No More Self-Defeat – You Belong on the Field
One of the recurring themes throughout my life is the concept of self-defeat. I share exactly how this manifested throughout my whole life in Listen Up, Kids, so I won’t belabor the point here. I bring it up mostly to introduce the next topic in our Year of Listening Up series. You Belong on the Field.
It’s a great companion topic to go with last month’s topic of being available to God. As we have uncovered, we all should desire to be available to God and to be used for His calling. But desire is only part of the necessary ingredients. We must still be stirred to action because desire in and of itself just isn’t enough sometimes. Too often, we are subjected to obstacles.
One such obstacle in life is the feeling of unworthiness or being under qualified to go forward. In other words: self-defeat.
The Art of Defeating Self-Defeat
This life lesson stems from a story of my childhood during my Little League Baseball days. Following a crushing loss, our previously undefeated team received some very sound words from an assistant coach. He told us we had beaten ourselves before we ever got onto the field because we knew we were playing a really good team and our best player wouldn’t be there with us in that game. We had, in a way, disqualified ourselves and didn’t give it our all.
(btw: You can read more about that in chapter 7 of Listen Up, Kids.)
That observation from our assistant coach has resurfaced in my mind many times over the decades since it first spewed from his mouth as he lectured a group of downward facing pre-teen boys. He was so right. We never gave ourselves a fighting chance. And the biggest shame of it all, we can only wonder what might have been. There was no chance to do it right. We learned the hard way that you must have the right mindset at all times to defeat self-defeat.
You have to know and understand that you belong on the field.
Put Me In Coach – I’m Ready to Play
Years before that fateful game, I was coming up out of T-Ball and into the “minor” leagues of our local Little League when John Fogerty’s hit song, Centerfield was making its way into mainstream culture. In addition to being a catchy tune, the song spoke to me. It’s a great homage to the glory days of baseball, its heroes and its lore.But Centerfield has more significance than merely being a catchy tune about a great game.
Fogerty could have just as well told himself that the song was a fruitless endeavor given that baseball and his style of music never really connected before that time. As he said:
Rock-and-roll has a certain set of formal dogmas, and the rule book says, ‘Anything that is perceived as lame, we don’t want it around here.’ Over the years it seemed like sports songs just didn’t qualify into the rock-and-roll lexicon. There was that unwritten distinction. It was never considered rock-and-roll.” [source: LA Times]
Many musicians would have taken that as evidence enough to not waste time. Had Fogerty been among them, the song may have never seen the light of day, his comeback album might not have made it to #1 on the Billboard charts (Rolling Stone called it one of the 100 best of the 1980s), and he certainly would not have been among the first musician to see his work recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, the National Baseball Hall of Fame formally enshrined Fogerty and his Centerfield song in 2010.
Centerfield contains a lot of baseball lore and tells the narrative of a baseball player longing for a chance to play: “Put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today; Look at me, I can be centerfield.” As Fogerty explained it, it also works as “a metaphor about getting yourself motivated, about facing the challenge of one thing or another at least at the beginning of an endeavor.”
Running to Win the Battle of Self-Defeat
If you were to consider the lyrics of Centerfield, you’d find a lot of inspiration; from a bench player ready to throw out a runner at home to spending time getting groomed in the minor leagues to using whatever equipment you have at hand to go out and do your absolute best. Oh, and to take your place – to realize your purpose and calling – with the other heroes of the game who came before you.
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power
To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
– 2 Thes. 1:11 and 2:14
God’s looking for folks who are ready to say “put me in Coach – I’m ready.” He has prepared you and even though you didn’t know it, he’s had you doing your “time with the Mudville Nine” in the minor leagues of life.God has already said you belong on the field - so get in there! Click To Tweet
Life is not about sitting on the benches and watching the “starters” play the game. God want’s all his players on the field. To be ready and willing to use their skills – their spiritual gifts – and score glory for the home team. Not to give in to self-defeat.
Unlike the mythical figure in Fogerty’s narrative, you don’t need to tell him to put you in. You just need to realize you’re all ready in centerfield.
And the ball’s coming your way.
About Chad Gramling
Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He's the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.