Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

Baseball, Priorities, and Living Life

It’s baseball season. Yay! I love watching our younger son play baseball. He loves playing, which makes me love it more than I naturally would. I don’t think I would have ever been interested in watching baseball had our boys not wanted to play, but over the years, as I’ve learned more about it, I have come to enjoy watching it very much. This year, our younger son Shane, is on two baseball teams, a recreational team and a travel team, which means over the course of about 3 months, we have baseball 5 to 7 days a week. It’s a big commitment.

Shane has grown about 5 inches in the last year and he’s been lifting weights. His body has changed a lot since the last baseball season. And this season he has been having trouble with hitting pop-up balls. I used to think that if they hit anything at all, it equaled success, but at this age a pop-up ball is easy to catch and gets the batter out. He started getting frustrated, because he felt like he was positioning himself properly to hit. He was positioning himself how he had before, but this way was no longer working for him. He did several things to work on this, and at last night’s game he hit, and it wasn’t a pop-up. He got on base (he is an excellent base runner!) and I was so proud of him.

What did he do? He adjusted. He adjusted how he was positioned. He had to make a change. He made these adjustments by using self-discipline.

Discipline: to train.

God uses discipline in our lives as a means of love.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:5-6

We are to discipline our children.

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24

We are to discipline ourselves.

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27

Discipline, even self-discipline (self-control), is and act of love. We love our children, so we train them in the proper way to live (Proverbs 22:6). We love ourselves, so we make sure to have self-control (James 2:8). We show our love to God by keeping his commandments (John 14:15).

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however,
it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

I like to learn, a lot, because it’s a method of improvement. I like seeing improvement in myself and in others, because it shows progress, and to me progress means moving forward. Running the race, keeping the faith, is moving forward (2 Timothy 4:7). In order to have this improvement I have to discipline myself to achieve the things that I am called to do. It isn’t enough for me to desire these things, but I have to put action to my desires, and it has to be purposeful action. This means I have to do things I don’t necessarily want to do, and not do some things I would like to do, so that, eventually, I will see the results of my work.

We have entered a busy season with my children, graduation and sports, with family coming, with work transitions, and all these things while keeping up with personal commitments. My personal commitments include a lot of writing, a new project I’m just starting, keeping up with this blog and the Facebook page, and, of course, improving in all these areas. I have several books I’m reading or want to read, and there are webinars and documentaries that I want to watch and learn from. I also have to keep in mind my physical limitations like tiring easily, having a specific diet which requires I cook almost everything I eat, and making sure I get proper rest too. Most important, I have to make sure to make Bible reading, prayer, and devotional time a priority or I am done.

To say the least, I have been frazzled and feel pulled in 100 different directions. I can not do everything, and at this busy time I can not even do a lot of things. I have to do the most important things which means, I need to adjust. I need to make adjustments by disciplining myself and focusing on those important things, and letting go (for now) of all the other things. I do this, so I can accomplish the goals that God has set before me.

Watching my son make the adjustments he needed to, to achieve the goals he wanted, has inspired me. I was already feeling like I needed to focus, but this confirmed what I knew; I need to adjust for the time that I am in now. Not the time I was in, or the time I will be in, but for right now. This means not only accomplishing goals, but living life too. So here is a list I came up with to help me (and maybe you) to do this:

  1. Make it a matter of prayer. Pray for clear direction and for strength to do whatever God is calling you to do.
  2. Prioritize. What needs your attention the most right now? Kids, work, church, personal commitments. It will look different for each of us in each season of our lives.
  3. Sacrifice. You will have to give up some things you might enjoy doing, to make room for things you need to do. Not forever, but for right now. This can include watching t.v., limiting social media, not taking on new projects, saying no to extra activities or new commitments.
  4. Commit. Commit to regular time with the Lord through prayer and Bible study. Commit to sticking with your priorities and goals, even when it’s hard, even when you would rather do something else.
  5. Create a schedule. I don’t like living under a tight schedule and I need a lot of time for margin, but there are things I can do in my schedule to be more organized and accomplish more. Blocking out time for specific things like writing, cleaning, budgeting, and making them flexible, so I can switch them up, but still feel like I have some type of schedule, is one way I can do this. Yours will look different from mine.
  6. Learn and be teachable. This is hard sometimes, to be able to take constructive criticism and make the changes necessary, when something is not working. Shane was a great example of that this week (being teachable), and I know it wasn’t easy for him, but he did it anyway. It isn’t easy for me either. How about you?
  7. Keep adjusting. Life changes daily. We have to adjust to what we currently have. This might mean frequent changes or not, but it is necessary for moving forward.

In order to live the life God has called us to, we have to use self-discipline. We have to make the choices and choose the actions that may not feel good in the moment, but that will eventually reap a harvest and bring benefit. It is delayed gratification, and is difficult in a culture where instant gratification and living lives of licentiousness is the norm. Only through Christ can we go against the norm to live lives of purpose, and for him.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

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