Jason Standridge

A pitcher needs control. There have been pitchers who have had all kinds of stuff, who could bring heat and take the radar gun up over 100, but without control, it does no good.

The same is true of life. There are those who have all kinds of gifts – who have great ability and potential. And they might live fast and hard – but if they don't have control, it does no good.

God is in control of my life.

It's difficult for me to remember a time I did not know the Lord. I grew up in a Christian home. My parents did a great job raising me. If someone were to ask me when I became a Christian, I would say at the age of three. I know how that sounds, but it's true. I asked Jesus into my heart at that time.

And in the last years, I have taken my relationship with Jesus more and more seriously. I try to keep my priorities aligned properly, and I realize more and more how blessed I am.

Being a baseball player is such an honor. Actually, I was blessed by being good at two sports. I played football in high school – quarterback – and earned a scholarship to Auburn University.

Although I've given up football, some of that football mentality still impacts the way I go about the game of baseball. I give it everything I have. I play the game hard, as hard as I can, every game. I have a passion for the game that drives me to do the very best I can.

Of course, there have been ups and downs in my life and in my sports career. There always are in everyone's life. I remember how I felt when I was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Ray's organization. I was the final selection of the first round, and I couldn't believe it. I felt so honored and so blessed and so excited. It was a dream come true.

Then, after the dream, came the reality. My first two years in professional baseball were less than what I had hoped for. I struggled. And there were times I questioned myself. There were times I wondered if I had made the right decision when I gave up football for baseball. Those were a couple of difficult years, and I found myself plagued with doubts – about myself – about my life – about my decisions.

But then God convicted me. He reminded me that He is in control of all things. And I knew that He would never give me more than I could handle. And I trusted His direction.

The next year was my breakout year. Things fell into place and my game was back on top. And even though the year after that was not everything I hoped it would be, I am still trusting that God is in control.

Perhaps the most dangerous attitude or emotion an athlete can have is discouragement – to lose heart. That's true on a football field as well as on a baseball diamond.

In those times when I have been tempted to become discouraged, I remember that God is all I need to depend upon. And I remember my favorite verse – Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things in Christ who is my strength." And I know that He has already taken care of the greatest issue in my life – dying for me and rising again that I might have life.

And I find my comfort and strength in the knowledge that He is in control of my life – not only for the duration of my baseball career, but for all eternity.

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