This weekend I felt like a hypocrite.
But seriously—Here I am, hitting the best I have in my college career. With the attitude of “never settling,” I approach each at-bat as if it were the most important of the season. On paper, it would see as though I had a flawless weekend.
Yet in my head, I know better. Coming off last weekend where I made my first two errors of the year on the same night, my approach in left field was completely opposite to my approach at the plate, and I struggled to bring the same confidence on defense. I played timid and was even shaking as I caught a high foul ball on Saturday’s game. Everyone on the field and in the stands had more confidence in me then I had in myself, and every inning was both a mental and spiritual battle.
Do you ever feel like this in life? While outwardly, you seem to have it all together—You show up to church on Sunday, Bible Study every now and then, wear a cross necklace, and have a bible verse as your favorite quote on Facebook—yet inwardly, you know better. You know the struggles you have each day, the temptations you face, the negative, gossipy things you say, or what you do when no one is watching.
We all have these daily battles that we face, but the question comes down to this: are we presenting our struggles to God and letting Him transform us?
(Romans 12:1-2 says to offer our self to God and to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and this is actually a form of worship to Him.)
How easy is it to forget to pray for these areas of our lives? I easily recognize struggles I have sometimes, perhaps it’s experiencing that superior attitude or lack of trust in the Lord, but then I forget to actually present it to Him.
Fortunately, Saturday before the game was not one of those cases. I sat down with my devotional and my Bible in my locker room before getting dressed to do my proper mental training.
The Lord brought me to the Old Testament story of David and Goliath, the same one I have known since Sunday school, yet it spoke to me in a new and beautiful way. (If you have never read the story, see 1 Samuel 17)
David, just a teenager really, goes to King Saul to ask to fight representing Israel in the name of the Lord against Goliath, a giant and Philistine. He convinces King Saul to let him fight by saying the following:
“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37)
David knew that he could trust the Lord while facing this giant because he had seen the Lord deliver him through similar battles with lions and bears. Because of past experiences of trusting the Lord, he knew that he could trust God in the future.
I knew that even if Saturday wasn’t that day, the Lord was going to bring me through this mental battle. How did I know this? I have seen Him bring me through situations over, and over again. And each time that I have presented my struggles to God and seen Him provide, my faith in Him only increases, and it becomes easier to present the next time.
With all this being said, on Saturday, left field was my Goliath. Mental strength was my giant. But I knew that I was not facing this battle alone. Just as the Lord went with David as he conquered Goliath, I knew that God was right there in left field with me. With the constant renewal of my mind, inning after inning, I slowly let the Lord transform me and give me confidence in the ability that He had given me.
Sunday, when I ran out to my position to start the game, it was as if the errors from last week had been completely erased. I was back to my aggressive, confident self that chases down fly balls in the gap and talks loudly between pitches.
Where does my mental toughness come from? It is nothing of my own. I deserve none of the glory for my performance, because I would not be the player I am without Him. And I deserve no glory for my “holy” or “righteous” life. I can do nothing godly by my own initiative.
Yet daily, my heart echoes the words of Paul in Romans 7:24-25.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord.”