When his pro football career ended about a decade ago, leaving him with “nothing to live for,” Trent Shelton lacked a purpose and plan. “Football was my everything,” says the former wide receiver, who played for Seattle, Indianapolis, and Washington.
But in 2011, some turning points led Shelton to find peace and a passion for helping others. Now, through his books, speeches, posts, and nonprofit organization RehabTime, the 37-year-old Christian encourages people to pursue their purpose and trust that God will use setbacks “for your good.”
On July 21, Shelton appeared on CBN’s “The Prayer Link” to talk about his experiences and how God is using them to help others.
Trent Shelton: ‘It’s Only a Mistake If You Don’t Learn From It’
Shelton, 37, grew up in Texas as the son of a pastor. He dreamed of becoming an NFL player but went undrafted after playing college ball at Baylor. Injuries cut short Shelton’s pro career in 2011. Around that same time, he fathered a child out of wedlock, and his college roommate and friend committed suicide. Those experiences led the former athlete to promise to “live out the rest of my life in my purpose.”
After reluctantly accepting an invitation to speak to thousands of kids during a church service, Shelton says he “felt peace” and decided to become a “character coach.” In a 2019 issue of Guideposts magazine, Shelton writes about that first speech: “I got a huge ovation, bigger than I ever got on the football field. That’s when it hit me: You don’t have to be perfect to help people. All you have to be is real. …Without even planning it, I had a whole new calling.”
In his first book, “Straight Up,” Shelton reminds readers that past hurts, excuses, and mistakes are valuable experiences that qualify you to then help others. “It’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it,” he says. “Failure is feedback…so use it for your power.”
Circumstances you think were intended to “break you” are “really meant to build you,” Shelton adds. He says God helped him realize that “everything I’ve been through was an experience not just for myself but also to help other people get through their situations in life.”
Maintain a ‘Championship Mindset,’ Says Trent Shelton
In his second book, “The Greatest You,” Shelton encourages people to pursue “what God has called you to do.” To do that, he says, you need a “championship mindset,” which includes key traits such as faith and consistency.
“Faith is in your feet,” Shelton tells CBN. “You’ve gotta walk it out! You’ve gotta trust that God is guiding you somewhere even if you don’t understand the path that he has you on. You’ve gotta trust in his plan and his promises.” Shelton also urges people to turn weaknesses into strengths, “rehabbing” setbacks of any kind into comebacks.