Wednesday, October 11, 2006

identity & baseball

Last night, the Tigers won another game in their quest for the World Series! I was in a meeting and I didn't get home till after the game was finished. But on the way home I immediately called Tracy to find out the results of the game.

A few weeks ago, I was teaching on identity and a sense of personal value. I shared some of my experiences from childhood. Some of my worst memories, and also some of my best memories (as a child)…were from playing BASEBALL.

I remember the terror of stepping up to the plate, and if I missed the ball my coach would yell at me. I remember the fear of going to a game, because I was so worried that I might mess up. I remember literally crying at times, begging my mom to let me quit the team. Those are hard memories.

But also some of my fondest memories as a child were from playing baseball. In one season, our team went to the Championship Game. It all came down to the last inning. We needed one run to win. And guess WHO went up to the plate? (Who do you think?... You got it baby, Little Red Gorveatte).

All of our jerseys had been paid for buy different businesses. My sponsor (written across the back of my shirt) was “Charlie Brown’s Toy Shop”. (No lie). If you know anything about Charlie Brown and baseball, you know that this did not bode well for our team.

I walked up to the plate and stared the pitcher in the eye. With a player on 2nd base… I nailed a line drive all the way out to the fence. It was a triple. I drove the winning run home.

The team literally carried me off the field on their shoulders. I was a hero.
And do you know what? I liked it! I thought “This is awesome. It makes me feel valuable.”

But here’s the PROBLEM. Those early experiences in life led me to a tendency to find my identity in my performance.
 If I WIN, life is good.
 If I LOSE, life is miserable.
And as I began to grow in Christ, I realized, “Wow, I had bought into this myth wholeheartedly.”

And (help me out there)…I’m not the only one, right? Don’t we all have this tendency at times? In some ways, we’re all still like little children…
> Trying to get approval from our parents.
> Trying to get people to like us.

Now DON’T misunderstand. If you know me, you know that I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t perform well. Heaven’s no. We should always give our best. Quit wimping around and get in the game. If something is worth doing, than it’s worth doing with excellence.

But here’s the real issue. This is the KEY QUESTION we need to answer: Who holds the measuring stick in my life? What is the standard?

Are you trying to impress everybody? That is a miserable way to life. Maybe your sense of value and worth comes from trying to impress a few select people (family and friends). Yet again...there will be times when you don't measure up in their eyes. Some people are impossible to please. It is a miserable way to live.

That's why our VALUE and identity as a person needs to be defined by God. Knowing what God says about me has the power to change everything else. It gives me a sense of security.

When's the last time that you sat down with a Bible and began to seek out the truth of what God says is true about YOU?