I have posted here about my fledgling (burgeoning? blossoming?) baseball career here in the Republic of Ireland. If you’ve missed all of that, let me recap. I have, at the age of 40, joined my first baseball team. This is a 13-and-over team, so most of the lineup spots are occupied by people who aren’t even half my age. I’m not much of an athlete to begin with, so my time has been largely trying to revive what meager skills I once had while not embarrassing myself or letting the team down on the rest of the game. Needless to say, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to be humble!
One thing that’s been a real revelation to me is the value of preparation. I’ve never been on a baseball team before, but I’ve played a lot of rec-league softball, pickup basketball, and even a season of co-ed soccer. In all of those settings, we were essentially left to our own warmup routines. And, in all honesty, the routines I followed and saw others following were pretty limited. A quick stretch or two, throw the ball around, get in the game. This is a sharp contrast to my experience with the Ashbourne Baseball Club. As a team, we all do a run. We come back and do lunges, trots, arm sequences, and a variety of other limbering/strengthening exercises. Then we throw. And it’s not just “throw until you’re ready to stop”. It’s short toss, gradually working up to long toss, and then bringing it back in to work on quick hands. This is before every practice, every training, every game.
To me, it seemed a bit excessive. But the results are undeniable. I don’t find myself getting sore like I did with prior teams. My shoulder doesn’t hurt like it once did. And I’m ready to go sooner and faster than I was before.
This is me at 40! Imagine what my sports career could have been if I’d known this at 20!
Oh, right, still not athletic.
Whatever the case, I see a lesson in there for life outside of sports as well. It’s easy to want to hurry the preparation phase and jump into “doing”. But there is value in being fully and properly prepared. According to Merriam-Webster, the word prepare means, “to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity.” This brings up three questions:
- Who is the One making us ready?
- Who decides when we are actually ready?
- Who assigns the purpose, use or activity?
Of course, the answer to all of these questions is God, and we could have a nice discussion about waiting on the Lord, something like this. But in the waiting, there’s also preparation, and we need to be ready to let God do His work even if it seems pointless and takes us away from what we think we are supposed to be doing.
And let’s not overlook the value not only in “big” preparation, but in preparation each day. I can bring my day, my schedule, my every minute before God in prayer. I can devote time to studying His Word. I can pray for those around me and keep the focus of my life from revolving solely around me. And I can reflect on the work He has done in my life – His salvation, truth, righteousness, peace, and faith being worked out in me day by day.
It would be easy to say I don’t have time for this on a daily basis. But it’s like my experience with baseball! I don’t have time not to do this on a daily basis.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Don’t go into the game cold! How do you need to take more time to prepare?