One of the hardest lessons is learning that there are things we can control, and there are things we cannot. The things we can control, we need to be responsible for. But the things we can't control, we need to let go.
That's my job as a bullpen coach. I've been around the big leagues for a long time, playing organized ball for 16 years, 11 of which were spent in the majors. I've spent the last 5 years as bullpen coach.
My job is to help the relievers mentally prepare to enter the game. Being a reliever comes with it's own set of challenges. The one thing I try to stress is consistency being the same day in and day out. That means that you can't think about yesterday and you can't think about tomorrow. There is only today. And you can't worry about what you need to do. There are things that are just out of your control. You just have to do your best and the rest will take care of itself.
That's a lesson I learned a few years ago. I learned how to let go of the things that were beyond my control. I was in my final year in the big leagues, and things were not going well. I was struggling. And I heard it from the fans. I took a lot of heat and heard a lot of boos. And it would bother me. I would try hard to correct what I was doing, but couldn't.
It all came to a head when I walked off the mound after a particularly bad outing. I was being showered with boos, hearing the voices out of the stands, and wondered why I had to go through this.
That's when it dawned on me that what I was going through was nothing compared to what Jesus went through. Oh, I was suffering yes. It's not fun to not do well, and to hear about it from the stands. But what I was suffering was nothing compared to the suffering Jesus experienced. He died for me. And I suddenly realized that the anguish I was feeling was not life or death. I couldn't control what some of the fans thought of me, or how some of them reacted. I could only control my reaction.
A few weeks later, I received a letter from a woman whom I did not know. She said she felt the need to write to me. She confirmed everything I felt while walking off the mound. She wrote that she knew I was going through a tough time, but that it was nothing compared to what Jesus had done for me.
Now I try to live with consistency. I don't think about yesterday, and I don't worry about tomorrow. I don't fret about what I need to do. I try not to be anxious about things I cannot control.
Jesus once said, Do not be anxious about the troubles in life. Instead, just trust in God.
That's not always easy, but it is the way I try to live my life.
There are things I can't control, and things I can. But God is in control of everything.
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