Baseball is back and I’m loving it. The ballpark (ANY ballpark) is one of the very few places in the world where my soul just breathes. I love everything about it. The smell of freshly cut grass and hot dogs. The sound of the bat hitting the ball… the ball hitting the glove. The laughter. The real-life talk. I’m always straining to hear bits and pieces of conversations. You know… the ones that are held outside of our protected Christian bubble.
Last Saturday as I was walking through the little league complex where Jeffrey plays, I overheard 2 coaches chattering back and forth as they saw each other for the first time this season. They were laughing a bit as a 12-year-old boy threw a rainbow to his catcher. One of the coaches very sweetly said, “it wasn’t long ago that Maddux was right there.”
OH My mind went a million different directions.
First, let me tell you about the reference. Greg Maddux is my all-time favorite baseball player. In fact, my dream trip to Cooperstown will likely happen in the summer of 2014, the expected time for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
A standout pitcher, Maddux was the one you wanted to be the starter in the big game. In the early 90s, as a player for the Braves, he was an integral part of one of the best pitching rotations ever to exist in the game of baseball.
But he had to start somewhere. His dad probably signed him up on a little league team at an early age. And someone probably laughed at the many rainbows he threw while he was developing. As he got a little bigger, people probably said he wasn’t built well enough to play pro ball. Some may have said he was too skinny… or that his fastball was “a dime a dozen.” No matter what all was said, I’m sure Maddux had his fair share of critics, just as anyone has who attempts to do something great.
But along with the critics, there were obviously some (even if it was a small group at first) who believed in his potential. Those people encircled him and developed him, pushed him to work to bring that potential to full bloom.
As we see now, Maddux proved critics wrong. Instead of listening to those who thought he didn’t have what it took, he chose to listen to the ones who believed in him. What a difference a mindset can make. He became one of the best to ever throw the little white ball 60 feet.
So my question for you today is… who are you listening to? Take a minute and write down the names of people in your life who encourage your potential (make sure to include God, as He always makes that list). Then write down the names of the ones who always seem to knock you down and make you feel like you’re not good enough… not pretty enough… not cool enough… not strong enough… not spiritual enough.
Now, which group are you listening to?
I’m the first to admit that I listen to my critics more than I listen to my Christ… or my husband… or the rest of my inner circle. The people who will love me even if the rest of the world turns against me. But why do I listen to those people more? I believe they actually feed my “comfort zone”… my insecurity.
We’ve got to become secure in Christ. Secure in His plan… and secure in the fact that we are all individually a part of that plan. We must start listening to the ones (especially including THE One) who are trying to breathe life and belief into us. The other voices have to go.
There might just be a sign on some little league field in Nevada that reads “Maddux was here.” Proof that one man chose to block out the negative voices.
How cool it would be to have a sign posted about me one day that reads “Paula, a Proverbs 31 woman, was here.” I know that’s who God wants me to be… now I have to believe that’s who He knows I CAN be.
So will there be a sign posted about you one day? What will it say?