Monthly Archives: April 2017

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,
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Your self-worth

One of the many blessings of relationships are how they are two-way. I have learned so much over the years from those who have1000 Tips 18 two-way relationships shared their lives with me. I am forever grateful for each and every one of them.

The past month saw me traveling many miles to many places. Each place and each person was an extraordinary gift who had an extraordinary story. All of their stories are far from finished. What page or chapter is next in their life depends on them. All any of us can do is give them the pen and tell them to keep writing.

Just about all the conversations will fall in one to three categories:
   The past – Where they have been
   The present – Where they are now
   The future – Where they want to go

Something I pick up each time is how their “present” is often associated with their self-worth that stems from events in their past. This affects their future because how they see themselves is directly proportional to their present attitude, choices, and emotional state. One’s self-worth can never be either underestimated or overestimated.

Think about this: Your self-worth – do you see your self as worth it or worthless? Here are a few things I’ve picked up from my conversations I would like to pass along:

1) YOUR PERCEIVED REALITY IS YOUR REALITY. This is something I often mention in my talks on campus or one-on-one. The way we perceive things becomes our reality because that’s how we know it to be. This does not mean it’s the truth or everyone else’s reality. It’s just how our brain computes what we want to be, think should be, or assume to be based on what facts we think we have. Our reality can be assumptive. Our self-worth can’t be tied entirely to how we perceive ourselves and our surroundings because our brain, heart, and emotions can play tricks on us and get the better of us. Be open to the truth about who you are and who you want to be. Own it.

2) YOUR ATTITUDE IS CONTROLLABLE. Your attitude becomes part of your reality mentioned above – so how you talk about yourself and see yourself in the mirror determines how you FEEL about yourself. Your self-worth – good or bad – can be tied to the positivity or negativity surrounding you. Don’t listen to the people who tear you down. Surround yourself with uplifting people who will build you up. If you don’t have a high opinion of yourself, find those who do. You need to be your own loudest cheerleader and encourager. Attitude takes effort, so you might as well make it a favorable experience for yourself and others rather than a miserable one.

3) IT’S OK TO LOVE YOURSELF. Many of the young people I get to hang out with love hug yourselfthings about themselves, but I question if they love themselves. Habits are developed over time and through repetitiveness. Get in the habit of finding the things about you that are lovable and use this as a foundation. Say positive things in the mirror and feed your mind with positive reading. If you are being negatively reinforced, do your best to break-free to be a positive force. You are NOT dependent on anyone or anyone’s opinion. You have to love yourself to love others – start being your own best friend. If family or relationships have ruined this for you, maybe some alone time is needed. Remember – you are always stronger than you think you are. Stay true to who you are and who you want to be.

4) THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON THE PRESENT, NOT THE PAST. The choices we make now can eradicate or build on the ones we have made in the past. We all have the power to make decisions that can change the course of our life trajectory. The past does not play into this. It is the future that will be affected. Write your new chapter, don’t rewrite past chapters.

5) WE ARE ALL BROKEN, BUT NOT BEYOND REPAIR. It doesn’t matter if you are hiding, running, or limping through life. It’s temporary and can end now by facing your fears, addressing the situation, or making changes. The first step is admitting it so you can address it. Get help – including professional help from a trained counselor or therapist (there’s no shame in this) – if you think you need it or are encouraged by people you trust to get it. You are not a lost cause, you are a “because.” – Because you were made in the image of God, created with a purpose and are a person of value. Your life is precious in so many ways. Your demons holding you hostage will be forced to release you because you are stronger than they are. You just need to realize it and rise to the occasion.

To answer the question… regarding your self-worth – YOU ARE ALWAYS WORTH IT! YOU ARE NEVER WORTHLESS.

To anyone who needs to read this on this day: Your value has never changed. Your self-esteem has. Don’t confuse your self-worth with your true worth. You are loved. Always have been – since before you were even born.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten 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

Trey Campbell,
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You determine your waste and your impact

Jim Johnston, a pastor at The Bridge Fellowship in Lebanon, Tennessee ended a sermon with two points I thought were very insightful.

They were intuitive and I related because I feel we generate so much waste in our lives. And I’m not talking about landfills. I’m talking about a perfectly good waste of our lives. Jim’s points were:

  1. Don’t waste your wait.
  2. Don’t waste your influence.

I have a confession. I’m guilty of both. In the time I’ve been waiting for something to happen with my passion of wanting to help others, I have been more dormant than I should have been. What Jim made me realize is while waiting for one thing, you should be working toward something else.

The other waste he talked about was that of our influence. We all have influence, but just in different degrees. In addition to influence, I have two other things: opportunity and connections. We all do. Through opportunities and connection, we can grow our influence. 

What are some things you are wasting in your life? Fill in this blank as it pertains to your life: Don’t waste your ___________________________________ .

This is one of mine: Don’t waste your impact.

There was an old man who lived in a retirement home who wouldn’t speak to anyone. Day after day he would solemnly look out a window from his wheelchair. Over time, his family quit coming around. They couldn’t connect. They felt he was a lost cause. No one could ever get him to speak – to the point where the staff gave up on him thinking he could no longer talk. For years he gazed out that window. No one knew what thoughts were going through his mind, if any.
One day, his health took a turn for the worse. He became bedridden as he tail-spinned into the last days of his life. He would slowly cock his head toward that window and keep the same position all day long. 
As his condition worsened, he slowly motioned for the priest who was there to read him his last rites. The priest doubled over to hear the faint whisper of the hoarse voice that had not made audio waves in many years. This is what he said:
“For years, I’ve stared out that window. Each day I ask my self what I could have done differently so as to not waste the life I was given. There were no answers in the trees, the sky, or the people walking by. As time went on, I began to feel sorry for myself. 
I have wasted a life that was made to impact, to serve, to build. My life is ending and all I have to show is regret. My legacy does not exist. But before I breath my last breath, let it be known I shall not die in vain.

Share this message with the world: Giving up is the most unacceptable form of giving. Give your life away to others to so as not to waste your impact.”

With that, he drew his last breath and passed peacefully.   

1000 Tips 7 giving up givingI know this: I don’t want to one day be an old man and look back on a life of regrets. I owe it to my children and those who I love and build  relationships with to not waste one minute of potential impact.

Why? Because I’ve been the recipient of such impact.


Trey Campbell,
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