I love baseball! Always have. I don’t know what it is in particular about the game that I love but I just do! Maybe it’s the excitement of watching the boys of summer run out onto the field to take their positions and play the game. The crack of the bat. The swell of the roar from the crowd as the ball soars over the fence. And let’s not forget the umpire’s over-emphatic thumb yank extending beyond his shoulder gesture while shouting with great enthusiasm, “You’re out!” call at the plate a millisecond after the ball smacks into the catcher’s glove to tag the runner sliding under him, dust flying everywhere. So it is in life, I have learned that, like our runner here, sometimes I don’t quite make it to home plate, I fall just short of tagging the bag. And while there may not be a literal umpire geared up with his face mask and chest protector on standing over me, watching with an eagle eye to see if I touched the plate and calling me out when I don’t, I need to own up to the fact that I fell short and am out.
calling myself “out!”
Now, before we go any further, I have to tell you, I am generally a positive person. I am an encourager and if you read any of my previous blog posts, you will see that. So, I am not here to call myself or you a failure for falling short because falling short does not make us failures. This isn’t what this is. Rather, this is a moment to be real—honest. To call myself out when I mess up. And we all mess up! There is not one of us that has not made a mistake, done something, or said something we wished we hadn’t. This happened to me recently. I have set principles for myself and one of those is to make every effort to avoid gossip. Never easy. I’m not always successful at it either. Sometimes I can avoid it, sometimes I don’t. So, I’m calling myself out. Holding myself accountable for doing a thing I don’t want to do. Maybe you know what I’m talking about? You do what you know is wrong even though you want to do what you know is right? Well, great news! We are not alone, and this isn’t new or unusual!
why do i do what i hate?
Ever ask yourself, “Why do I do what I hate?” I know I have and so did a guy named Paul. The Apostle Paul was a prolific writer of the New Testament and in the Book of Romans, he talks about this very struggle; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15 NIV). Here we see Paul calling himself out. Holding himself accountable for not doing what he knows he should do and doing the thing he doesn’t want to do. Calling ourselves out when we do something we don’t want to do is to our benefit so potentially the next time when we’re confronted with the same situation, we don’t do the thing we hate. Holding ourselves accountable for our actions is the only way to effect change and to stop doing what we hate to do. While we will never be perfect and we won’t always get it right, it is advantageous for us to stop pretending we never miss the plate so that we may continue to grow and move forward.
next at bat
Maybe you don’t struggle with this, but for those of us who do, I would like to suggest to you that while perhaps this inning you fell short of tagging the bag, it’s okay. Get up, wipe off the dust and wait for the next at bat. And if we’ve allowed our “Out!” to cultivate change within us, then at our next at bat we may just be called “Safe!” at the plate. See, we all fall short at times, we are human, so don’t berate yourself for it but it’s important to acknowledge it, call yourself out and learn from it. And who knows, there in the lesson, you may find a moment to treasure.