“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” — 1 Timothy 4:15
Something I’ve observed often in the world of sports, accentuated even further by media highlights, is humanity’s interest in the big moment. We’re fascinated with the out-of-this-world, to-10 worthy snapshots that define a game, match or sport. And teams and organizations love to play off these moments, using the faces as a showcase for the talent and history of sports.
But what about the so-called second-stringers? What about the guy who isn’t known for hitting the 400-plus-foot homer to secure the World Series, or the clutch 3-pointer to win the championship, or the great catch for a Super Bowl title?
All across sports, there are these unsung heroes whose play is equally as important and noteworthy, yet end up playing second fiddle to the headliners who get the spotlight. It’s the player who made the key block or assist that led to a crucial score, or the one who consistently gets points in the paint if you just feed them the ball. It’s the player who is dependable fielding the ball cleanly and getting an out, or who always comes off the bench and delivers a clutch base hit. They’re the ones who still find a way to get a big score from expression and artistry in a sport dominated by technical ability, who maybe focused on finesse over power, and just took what the game gave them and maximized their ability.
These people with perhaps a less dazzling game realize their limitations might cost them the starting position or the fanfare of the spotlight, and it might mean they see less playing time on the court or field, or even win less in a more individual-based sport. But they know and embrace the limits of their abilities, and as a result, gain the respect of judges, competitors and crowds for understanding how to contribute and share their talent. They have figured out how to be the best version of themselves and not sacrifice their gifts while still growing the sport in their own unique way, mastering aspects others cannot even begin to achieve.
The world in which we live is sort of the same in a way. There are benchmarks of success that are deemed “best” to advance in certain forms of employment or achievement, causing most of us pressure and stress while we feel the need to “keep up” and not fall behind the ever-increasing drive of our society. In sports or in life, the unspoken message is the same: Get with the trend, or get left behind.
But what if we focused more on our unique gifts and figured out how to develop those to the fullest — even if it meant we didn’t “arrive” in quite the way as others? Truth is, God wants to use you and has placed special things inside of you that only you can truly bring forth. He doesn’t want you to try to be like everybody else — He just wants you to be the best you possible.
At the end of the day, you will succeed where it counts as long as you’ve been diligent to work with what you were given and refuse to bury your talent.
— Katherine Singer
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