance is handed down. Once this happens, the law of multiplication can sweep through generations and you have continuous commas. When those whose lives end in a period pass, there is nothing that is passed on. It ends as abruptly as the last breath that person took.

So what will it be for you? Looking at your life as it is, will you end your life in an sudden stopping point or an unfinished sentence ready to be spoken through the next generation? Oddly enough, ending in a comma actually puts an exclamation point on one’s life!

– Trey Campbell,

*p. 202, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, by Chip Ingram; Baker Books, 2012


Birthday Reflection: Blessings and Lessons

I had started writing the content for this blog post a week ago. I had the topic and a general direction I wanted to take it. But just like the wind, the topic stayed the same, but the direction shifted.

The shift took place as I reflect on the birthday wishes received via social media, phone, text, and in person. Today marks another year older for me, another year past. Birthdays are that one unique day where people seem to take a moment out of their busy lives and appreciate you in those two words that start with “H” and “B.” And sometimes, someone even expands, going into detail about why you hold a special place of impact in their lives.

There is a quote I’ve seen several places, but also attributed to Mother Teresa that says:

“Some people come in your life as blessings. Some people come in your life as lessons.”

In recalling the well wishes of the day, I wonder how that rings true for each person I come into contact with in a given year? For that matter, how does it look for us all?

As you advance through life, are you a blessing or a lesson to others? Or both? Lessons can be both positive or negative, you know? Do you bless others with your encouragement, attitude, and presence? Or do you offer a lesson – one they take away willingly and thankfully or one they will regret you for?

Why do I pose these questions? Well, one reason is because of Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Mother Teresa was an exceptional example of being “all in.” She is most known for her compassion and charitable works for those who were poor, afflicted, and suffering in Calcutta, India and around the world. She is as best of a case study as anyone will find for putting others first, herself second. She sacrificed and lived a life of service to others. She did her best to do the good things God planned for her. By almost every account, she was relatively successful.

As I think of each person who reached out today, if only by social media, I think of the two-way street of impact: that they have had on my life, and that I suspect I may have had on theirs, if ever so small. Truth be told, I will never truly know what my impact was, if any. And that is not important. But I know this. Each day that goes by is wasted if the effort is not made to serve and be seen as a blessing. Lessons come from blessings, and blessings come from those with a servant’s heart. Look at Mother Teresa.

Blessings and Lessons.png

As my birthday has come and gone, I will continually work to this end. Can I count on those of you in my life to do the same? The ripple effect here is that we all prompt each other to good things. While you have breath in your lungs, make every moment worthy and full of impact. You never know how your waves wash over someone else.

5 Ways to Deal with Disappointment

Disappointment is something that’s as sure as a shadow on a sunny day. And yet, it’s still there on the gloomiest of days – seemingly even more so. It comes in many forms: from adisappointment little blip on our radar of life to a full-blown EF-5 tornado of devastation bringing in winds
of change and total annihilation.

The subject of disappointment has been on my mind lately: having felt both the pain of being let down by others and admittedly and surely letting others down. If this is you too… have faith! I came across this motivational quote and was reminded how, just like pain, disappointments are temporary.

“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a
shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.”

Isn’t that what we do? We let disappointments delay or destroy our dreams. We let what
others tell us determine our destiny. It’s through the discouragement of disappointment our dreams die – if we surrender to setbacks.

Everyone deals with disappointments. That’s the bummer of it, right? Disappointment breeds negativity and discouragement. It lends to lost hope. It can be a dream-killer – but here’s the caveat: only if we allow it to do so. Disappointment is something that is somewhat controllable, just like our attitudes. To control it, it you have to first accept it. Once accepted, you can begin to contain and reduce it. After a while, you will train yourself in the art of resiliency. It’s about how you react to it that makes all the difference.

Keep in mind, there does exist a scale of sorts when it comes to the level of disappointment you are facing. It contains variable factors contributing to the particular degree of letdown or inconvenience. More or less, always ask yourself where the defeat falls in the range from a “little bothersome” to a “really big deal?” Bothersome is simply a mild irritant. A big deal means it’s time for you to deal.

Here are five ways to deal with disappointment when it rears its ugly head:

  1. Audit your perspective on the situation. Are you too close to it? Is your perspective reality, or is it just your perceived reality? Often what we think of as a disappointment is actually turns out to be a blessing in disguise. As well, we often do our best Chicken Little – is it just a falling acorn or a piece of the sky falling? Overreactions are common when the disappointment is our disappointment. Look within to see if your perspective is warranted or an overreaction.
  1. Talk it out/Work it out. Talk out loud and then act! There’s a whole lot to be said for self-talk and problem-solving. Both self-talk, the discipline of positive verbal motivation, and simply finding a way are two exceptionally underused methods of getting to a place or state of where you want or need to be.
  1. Seek or give forgiveness. In a broken world with broken people, it feels like everyone is throwing rocks and all of our shattered glass is making it hard to walk. Whatever the genesis of disappointment, make it a point to either own the cause of disappointment or exonerate those who have given you the grief. Paul Boese said, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Enlarge your future by being the best version of yourself.
  1. Learn from every disappointment as you would each victory. In fact, the greater education is more often found in our defeats than in our victories. C.S. Lewis said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” I believe this. It’s from our falls we learn to get up.
  1. Focus on the good. When in rains, splash in the puddles! At Southwestern Advantage, we train to look for three positives in every situation no matter how undesirable it is. When you find the positives in a negative situation, everything seems to fall into the perspective that you should have taken inventory of from Step #1.

These five steps will help you cope with your disappointments. Put them into practice, and they become habit. We all have things in our lives that propagate distress and discontent. To that end, here are a few scriptures to give you a lift when down with disappointment:

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 
-Psalm 34:18

*Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. 
-Psalm 30:5
(*partial verse)

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. 

-Psalm 55:22

By Trey Campbell,