You know, as a baseball player, when you initially get to the game you think, “Alright! I made it to the major leagues! I’m a success. I finally made it. It is my calling to be a major league baseball player, and here I am.” In 2002, when I was 22 years old, this happened to me. I made it to the big leagues with the Kansas City Royals.
The Kansas City Royals have had a lot of disappointments in recent years. They weren’t a very good team when I played for them. But do you know what? They gave me a shot. And I learned a lot of things while I was in Kansas City, things that would stay with me and become a profound part of my spiritual life. But that came later. My initial thought, after making it to the big leagues at 22 years old, was, “I did it.” I was excited. I was pumped! I knew that we were losing a lot of games, and I didn’t even care, because I was in the big leagues!
That first year’s excitement kind of wore off. In my second year I was dealing with blister issues and I was getting hurt a lot. I started to get frustrated. So I started to talk to God about it. I remember sitting there in my quiet time, and I said, “What is the point, God, of this game?”
It’s amazing how my thought process changed, and so quickly. In my first season in the big leagues, I was just excited to be there. I was so proud that I’d made it as a top athlete. And then by the second season, there I was wondering, “What is the point of being a top athlete? Why am I doing this?”
This was the kind of doubt that I really didn’t want to vocalize to a lot of people. I figured that not a lot of people would cry for me. You know, I was in the major leagues! When you’re a professional athlete, you won’t find a lot of people who will feel sad for you that you’re not enjoying it. Far from feeling sympathy, they’re probably going to be mad at you for not enjoying it! I mean, I get to play a game for a living right? I get to live out a dream that I’ve had since I was a little kid.
So I kept quiet about my frustrations. But they kept building. I was dealing with injuries. My teammates and I were dealing with failure. We weren’t winning! I just wasn’t enjoying baseball. So I didn’t understand why I was blessed with this gift. I didn’t understand how I could be so blessed and still have no joy in doing what I was doing.
I had to ask myself, if baseball was my calling, if I was doing what I was supposed to do, then why didn’t I have joy? Why couldn’t I find any happiness while I was doing it?
Have you ever questioned your own success in the same way? I had some work to do before I was going to connect the dots. I’ll resume this story next time. See you Wednesday.