If you missed Part 1 from last week, don’t forget to catch up here. Here’s where Tyler Beede left off…
It dawned on me that maybe what I really needed was something that didn’t have to be in my control to bring me joy, that didn’t require me to be perfect. Something without wins or losses. Something consistent, reliable, and deeply meaningful.
Sometimes, and luckily for me, God has a way of preparing you for what you need the most, right when you need it.
And just before things took a turn for the worse, a special someone walked–well, tweeted–into the picture and changed my life, for good.
And prepare me He did! Because guess what??? That someone…she’s now my beautiful fiancé.
After meeting and spending time together, something started to change within me. See, Allie saw the world a little clearer than I did. She had something I was missing. Something incredibly important.
Allie had a center.
And early on, she knew I needed to find mine too. So she encouraged me to dig for the real cause of the emptiness in life I was feeling, the darkness that was filling my soul.
She helped me realize that at the end of the day, I can’t always control how I perform on the field one time vs. another. Sure, I can practice a little more, I can strengthen my body to feel better, I can throw a million pitches…but I can’t control everything. I can’t control the outcome, the crowd noise, the other players, or heck…the way the ball bounces in my favor or not!
Allie, who I met during those rough years, showed me the power of putting my relationship with God above everything…including baseball. I learned in time that if I relinquished my happiness to Him, I could trust in His control.
My relationship with God is unique to me, coming to Him daily with my praises, requests and sins. He’s someone I can surrender to and that depends on no one else. My steadiness is built on His rock, not some mound that changes every week.
By making something more than me– God — my center, I was able to find happiness outside of the game of baseball. My happiness, now, is rooted in the peace and contentment I find in letting go of control. And guess what? My game improved, because I wasn’t
afraid anymore of what the outcome would mean to my identity! It had no effect, aside from the opportunity to learn and grow on the field.
I know I performed my best because I knew my success, well-being, and future was not contingent on winning or losing. God gives me faith in His plan for my life and I trust that He is faithful. In a faith mentality nothing is at stake because we can trust God’s goodness.
Now, no matter the outcome, I am successful because I am perfectly imperfect and fully loved in His eyes. And occasionally, I even get to be a winner on the field too. The point is that my happiness isn’t dependent on whether we win or not. It is dependent on my center.
Faith as your center can be scary because it’s intangible. It feels less controllable than something “real,” like a pitcher’s mound. But the reality is we have control over nothing but our words, actions, feelings and thoughts.
And with God, that’s all that matters. He doesn’t really care about how many strikeouts I have (though I like to think He does). He cares that I care. And that I have faith in Him and trust He will lead my steps and strengthen me when I’m weak. And that I treat people with kindness and respect. And that I am grateful in my actions and thoughts. And that I love Him, and my neighbor, and my enemies.
It’s simple, but it wasn’t without challenge.
Shifting my center from winning to God required me to strip away my pride, and this wasn’t an easy process. I had to realize that I wasn’t the reason I had made it this far, that God had blessed be so very much that this was a platform not to take for granted, but to be grateful for!
I used to think by focusing on something I thought I could control (like my performance), that it would make life better.
I used to think if I performed the best I could I would feel the best. But I didn’t. I had to let go of the need to do good, and seek more for a relationship with God. Only with Him could I fully remove my prideful armor to become the man He needed me to be, on and off the field (and content no matter what).
I’m reminded of one of my favorite books by C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when Eustace–who had been transformed into a dragon–attempted to strip himself of his tough, prideful skin. After three failed attempts, the Christlike character, Aslan, said that only [Aslan] could fully undress him from his pride and save him. After, Eustace recalls:
“’Well, He peeled the beastly stuff right off—just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt—and there was it was lying on the grass; only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been…after a bit the Lion took me out (of the well where he was bathing after his skin was peeled by Aslan) and dressed me—‘
’Dressed you. With His paws?’
’Well, I don’t exactly remember that bit. But He did somehow or other: in new clothes.’”
This aligns with a favorite verse from Isaiah, 61:10:
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
The reason I couldn’t break the cycle was because I thought I could do it all alone, like I thought I could in baseball with performing back into a state of happiness.
The funny thing about doing well is that the more you care about it, the less it seems to happen.
Why? Because there’s more to life than yourself and winning. Winning is an empty goal. It’s self serving. And that’s no way to find joy and happiness, or success. Doing good things for others is also good for me. They fulfill God’s mission, and therefore I’m more at peace than ever because of it.
Let’s be honest…no amount of home runs or strikeouts can win the heart of God. But my faith, my love, and my commitment to Him sure can; things I can actually control.
And that’s enough to make this guy happy and full of the everlasting joy of God
Loved what you read? You can follow Tyler Beede’s journey of faith and baseball here.