Perseverance - Starting 9's Catcher
by Keith Wahl
The second member of the Starting 9 is the battery mate behind the dish - the designated leader of a baseball team. Perseverance is the Starting 9's Catcher.
Romans 5:3-4, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Angela Duckworth discussion of "Grit" in her TED talk and recent best-seller boils this idea of grit into two words - passion and perseverance. Paul's letter to the Romans is certainly similar. Perseverance can only be developed through difficulty. Difficult times show the measure of one's passion.
Passion. Do we talk about this enough? Do we just give in to the "safe" route too easily? When's the last time you were totally hooked by something? What have you seen or done recently that gave you butterfiles or made your heart skip a beat? What makes you stay up too late at night and get up too early? What totally consumes you?
We're all just regular people. I'm fully convinced that our choices are what make us exceptional or not. Yeah, DNA matters in the nature vs. nurture argument, but choosing passion is missing far too often by those who pick the safe lane of life.
And let's be honest - few people encourage anything but the safe lane. We might appreciate a good quote about "regretting all of the shots you didn't take" or being "more disappointed by all of the things you didn't do," but actually doing it? No thanks. Give me ease, comfort, and a house in the suburbs.
As I was studying this idea of Perseverance, I ran into this TEDxYouth talk by Larry Jacobsen from 2012 titled, "Passion, Priorities, Perseverance." Take 20 minutes and watch it from beginning to end:
Larry's boat was his "gateway" to his passion. It hooked him and became his vision for passion. After figuring out his passion, he aligned his priorities with his passion. This is the step we miss far to often. We might say we "value" some things, but we're not willing to align our priorities with our passions.
In this new stage of life I've entered, I see these traps on my left and right on nearly a daily basis. I've identified my passion for my family, for coaching, for being around the game of baseball, for telling people about Jesus in the mission field of baseball. What do I do when a friend says they have a job for me at some school or some business? I have to say "no" if I'm aligning my passions with my priorities. You should see how people look at me when I tell them what I'm doing...and not doing. They don't have a place to put it in their mind. It's not their fault, but our culture breeds conformity and comfort. We have to consider that the enemy has set up a lot of the cultural systems we have in place. They're meant to lull us to sleep and not live a passionate life.
And this is where Perseverance comes in. When, and only when, passion and priorities line up to we experience opportunities to exhibit Perseverance. How do you survive a storm on the Red Sea like Larry Jacobsen? Run away from Komodo dragons or survive a pirate attack? You have to have your passion and priorities in line so perseverance can shine.
My encouragement today for everyone in the baseball world is to find your passion, align your priorities with your passion, and get ready to experience new and deep levels of perseverance. The Bible speaks truth and it speaks life. Only when we choose to experience the life it describes can we tap into an incredible principle like Perseverance.