It’s safe to say that this season has not gone for me as I had planned it would. It’s tough being in rehab because I have so much extra time on my hands and all I can think about is the fact that I’m hurt, I can’t play and I want my spot back on the field. While that’s all true, I cannot let that get me down; I need to continue to work hard. I know God will give me opportunities to do my best on the field.
When things aren’t going the way I hoped, I try to focus on other people, whether that be a friend, family member or even a homeless person. Being there for others gets your mind off of yourself. All the anxieties of your own life are put on the backburner when you choose to take on someone else’s burden. Suddenly they are more important than yourself.
I talk on the phone a lot with my best friend from back home. We share our struggles, our thoughts and our worries. I’m so thankful for him and the joy he brings to all situations, even when not everything is going his way. We all have stuff we go through that’s hard but when we can talk it out and gain an outside perspective, suddenly our big problems don’t seem so unmanageable.
My teammates have been great in that way too, reaching out to me intermittently throughout my time here in Florida. Likewise, I watch their games and try to be there for them. We’re a family, we’re there for each other. I’m anxious to get back and help them win.
I have always seemed to be one of the youngest players on whatever team I’m on, so I’m able to look up to and learn from my teammates in a lot of ways. Even now I’m the second youngest on the Tiger’s roster. I see the experience and knowledge my teammates have and I want to learn from it. But I also think that even though I’m young, I can influence others in simple ways — in the way I handle hardships, the way I push myself. Others take notice when you don’t act immaturely but instead rely on God, no matter what your position in life is.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” — 1 Timothy 4:12
Hardships and challenges are occurrences that force you to grow stronger as a person and closer to God. Being uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing, being complacent is. If you are sitting at home thinking about how happy you are — that everything’s perfect — you have no reason to move forward. It’s easy to fall into a comfort zone and not want to get out. But when you’re not moving forward, you’re going to let evil catch up to you.
Always be moving forward. There’s purpose in today’s challenge, don’t miss it.
— Daniel Norris, Detroit Tigers pitcher
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.