Summer 2024

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional - Tuesday, February 5, 2019

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7

Every year, as spring training draws closer, I find myself feeling anxious, on edge, bordering irritable. I’ve been a pitching coach in professional baseball for several years, reporting to spring training in February or March depending on my role. Since I know it’s going to happen nearly the same time every year, why would I have these feelings? I would ask several questions in my own head: Why am I so anxious? Why does my level of patience seem so short with everyone?

I noticed that my “normal” personality — very upbeat, positive and full of energy — disappears suddenly just a few weeks before leaving. I’m always sad when this happens, causing more frustration not only for me, but for my family.

I began to ask some of my closest friends, who were also getting ready to leave for spring training, if they experienced these feelings. I discovered that I wasn’t alone. Things like going into an unfamiliar environment, taking on a new job or new job responsibilities, leaving the known for the unknown, it’s never easy nor should it come without some questions in our minds.

Most of us are used to being in complete control of our small environment — at least we think we are! We plan our next move in our careers, or in our conversations to the extent we anticipate what others will say or do. We go as far as having an alternate course of action — “they say this, then I’ll say that.” 

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I’m not advocating for not having a plan or being prepared. However, when we go so far down the road of trying to predict what will happen, we end up spending potentially hours with things that never happen, wasting mind and heart time. 

The verses of Philippians 4:6-7 make really clear what we should do. First, bring our thoughts, wishes and requests to God through praying about all of them. Second, peace can be found in the fact that no matter what happens, God is going to watch out for us. He’ll guard us by protecting not only our hearts, but also our minds. We were created with those two key components — an ability to have our mind and heart be part of the total equation when it comes to our decisions. God wants to hear the desires of our hearts, as it reads in Psalm 37:4.

So next time you feel that uneasy or anxious feeling come over you regarding a decision you’re facing, pray. Don’t plan. 

Steve Merriman, Hartford Yard Goats pitching coach
(Double-A Eastern League Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies)

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