Eyes on the Ball, Hands on the Bat

Have you ever had one of those moments where you say something or hear something that kinda stops you in your tracks for a minute?  Jolts your reality and gets your attention?

That’s exactly what happened to me at my son’s baseball game this past Saturday.  His new found love of baseball recently sparked my old love of softball.  These days we are like two peas in a pod.  We throw the ball, review the games, and talk baseball strategy all the live long day.  I’ll admit, I’m a maniac at his games…

“Let’s Go Pirates”

“Baseball Ready”

“Swing hard in case you hit it”

“Run, Run, Run”

“Slide”

Yep, I’m that girl.

His two main struggles this season have been with batting:  keeping his eye on the ball and not slinging the bat.  So before games, we review:  “eyes on the ball, hands on the bat”.  I’ve said that phrase at least a hundred times over the past several weeks.  But on Saturday, as I walked by the dugout, we made eye contact and when I said, “eyes on the ball, hands on the bat” something with in me said, “that’s it”.

You see, I have been planning, thinking, and praying about what I should write about for Mother’s Day.  I’ve been racking my brain for my most hilarious mothering moments full of simple joys.  Or, a heart felt story that will surely fill your eyes with tears and your soul with gratitude for your own mother.  But then, right there at the baseball field, as I’m lurking behind the dugout like no parent should, I feel a little “that’s it”.  Really?

At first, I had no idea how my baseball mom catch phrase could be of any use to anyone. But, as I have pondered these words in my head and my heart all week, I began to realize that maybe that’s exactly what we Mother’s need.  Maybe it’s exactly what we all need.

We need our eyes on the ball and our hands on the bat.

After all, what am I really saying to my son in that moment when we lock eyes just before he steps up to the plate?

I’m reminding him to pay attention.  Don’t be distracted by the catcher who can hardly walk in his oversized gear.  Don’t let that first baseman, who’s clearly too tall to be seven, intimidate you.  Forget about the last time you were up to bat – if you hit the ball or struck out.  Dismiss the weather, the lights, your little pounding heart, the butterflies in your stomach, and your Mother’s loud voice – pay attention.  Step up to the plate, remember why you came – eyes on the ball, hands on the bat.

Y’all, the more I ponder this subject, the less I want to explore it.  I don’t want to think about all the times in my life that I lost sight of my goals, became distracted and ultimately found myself way off course.  I, probably just like you, don’t want to admit that sometimes I’ve settled for less because I failed to keep my “eye on the ball” and wasn’t paying attention.  I really hate to admit that at times I’ve become distracted by the things others are doing and I’ve lost focus on what I should be doing.  And, in these times, the true tragedy for me, and for you, is that we are not only deceiving ourselves and failing to be who God created us to be.  But, we are robbing those around us, including our children, of the one thing we were meant to be – our own true selves.

So, how do we keep our true selves in check?  How do we ensure that we are becoming who we were meant to be?  How do we give our best to our children?

Hebrews 12:1 illustrates this so perfectly… I’ll paraphrase.

“….Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”

First we must throw off all the things that hinder us.  The New Living Translation says “let us strip off every weight that slows us down”.  Now lean in a little and take a deep breath because it’s about to get serious.

I think the description of weight is brilliant.  Doesn’t it feel like weight when we veer off course?  When we take our eye off the ball and end up in places we never should have been.  Maybe we’ve allowed ourselves to become overtaken with pride, envy and jealousy?  Maybe a bad habit or a jaded heart steals our joy?  Maybe poor decisions for temporary gain cost us a friendship?  Maybe we’ve traded financial peace for momentary satisfaction?  Maybe we’ve let our past dictate our future?

So first, we must throw off this weight.  People we need to get help.  It’s not shameful to ask for help, it’s imperative to our survival.  Counseling, talk to a friend, grab a book, read a blog, join a group.  Trust me.  I’ve been there.  Knowing you need help, but too afraid to ask.  Believe me, one step in the right direction can change your life.  Help precedes change.  Get rid of those things that are holding you back.  Throw if off, strip if off, or in the words of Taylor Swift, “shake it off”.  Because this weight, ladies and gentlemen – mommies and daddies, entangles us, distracts us, and causes us to lose our focus.  And, only when this weight begins to lift can we run the race marked out for us.

Did you catch that last word?  The race marked out for “us”.  Not the race set for anyone else.  Think about that.  God has a race or a plan specifically for you.  No one else can run that race.  It’s unique and only for you.

Now, let’s go back to Hebrews 12:2 because here we find the beauty of running a race fully aware and paying attention.  We’ve got our eyes on the ball and here’s how we keep our hands on the bat.  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”.  The Message Bible states, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed”.  Y’all, Jesus went before us, wrote our story, finished our race, and perfected our faith.  He never looses sight of His plan for us, so fix your eyes on Him.

So, on this Mother’s Day, and every day, let us step up to the plate and pay attention.  May we not be distracted by those things that so easily steal our focus.  May we ask for help to shed the weights of life.  Let us run the race that was uniquely chosen for only us.  Let us live and thrive as our own true selves.  And, most importantly, let us keep our eyes on Jesus who perfected our faith.

Come on mommies, daddies, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and friends.  Let’s give those children the best version of our selves.  The one we were created to be.  Hey batter, batter…. eyes on the ball, hands on the bat!

Happy Mother’s Day,

Mary Ann

 

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