*Note: This is one of those posts I wrote awhile back and never published to the interwebs, so I’m publishing it now. However, I do not currently feel like I’m being worked over in this way. 🙂
As an athlete, I always knew whether I could handle the next level based on one thing: how often I was getting worked over by better players. As a pitcher, I can only think of two hitters who were truly better than I was, but as a hitter, things were a bit more difficult for me. Hitting is significantly more difficult than pitching is to start with… think of it like this: a hitter’s job is to do something that’s difficult, and a pitcher’s job is to keep the hitter from doing something that’s difficult. That’s not to say that pitching is easy, but the pitcher has a slight advantage. Additionally, pitchers tend to practice a lot more than hitters do (especially at the lower levels); throughout high school, I probably threw about 150 – 200 pitches 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As a hitter, I may have hit 50-100 balls 3-5 days a week, and I definitely took holidays and school breaks off unless my swing needed tinkering. And I was a good hitter..I definitely wasn’t the kind who scared pitchers, but I was very consistent. Every once in awhile, though, there would be a pitcher who just blew me away. I’d get into the batter’s box thinking I was a decent hitter, and walk away having struck out without even understanding how it happened.
That’s what I mean by “worked over”. I’m talking about those times when I knew the better player had beaten me. It wasn’t that I’d done something stupid and lost it for myself or even just had an off day. I’d been up against something superior and excellent, and it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d swung the best swing in my arsenal… I’d still have lost. Players like that didn’t come around very often, and if they had, I’d’ve quit softball.
Life has recently had me thinking of a girl named Kat. I can’t remember her last name, but I do remember what it felt like when she launched my beautiful rise ball over the center fielder’s head on a field with no fence, and how awestruck I was as the ball just kept rolling. Getting worked over in life simultaneously feels exactly like that and nothing like it. The unfortunate realization of being outmatched by a giant is the same. She was two years older than I was and already signed with a full-ride to Stanford, and sometimes that’s what I’m up against in life. However, the thing that’s different is the admiration factor. I watched Kat run around the bases at three quarters speed for an inside the park home-run, and I had to tip my hat to her, because even as a sophomore, I was an impressive pitcher… she was just more impressive. I don’t quite feel that way when life works me over. I don’t admire it. I don’t feel impressed. I just want it to be through with me.
Then, I get to really thinking about it, and I know it’s actually God Who’s working me over. You see, I’m smart enough to see my disorganized pile of heart and mind as sanctification. God isn’t working me over because He gets a full-ride to Stanford if he dominates me well-enough. He’s doing it for me and His glory… but it sure feels like I’m getting worked over a bit too much to keep at this game. I’m so mismatched and out of my league that it’s silly to keep swinging.