I used to play softball in middle school; I grew to love playing and looked forward to each practice and game. BUT it wasn’t always that way.
That year I had a friend who played softball and encouraged me to join her league. I don’t know how I allowed my friend to talk me into playing softball; when I went to practice, I felt my heart melt into my stomach. My parents wouldn’t let me quit; they had bought the glove and weren’t going to lose their deposit! I was almost paralyzed with fear each day I went to practice and play.
It was quickly apparent at the first of the season that I had no idea how to play the game; I had no idea how to correctly throw a softball, catch a softball, or even hit the ball correctly. I vocalized my fear and lack of confidence in myself to everyone, who, after witnessing my vain attempts at play, agreed with me. Consequently, I was usually sidelined or sent to play in right field where it was “safe” to put me.
I lived in fear of “what if” the ball came my way when I was sent to right field? If I missed like I did during practice, my teammates wouldn’t easily forgive me. I was often tempted to skip games in case I was required to catch a ball, but my parents always made sure I didn’t miss. In the meanwhile, during practice, I began to learn how to play… The day did come I caught a ball and I realized that I didn’t have to allow fear control me as it had, I had reason to hope for better things.
2 Samuel 4:1b “Ishibosheth…he lost all courage, and all Israel became paralyzed with fear.”
When one person loses courage, as Ishibosheth did in the above verse, it has a negative effect on those around them. Had I dared to have confidence in my growing ability to play the game, my teammates would’ve been more at ease with my presence on the field. But my own fear contaminated those around me and that shut me out of the game for a long time.
2 Samuel 22:20b “…He rescued me because He delights in me.”
I felt I had to impress my teammates to be accepted by them and feared their reactions when they didn’t like or approve of what I might do. Knowing that our Father doesn’t have pre-requirements for approval is still amazing to me! In fact, He actually delights in rescuing me. There’s hope for better things; I now know that I don’t have to catch each ball perfectly, and neither do you.
“What if I fall? Oh,but my darling,what if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson