Sunday, December 6, 2015

Don't throw yourself out at first...

* You know, I love watching sports of every kind. Not on tv, mind you. I like to be there live and in person. Maybe it's my inner athlete that never learned to play sports, maybe I just love watching people; but for whatever reason, I love watching sports - especially when kids are involved. They still believe they can do anything....and perhaps they can. They believe that, even if they aren't all that good right now, they are just one throw, run, hit, or jump from greatness. 

One of my most favorite memories is of a T-ball game I attended years ago. In that game, I watched a little girl do something that has stuck with me since. This tiny powerhouse came up to the plate to bat with all the expertise of a mouse trying to tackle a lion. Her helmet looked a bit too big, the bat looked like a redwood compared to her, and I'm pretty sure they had to stop her and tie her shoes for her before she started to swing. 

The first swing came - she missed. 
Then a second - missed again. 
Once more - it was a tip that sent the ball rolling slowly toward the pitcher. 

In true T-ball fashion, the entire outfield came running in to try and get that ball, but they simply weren't fast enough...not for that little girl. She ran forward and grabbed that ball and then promptly threw herself out at first. She was so proud! She had done what they could not! It took quite a bit of explaining, and I think I remember them giving her another chance, but I will never forget that moment. She actually threw herself out! No opposing team could do what she had done herself. 

Therein, of course, lies today's random thought. I'm pretty sure I've been throwing myself out at first...and so have a lot of others around me. We have participated in helping the enemy of our soul in a way that it could not do in itself. It's as if the spirit of discouragement has attached its thorny claws to us and in raspy whispers only we can hear, it tells us over and over again we are not enough. We are not good enough, not smart enough, not cultured enough, not skinny enough, not whatever enough. It reminds us over and over of just how badly we blew it, AGAIN. It plays the stupid words we said over and over again inside our head like a broken record. It tries to convince us that when bad things happen, it is ALWAYS our fault. That we are being punished for being so inadequate once again.

I wonder if hermits separate themselves from the world not because of fear of the world, but because they are afraid they will fail and finally be discovered as inadequate...simply not enough. I know I have had times when I felt like I should just crawl into a hole so that I would do as little damage as possible. I say the wrong thing, act too quickly, live too loud, generally stick my foot in my mouth and then for good measure, stick the other foot in as well. I find myself desperately trying to learn what I imagine others must have learned years ago as teenagers, yet I am still trying desperately to discover what the "rules" are. Instead of getting better with age, it seems I'm getting worse! Buying wrong gifts, over doing, not doing enough, doing it too loudly, not speaking up when I should, forgetting the important things, being overwhelmed by the trivial....

It's not everyday, mind you. Some days I feel pretty confident in myself - followed closely by days when I realize just how inadequate I am. Like most, I've had plenty of times in my life when the spirit of discouragement and despair has tried to convince me to "throw myself out at first." That's the enemy's favorite tactic - to remind us just how human and "not enough" we truly are. 

Here's the shocker - the enemy is right....I am not enough. 
I am in desperate need of a Savior.

I need One who knows me and yet loves me all the same. I long for One who doesn't condemn, and instead speaks life into the cavernous hole in my heart and fills it. I want to be treasured as special...truly special. I want to feel His presence lifting me and reminding me that I am loved. I want One who doesn't remember my mistakes, but instead reminds me of the few times I actually got it right - because I waited on Him. 

I want Someone who will gently reach out and stop me from throwing myself out at first before I've really even begun to play the game. 

Perhaps you are like me. You wake up to that feeling of dread in facing today's game - sure you'll mess it up somehow. I pray that you will recognize the enemy's lies for just what they are - an attempt to get you to throw yourself out at first before you even get started. 

God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a strong mind. He is right there with you, ready to guide your hands, steady your bat, and hit that ball right out of the park....just like your little kid dreams always imagined. 

This song by Mercy Me does a really good job of speaking life.

Days will come when you don't have the strength,
When all you hear is "you're not worth anything"
Wondering if you ever could be loved,
And if they truly saw your heart, they'd see too much 

You're beautiful, You're beautiful,
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful,You're beautiful,
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His,
You're beautiful 

I'm praying that you have the heart to fight,
'Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long,
And they are nothing in the shadow of the cross 

You're beautiful,You're beautiful,
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful,You're beautiful,
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His,
You're beautiful 

Before you ever took a breath, long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed, there was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above, you're the one Emmanuel loves
Enough to die 

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
In His eyes
You're beautiful
You were meant for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful 

You are treasured you are sacred you are His
You're beautiful,You're beautiful
You were meant for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful,You're beautiful
You are treasured you are sacred you are His.

Today, as you come up to bat, give it all you've got. Don't be afraid that you won't be enough. Don't throw yourself out at first. Instead, know that you are loved....and give it all you've got - for Him who loves you no matter how you feel.

Beautiful by Mercy Me

*Original post from 2010

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