Refining Life, on Purpose

No More Self-Defeat – You Belong on the Field

God has already chosen you to be His starter. He’s said you belong on the field so you should not give into self-defeat. Get in the game.

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.


God has already chosen you to be His starter. He’s said you belong on the field so you should not give into self-defeat. Get in the game. Image Source: Chad Gramling; Parkview Field, Fort Wayne, IN, April 2010

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.

  • I just loved this! I never really thought about the words in that song! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hear that song again and not think of its relation to serving God! Thank you so much for sharing this on #100HappyDays! I cant’ wait to share this!

  • Thanks so much Valerie. I really enjoyed digging into the history of the song as well. I have a tendency to draw inspiration from many places, and Centerfield has always been one that rings of true optimism and hope. For me, it’s always been an anthem of sorts. Blessings!

  • “God has already said you belong on the field – so get in there.” I love this. He has promised to give us what we need to fulfill what He has called us to do. It’s when we look only at ourselves thinking we aren’t good enough that we begin to feel defeated before we start. But when we keep our eyes on Christ, realizing that He is our strength, we can’t fail in the long run. Thanks for your encouraging words. Blessings to you and your family!

  • I learned a little technique called Real Time Resilience when it comes to Self-defeat. Basically when you find yourself with these kind of thoughts you use facts and optimism to defeat the thoughts. It is kinda like a boxing match where you counter each self-defeating thought with a positive or realistic outlook. For example if I’m going to give a speech and a negative thought enters into my mind that I might forget parts of my speech I can say something like “That might be true, but I have given a dozen speeches before, I have prepared for weeks and I will get my key points across effectively.” This can go on and on like a boxing match until the self-defeating thoughts stop or your confidence returns. You take that self defeating thought and reverse it in a positive statement with proof and optimism.

  • Thanks for sharing that Kirby. I’m a big believer in self-affirmations like that. In fact, self-affirmations changed the direction and velocity of my life in a big way a few years ago. I’ve never thought of it as a internal psychological boxing match, but I like it. 🙂 Blessings and thanks.

  • Hi Gayl. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I just finished tomorrow’s Sunday School lesson on Ephesians chapter 6 and one of the commentaries mention that we Christians have a tendency to view spiritual warfare from a position of “for” victory rather than “from” victory. I immediate thought back to that line you reference from the post. We have no reason to not engage. Our victory is already ensured. 🙂 Blessings.

  • i just wanted to let you know that I chose your great post to be spotlighted on #100HappyDays Link-Up on Thursday!

  • Oh thank you so much Valerie. I am honored and blessed.

  • That’s wonderful. Thank you so much. I am humbled and blessed by that news.