Years ago, spring and summer weekends found me on the softball field with my daughter and her band of buddies. The core members of that team remained the same for several years and I had a blast watching them grow into beautiful young ladies both on and off the field. I wasn’t the best coach, but no one except their own families loved them any more than I did. I tried to teach them everything I knew about playing softball and being a good sport, but most times they taught me more than I taught them. More than anything we had fun!
There was one important “little thing” I had learned in one of my classes at Auburn that crept its way into every practice. It was called mental practice. Studies proved when an athlete spent time mentally rehearsing a correct physical action it resulted in improved performance. So, what they heard from me repeatedly was, “What are you going to do if the ball comes to you?” Reminding the girls of that forced them to visualize the ball coming their way and then making the play. I still shouted instructions, but when they “saw” the play in advance it increased their chances of success.
When it comes to living for Jesus, what do you practice mentally? Do you decide ahead of time how to handle difficult situations that are bound to come up? Maybe you have that one relative that gets on your last nerve every year at Thanksgiving. Are you planning your strategy to love him like Jesus this year? Or perhaps it’s the cranky waitress, the rude sales clerk, or the less-than-thoughtful motorist you need to plan for. How about your spouse who’s had a really bad day or your child who misbehaves at school? Are you ready to listen to reasons why? Finally, what about the people in your life who don’t know Jesus? Do you fill your mind with the Word, so you can give a reason for the hope within you?
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9, NIV
So, what are you going to do WHEN the ball comes to you?