Keep Showing Up
This past week, I played softball for the first time this season. On paper, it was my best game ever. I hit the ball every time I was at bat and made it to first base every time. I had an RBI and I scored a run. For a few of the innings, I played the position of catcher and threw an out at first base.
In reality, my game was not that great. I was only at bat twice and one of those hits went about three feet in front of home plate. Making it to first base was pure luck! My RBI was the result of an outfield error. The run I scored was entirely due to the fact that I play with an amazing group of women. My “throw” to first was actually a desperate attempt and instead of a throw, I rolled the ball. Although it resulted in an out, it was pretty pathetic. After five years of playing softball every summer, I still can’t throw the ball under pressure.
As I reflected on the game, I wondered why I keep playing. Each year, I am the most improved player, but that’s simply because I can’t get any worse. Although I have moved past my phobia of playing softball and I am much better than I was my first season, I’m not sure I will ever be good at softball.
So why do I put myself through the humiliation?
As I pondered this question, I realized that there are several reasons why I keep playing. One of the reasons that I started playing in the first place was to be an example to my children. I want them to try things that they aren’t necessarily good at (how will they know unless they try?). When they are scared of something, I want them to face those fears (getting knocked over by a softball when I was seven was traumatic, but never playing softball again was not the legacy I wanted to leave for my kids!). I also wanted my kids to see that there was more to me than just the “mom” things I do (although I love it when I hear them yelling, “Go, Mom!”). I want them to actively pursue passions and interests for the rest of their lives.
While that was one of the reasons why I started playing, the main reason why I want to keep playing is because the team is made up of fantastic women. Many are from the church where my husband is the pastor, but several other churches are represented on our team and it is beautiful. It’s a sweet thing to show up to a game and to have a camaraderie based solely on being sisters in Christ who happen to play softball together. Even when I play horribly, I genuinely enjoy the team I have the privilege of playing with and I leave every game smiling.
Sometimes people only see the pictures we share or what our lives look like on paper and they make assumptions about us. But when our reality doesn’t match those assumptions, it can feel isolating. Would others still like me if they knew about *insert your deepest, darkest secret*?
Softball is teaching me the importance of showing up no matter what. I don’t have to be perfect in order to play. In fact, my team still loves me even though I’m pretty awful. I can still enjoy playing with the team and I get to share in the victory even if I will never hit a home run!
If you are one of those people who sees my pictures of playing softball or the adventures my family has or you read about the fact that I’m a pastor’s wife and a homeschooling mom of four kids and I work for an online ministry, you might be tempted to think that I’m amazing, but that’s just what I look like on paper. In reality, I am in desperate need of grace. I mess up a lot. I’m not always kind to others and I have a tendency to hold grudges. I love my kids deeply, but I am not always as intentional as I would like to be and I check out way more often than I should. I forget things all of the time and let others down way more often than I would like.
But the love my softball team shows to me is a reminder of the unconditional love God has faithfully shown to me throughout my life. He KNOWS it all- my successes, my failures, my strengths, my weaknesses, those deep, dark secrets- ALL of it, yet He loves me. The security I have in this love makes me want to keep showing up to all of the things that have been asked of me. Even when it’s hard. Or I’m awful. Or it’s humiliating.
I hope that you will keep showing up too. You are lavishly loved. No matter what!