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, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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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, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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The photo above is #7 of what will be “1,ooo Tips to Becoming a Better You.” You can see more at https://leadmeforward.com/1000-tips-to-becoming-a-better-you/

 

Magical Kingdom Musings

“See if you can find any glimpses of God’s Kingdom in the Magic Kingdom.”

This was a text I sent to a friend who was going to Disney World with her family. She’s a prayer warrior and shines God’s light where ever she goes. I figured it would be fun to task her with this thought while she was there.

Disney 2012 (2)

In thinking about the two times I’ve been to the Magic Kingdom, I was contemplating in my head the similarities and differences between what Walt Disney’s interpretation of “where dreams come true” and another Kingdom altogether – that of God’s.

As best I can put together, Disneyland was known by the nickname Magic Kingdom prior to Walt Disney World being built in Florida, in which the Magic Kingdom theme park was built. Disneyland’s official tagline is “The Happiest Place on Earth.” But the tagline for Magic Kingdom is “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” The slogan of Disney Parks is the one mentioned above, “Where Dreams Come True.” I know, it’s confusing – but therein lies the magic!

I’m not looking for this post to create discord nor do I want to argue the merits of the Disney effect. Just to be clear, I have nothing against Disney World and the Magical Kingdom other than the long lines and high prices. For those who like theme parks and traveling to a fantasy world to escape the realities of the real world, it makes for some great memories and family time.

When you have such a place where people flock to make those memories and seek a temporary bit of happiness, I wonder if they find what they are looking for? Is it just that? Temporary? You see, any time we have a chance to get away, what ever we’re getting away from is still there when we get back. It’s still there when we return to reality.

When you return from a trip to Disney, or any other travel, you physically unpack your luggage. It all goes in the wash. The flight of fancy is over. The castles in the air come crashing down. While your luggage is emptied, your baggage is still there until it too is unpacked and cleaned out. The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is eternal.

An escape to a magical place that makes you feel happy is a good way to spend a week. But what about the other 51 weeks in the year? The question here becomes, how can you make where you are the “happiest place on earth?”

I believe it’s in our packing. Not cramming our shorts, swimsuits, flipflops, and sunscreenpacked suitcase in a 2 x 3 box on rollers. It’s packing (preparing) for the other Kingdom – the one not with a mouse and castle, but a Lamb and throne. Our packing list is fairly light. It includes a simple prayer asking Jesus to come into your life. There’s nothing magical about that. Jesus, through His death on the cross, paid the price for us to enter the Kingdom. He paid the high ticket price so we would not have to. We all got Fastpasses! If we ask for it. That’s all. No more, no less.

Anything else you choose to pack is superfluous. But what ever you have room for, cram it in: acts of kindness, words of encouragement, purposeful prayer, enough faith to move mountains, cheerful giving, exceptional grace, thoughts of purity, loving your enemies, practicing the Golden Rule, saying please and thank you, and whatever else you come to do to live the life God created you for. We’re all brothers and sisters on this “family vacation” we cal life.

Can you find any glimpses of God’s Kingdom in the Magical Kingdom? Absolutely! We were all made in God’s image. God wants us to be happy. If having a tea party with the princesses makes you happy, that’s fantastic! Just don’t make idols out of the those things. Realize it’s not the temporary getaway that has a lasting happiness. It’s the other Kingdom that will give us ever lasting joy.

*Photo of my family at Disney in 2012
Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Temporary custody

Erica pregnant with Callie Rose“Don’t ever forget that the child is not yours.”

Not mine? I knew that being pregnant would bring an onslaught of unwanted advice, but this advice seemed right out of left field. I was pregnant with my first child and relishing every detail of her growth and development. I marveled at the wonder of creation taking place inside of me. ME. So, what did this person mean? Not mine? Had this advice come from a perfect stranger I could have easily dismissed it as crazy talk, however I knew the person speaking to me and I respected him. I asked him to please explain.

He began to unpack the wonders of Psalms 139, the true meaning of how we are all God’s from the very beginning. Our children are simply on loan to us for a very short time. The very best thing we can do is lead them right back to Him.

Erica and CallieMy first child is now 10-years-old and I am preparing to send her to middle school. I’m in prayer over how to get her to the other side of these perilous school years unscathed. I desperately want a “to do” list or a “how to” list that will assure her safe passage. A recent study of Judges brought me face-to-face with a father who also wanted a plan for his child.

In Judges 13, the Angel of God revealed to Manoah’s wife that she will have a son. She immediately goes to her husband who wants to hear this news for himself. He prays, “please Lord, let the man of God you sent come again to us and teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born!” (vs 8)  The Angel comes back and Manoah asks, “When Your words come true, what will the boy’s responsibilities and mission be?” (vs 12)

I love the Angel’s response. It makes me giggle! I love when scripture makes me giggle.  Simply put the Angel said, “I’ve already told your wife!” The Angel had already told her exactly what to do, but his directions only took them as far as his birth. Manoah wanted more.

I can so relate to Manoah. He wanted a check list. He wanted a plan. He wanted to know exact details. The Angel’s command was a simple one. The boy was to be set apart and given to God from birth. (vs 5)

This wasn’t enough for Manoah. I get the sense Manoah wanted to take matters into his own hands. He wanted to groom his son with earthly hands rather than submit him to unseen Holy Hands. His son’s name was Samson and the next time we see Samson, he is acting like a spoiled brat. When I read his first words in the scriptures, I immediately thought of Veruca Salt screaming, “But I want it NOW!”

This is where I want to push pause on scripture. Where did Samson’s parents go so wrong? We don’t get the back story, but we do get the story of a man whom the Spirit of God had to wrestle with rather than simply lead.

God used him, but it was a bit like taming a wild lion, and that lion died blind and disgraced.

I read his story now as a parent and I quiver. I want so much more for my children!

“How do I get her through middle school?” I cry.

“I’ve already told you.” He replies. “She is mine. Simply give her back to Me. Talk about Me. Lead her to Me.”

You don’t have to know the details… you know the Author.

“Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates so that as long as the heavens are above earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your fathers.”
             – Deut. 11:18-21

They are loaned to us for such a short time. The most important thing we can ever do as parents is realize we are not the most important part of their lives… HE IS. It’s not what we can do with them, it’s what He can do with them.

“How often we want instruction for tomorrow instead of obedience for today.”
                                                                                                       -Whitney Capps

Erica Pearson, ericalovesbooks@gmail.com
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Is your personal line of credit extended through humility or recognition?

 
About a year ago, I was politely corrected through accountability when a friend reminded Trey Campbell logome of something I had lost focus of. When starting to think about re-branding this blog and marketing myself, I acquired domain names with my name in them and even designed a logo with my initials (see right). I was cautioned about using my name and developing the brand of “me.” My frsandsiend knows my heart. She knew my intention was to further God’s domain name… not mine. I was on the road, though not at any destination yet, of selfishly promoting myself rather than the content and value of my message. Credit for anything I do goes to the one who gave me the content in the first place. I am but a speck of sand on the beach of life. 

Have you ever thought about doing something for the sake of doing it, regardless if anyone knew about it or not? Whether you would get recognition or credit for it or not?

Anything we do, we certainly can’t take credit for God’s work and we shouldn’t seek out credit for our work. We have to give credit where credit is due. It starts with God and ends with God. God allows us to work the garden, but ultimately, it’s His garden. He’s the master gardener.

7It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering.  What’s important is God makes the seed grow. – 1 Corinthians 3:7

You may plant and water the seed, but where did that seed come from?  At Southwestern Advantage, we have a philosophy we believe in that says:

We give with little regard for what we may get back.

A similar quote, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are not concerned with who gets the credit,” has been attributed to everyone from Harry S. Truman to John Wooden, and even Ronald Reagan. In the end, it doesn’t matter who said it, as much as the meaning behind it – Humilityquotewhen you work hard to get results rather than doing it to be recognized, you get more accomplished. If getting credit is your motive for getting results, then your motives are not entirely pure. And that’s not how God wants us to be. He wants us to be pure in motive, pure in intention. If you don’t get the credit you think you deserve, well, that’s part of remaining humble and godly. When it comes to God’s realm, credit becomes a moot point. There are so many people in this world doing great things no one will ever know about. But God knows.

4Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. – Matthew 6:4

When we approach how we live and lead with a humble spirit, not worried about credit, the ultimate reward will fall into place when the time has come.

Through God, all things are possible. God gave us our earthly talents and spiritual gifts for a reason – to make things happen. Whatever happens is His doing, not ours. We are the tools He uses to plant His seed to grow His fruit. 

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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The “Uns” of God’s calling for you

call-from-godWhen God calls on you to live the purpose for which you were created, will you answer? If you are a faithful Christian, you want to answer yes… but do you have faith bigger than a mustard seed?  You see, I ask this because we are often afraid of the unknown. It’s always a safe bet God’s calling for your life will involve one or more of these “uns.” Let me speak truth for a moment, as we all experience this at one time or another.

Uncomfortable – If God’s own son and all of his disciples and the apostles of the early church lived a life of discomfort to share the Gospel and build His Kingdom, then yes, we will likely be asked to get out of our comfort zone. We are promised rewards in Heaven, but not on earth.

Untimely – It’s typical our expectation of time and God’s are not on the same frequency, or time-space continuum for that matter. His doesn’t ask us for our preferences or for a desired timeline for when he should speak to us through the Holy Spirit and intercede in our lives. What’s funny is, though we may not always realize it, His timing is not only perfect… it’s everything.

Unfamiliar – Sometimes following God’s path for us has us taking a detour in the life we have led to that point. He ushers in change like the ebb and flow of the tide. We can surf the wave or be overwhelmed by it. The good news is God is our personal lifeguard – just like when Jesus extended his hand when Paul was walking on water with him and lost his faith. We can take His hand and get back in the boat and reset our course.

Unfair – I think back to the heroes of the Bible and those who followed who suffered and even died for their faith. Was it fair they had a fate of being persecuted, stoned, or even crucified? Even today there are martyrs such as those in the Middle East who have been beheaded or burned alive by ISIS because of their beliefs. Our calling can put us in some situations that seem unfair. Life isn’t fair. And neither is following our God in a broken world.

Keep in mind it’s completely normal to have a few or more of the above “uns” when we find our true calling and purpose. In fact, there are many in the Bible who had a bad case of the “uns.” Paul was blinded temporarily to get his attention, Jacob wrestled with God and hurt his hip, Job lost everything he had including his health, and Mary was a teen mom.

To combat the “uns” in order to be obedient, we have to give in to another set of “uns.”

Uncompromising – To be uncompromising is to show an unwillingness to make concessions or give in to others, and more specifically, to give in to the world. To use some more “uns,” it’s to be unshakable, unrelenting, and unbending. Don’t compromise with the enemy by letting your guard down. Don’t compromise your values, morals, and principles by giving in to a sinful lifestyle. Be bold in how you live and how you love.

chainUnchained – To follow our calling, we have to have no chains holding us back. These can be chains of sin, chains of complacency, or chains of excuses. Each link represents something holding us back. The longer the chains, the harder to break free. For Paul it was literal chains when he was in prison. He didn’t let that stop him from preaching and encouraging through his writing and letters that became most of the New Testament. and we shouldn’t either.

Unintentional – It’s a good thing to be intentional, but we should be unintentional when it comes to allowing the Spirit to works through us. A wildfire grows by spreading as the wind would take it. It doesn’t use Google Maps to find the shortest route to torch its path. Be like that wildfire. Allow the Spirit to direct your steps. Be unintentional by allowing him to be intentional. Let the Spirit be the wind to your fire!

And there you have it! We tend to make God’s calling for us much more mysterious and complicated than it needs to be.

follow-god-signHis will for us is to follow Him. To follow Him, we need to be involved in His direction. To do this, we need to be fully committed. To be committed, we need to get a feel for what our role will be for what He is using us for in service to His Kingdom. Remember it’s a marathon, not a trip from the couch to the kitchen.

With love,
Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Sons of vipers! The hypocrisy of modern legalism!

Hypocrisy to me is how some people’s principles can conflict with both common sense andhypocrite doing the right thing. A principle is defined as “a fundamental truth or position that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior for a chain of reasoning.”*

To live by your principles is an admirable thing. To have principles that are senseless is, well… senseless. Think about this:

  • If your principles are YOUR fundamental truths, are they really truths?  

  • If your principles are a foundation for your belief system or your chain of reasoning, what if they are flawed? 

For the better part of a decade, I have served my community through being a volunteer Mediator and Arbitrator. This opportunity has allowed me to be witness to some powerful things everyone should be a party to in some way or another:

  1. It has allowed me to personally witness both the best in people and the worst they have to offer in a business setting.
  2. It has allowed me to see perspectives of all angles, including those that are perceived, skewed, and/or selfish.

I share this because in a recent Mediation, I experienced legalism in a really raw form – and, honestly, I was dumbfounded. Legalism is a “strict adherence.” It is following the letter of the law. It is being an extreme rule follower.

Because confidentiality is crucial to the process, I will not be revealing juicy details or naming names. What I can say is after opening statements were read aloud and agreed upon, I used a flip chart to illustrate the financial disagreement. It ended up being only $300. That’s it. No less, no more. I’ve negotiated and decided cases for tens of thousands of dollars. Really? We were here for $300. I almost wanted to just write a check myself so we could all leave. Both parties, the consumer and business, agreed it was not much money and were in the room because of “principle.” Upon hearing this, I knew we were up against a difference in principles. Each party believed their principles to be a fundamental truth to them. I also knew one or both would be absent common sense or having to do with doing the right thing, or else we wouldn’t be there.

As we got to the heart of the disagreement, I could not help but paint one of the parties in my head with a wide, thick brush stroke of legalism and hypocrisy. He would not give in the matter because he thought if he did, he would violate what he stood for. He was adamant it was a “principle thing,” saying if he gave in, he would have to close his business down (not true by any stretch of the imagination and is why I was dumbfounded and perplexed he would not budge his position). When I pointed out they had likely lost several thousand dollars by NOT meeting the other party’s desire for outcome, it made no difference. In fact, we were quickly at a stalemate, as neither side would break their stance in the principle that led them to be there. (Next step… Binding Arbitration.)

legalism
You don’t have to be a Pharisee to be legalistic. Look at all who hit the trifecta of interpreting rules, playing by their own rules, and imposing rules on others. They seek to forcibly make others conform to their principles, truths, or reality.

I found it unexpected how someone would hold on to their principle to the point where they would spite themselves and their business rather than entering a negotiation. They were truly cutting off their nose to spite their face. If there had been scissors in the room, I’m sure we would have had a mess.

Thoughts of the Pharisees ran through my mind. They were a principle-enforcing sect in the time of Jesus that got their religious undergarments all wadded up when it came to religious ceremonies and Old Testament law.

Jesus had strong words for the Pharisees who could not see sand from water when it came to how they interpreted the law of Moses. He called them “snakes” and “sons of vipers.” This was about as close as Jesus got to cussing. He was spitting-nails mad and backed it up with his pointed words. Though there are more run-ins between Jesus and the Pharissees (which I admittedly do find entertaining every time Jesus put them in their self-righteous place), a good chapter on this is Matthew 23.

“The teachers of the religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.” – Matthew 23:2-3

In further regard to the Pharisees, Jesus scathingly rebuked them (NLT):

  • They crush people with unbearable demands – and never lift a finger to ease the burden
  • Everything they do is for show
  • They are hypocrites; blind guides; blind fools; full of greed and self-indulgence
  • They shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces
  • They ignore more important aspects of the law: justice, mercy, and faith
  • Outwardly: they look like righteous people, Inwardly: their hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness

Wow! Jesus pulled no punches. He called it like it was. While the particular party who was being legalistic in the Mediation proceeding was not condemning the other party to hell or radically impressing his views, he was impaired in his narrow claim of validity with his statement of principle. In studying how Jesus both felt about and dealt with the Pharisees, I respected the other party for peacefully standing his ground. In fact, it’s dangerous ground to have a foundation of poor reasoning and hypocrisy. Think about your life and how you go about conducting yourself. Is this you? Maybe sometimes? Consider some self-reflection.

Being legalistic is most often a blot on your character, an assassination of your purpose, and a blinding of justice. We are all better than that. Jesus thinks so. And he will forgive us for it.

*Google definition of principle

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Living your faith: Don’t forget leg day

Have you ever engaged in people watching at the gym? (Or any where else? You know you have…). I know this is a random question, but stay with me here… there’s a point.

leg-day
Don’t skip leg day

One thing I can’t help but notice are the regulars who focus only on their upper body. The only reason this captures my ever-wandering mind is because of the thin, matchstick-like legs supporting a top mass of beefy muscle. It’s literally a living, walking, bench-pressing, non-squatting cartoon.

The reason for this disproportion in bulk is because the gym-rat is not multifaceted. They focus on the exercises they are comfortable with and where they have proven results. They are not focused on the whole, but rather what they see in the mirror that looks good. The problem? Maybe they are looking through a waist-up mirror.

This is what happens when we are not versatile in our spirituality. When tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus rebuked the master of temptation when he was doing his best to coax him to make stones become loaves of bread in all his hunger. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said:

“People do not live by bread alone,
but every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Those words! “People do not live by bread alone…”. To be balanced in our spiritual lives, we must live in the Word and through the Spirit. To build our faith, there must be a multifaceted approach. Don’t forget to go all in with God. It’s easy to get distracted with the smoke and mirrors the devil distracts us with. His mirror is like those carnival mirrors that distort what we are looking at. His smoke is a sulfur-reeking, eye-burning cover for what’s right, what’s true, and what’s godly.

Be strong. Be balanced. Live your faith by action, not by intention. Don’t be like the lunkhead that skips leg day. To be well-rounded in your faith is to be well-grounded in your faith.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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3 affirmations for when we are not who we know we should be

Often, things are not as they seem. Take a quick glimpse at the photo.

boa-in-tree

Now look at it closer. Do you see it?

While on a trip for a service project in Mexico, I ended up in the sleepy fishing town of Yelapa with some of the college students with Southwestern Advantage. I got separated, and as I walked down a path on the mountainside, I found something I wasn’t looking for! A boa constrictor! While it initially looked like a part of the tree, it was no branch. That “branch” was moving… and not with the wind! It was somewhat camouflaged in the confines of the leaves and branches. Again, not always as it seems.

We are like that too.
     We say one thing and do another
     We have secrets
     We have facades and put up smokescreens
     We live with demons from our past and develop them in our present
     We let excuses justify our actions and behavior
     Our words sting like a thousand bees
Our sins catch up with us

We are often not as we seem. That large snake was in the tree above my head. Instead of panic, I took a picture and watched it for a few minutes. I was in its home, not the other way around (note: if it was in my home, I would burn the place down and move… far away). Here are three affirmations you can use to build your positive self-talk when you come to the realization you are being someone you are not or someone you don’t want to be.

Affirmation #1: I was created to be better than this.
Yes you were! We all were. God gave us life. That life has a purpose. We all have a calling. We all have God-given talents and gifts. When we live with secrets, make excuses, or let our sin control our lives, we are walking away from our purpose and that calling.

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.

– Ephesians 2:10

Affirmation #2: The reason for me being like this is because _________________ .
This affirmation is the part where you admit to yourself (and God) what the issue or problem is. Be honest with yourself and fill in the blank with whatever is troubling you. You may even want to admit this to someone else for accountability purposes. It’s easier to forgive yourself when others can forgive you as well. Also know, God always forgives, no matter how bad you think what you did was, his unending grace will be there.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up
in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.
– 1 Peter 5:6-7

Affirmation #3: I will change my ways.
An affirmation is really only words of support you tell yourself. It means nothing if not acted upon. Make sure you are not blowing smoke up your own smokestack. If you say it, do it. If it bothers you, change the behavior. This is easier said than done… but, you have to make an attempt in or to make something happen. If you’re afraid to take the shot, there’s no chance of winning, is there?

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
-2 Corinthians 4:17

The snake photo example I used above has as a dual meaning. Just as the serpent was deceitful in the Garden of Eden, we deceive ourselves when we are not the person we really are or were made to be. It’s when sin takes over our lives we need to realize we were made to be better than that, figure out what the root cause of our problem was so as to steer clear in the future, and how we will change from here on out to be a better person – for ourselves and others.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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No longer a slave to my ball of glass

It’s with me.  Every day it is with me. It is my constant companion. Most days I can navigate through life just fine, without it getting in the way. Other days, I am crushed under the weight of it.

God gave me a clear image of what I look like carrying it around.
coffee

Like most reflective moments in my life, it started with a cup of coffee:

In the cool breeze of the morning I held my coffee cup, warm in my hands, and contemplated my day. The weight of the cup in my hand, like the weight of the world I too often carry on my shoulders.  That’s when the Lord revealed to me the fragile ball of glass I carry through life. There are days the ball of glass is but a marble that I can place in my pocket, and for a brief moment, almost forget it is there.  Yet, other days it feels more like a giant crystal globe, that if dropped would shatter into a million pieces.  It is on these days that I wonder if my friends, my husband, my children, my coworkers can see my cautious steps.glass-globe

This ball of glass has a name: FEAR.

My fear waxes and wanes like the moon, and like the moon, it is always there – revealing the things I try desperately to hide. After all, I am a person of faith and there is no room for fear in faith! Right?

Wrong.

I read about the disciples and I see evidence of marbles of fear rolling around in crashing waves and baskets of loaves and fish.

I know people love to quote how often scripture says not to fear, but for those of us who carry it around every day, this misplaced truth becomes crippling. Don’t misunderstand me. It is truth. Just misplaced. When you say “do not fear” to someone like me, I am looking for the off button! I walk away not feeling up to par because I can’t just kick fear to the curb!

I am learning how to push through it. Last year I took my first road trip without my family. A friend and I packed up and traveled to the SheSpeaks conference in North Carolina. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but I was overcoming my greatest fear: the car. I lost my mother in a car wreck when I was 14, and there is never a moment I am not aware of the awesome responsible of driving.

Once at SheSpeaks, I had to overcome my second greatest fear: the safety of my children. I fear leaving my children motherless. During worship on the first night we sang “No Longer Slaves.”  I timidly sang “I’m no longer a slave to fear” and a conversation with God began to take place.

“Who am I kidding Lord? I’m terrified!”

You are not a slave.

“I’m always afraid Lord! What is wrong with me?”

You are not a slave.

“Lord…How do I let go of this?”

You… are… not… a… SLAVE. Sweet child, you are not a slave to it. Yes, it is with you always, keeping you near to me, but you are not a SLAVE to it! It does NOT own you because I OWN you!

I began to weep. He was not concerned with the fact I was afraid. He was concerned with what I was going to do with it! I was not a slave to fear! If I was, I would have stayed home and never got in the car! This truth turned my timid song into a bold song.

In the new book Fear Fighting (awakening courage to OVERCOME your fears), Kelly Balariefear-fighting-by-kelly-balarie explains this shift in mindset as Chasing BRAVE!

“It is not so much that I don’t have to be struggling as it is just that I have to get after Jesus and bring Him INTO my struggle with me. Doing this-it is called chasing brave.”

– Kellly Balarie

That’s what I was doing at SheSpeaks – CHASING BRAVE.  That’s what I want to do every day!

Chase Brave!

One of my favorite features in Kelly Balarie’s book is found at the end of every chapter. There is a small section titled “Something to chew on.”  Kelly doesn’t just say to me as her reader “Don’t Fear!” She gives me practical and empowering guidance on how to become free from the bondage of fear.

I don’t expect to be fearless, but I do expect to fear less and less everyday by inviting Jesus into my struggle.

I can stare fear down and know I am NOT a slave to it! I am chasing brave and that small marble of glass in my pocket will one day be just a speck of sand. 

For more information on Fear Fighting, go to www.fearfightingbook.com or www.purposefulfaith.com.

Erica Pearson, ericalovesbooks@gmail.com
www.fb.com/leadmeforward1