“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” — Matthew 6:33
After I officially hung up the cleats, one of my post-career activities was giving softball lessons. I figured it was a way to make extra money and also stay up-to-date with the game. Not to mention, it’s an incredible way to give back to the next generation of ballers.
The very first softball lesson I gave came with its fair share of bumps and bruises. I learned my patience wasn’t as strong as I had imagined, and being an instructor was a lot harder than picking up my own bat and playing. For example, one of the biggest hurdles I’ve faced has been teaching the game of throw and catch.
This lesson started in the early evening of an August summer day. If you know anything about the heat in Georgia, you know before sundown the field is still blistering hot. Both my athlete and I were dripping sweat by the time we went to grab our mitts. I picked up a glove and said, “Let’s have a catch.” As we’re throwing the ball back and forth, I kept instructing, “Keep your eye on the ball and watch it all the way into your glove.” The issue was, every time I threw the ball, the girl would back away in fear, stick out her glove, and with eyes closed attempt to make the catch. She later told me she hoped the ball would just miraculously land in her glove. So there was my hardest challenge of coaching: “How do you teach someone not to be afraid?”
As I tossed and turned over this dilemma, I realized I wasn’t just teaching someone how to not be fearful, but I was learning it myself. How often in life are we too timid and distracted by the fear in this world that we neglect to open our eyes to see what God has for us?
I knew that if my athlete would open her eyes to catch the ball, her chances of making the play would go up astronomically. I can imagine, God knows that if we shift our focus from the fear and anxiety caused by the world and latch eyes on Him, we too would make the play.
Why is it so hard to open our eyes to the abundant life God has for us? It could be the screen that’s in front of our face 24/7. Maybe it’s work, selfish ambition, a global pandemic, schedules, or health obstacles that stand in the way of our view of God. Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). When we shift our focus from the world to Jesus, we elevate and transform the game.
The Lord says in Matthew 7, “Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” We all experience a season of sleepwalking, going through the motions of our life with closed eyes. These seasons are normally when we get hit the most and experience bruises the size of softballs on our souls. But when God removes the veil from our face and reveals His glory, we have the choice to lock eyes on our Creator and follow Him. This alignment and posture is what sets us on purpose, a mission that fear has no chance of defeating.
How many times does God call us to something, yet we don’t open our eyes to make the play? Seek first the Kingdom of God and get ready for His plan to unravel before your eyes.
— Karlie Smith
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