I remember as a child, practice after practice, learning how to adapt the position of my body and the direction of my softball glove depending on where the ball was hit; taking into consideration the wide array of possibilities—to the left or right, moving in or out, head on, up in the air or on the ground. I also recall being advised not to overthink or try too hard to make the play. I think of times of overshooting the target when feeling under the gun to throw the ball as hard as possible, in order to get the runner out. In those times, my focus was more on the closing gap between the runner and the base than on simply throwing the ball to the target.
Each year, and at each level of play, there was something new to be learned in becoming more skillful not only as a player, but also as a teammate. Everyone on the team had a primary position, but we also had a backup or supporting position in case of injury. We were asked to be ready for whatever was for the good of the team whether it was on the bench cheering on teammates, warming up the pitcher, or on the field as a starter.
The spirit of the team depended on the embrace of this attitude and way of being. As the saying goes, “united we stand, divided we fall.” However, that all depends on what it is that is bringing us together, to what it is leading and who is being served.
Oftentimes we can feel like we are running out of time or feel a sense of pressure to act swiftly. While there are cases where a quick response is necessary, there are also many cases where a sense of urgency is a trick play, seeking to take one “off their game.” There are times when the best course of action is to slow down in order to be in tune with the natural flow and instinct ingrained within each of us, patiently trying to guide us for the good of all.
Every now and again, even though I may be embracing the “team” attitude and have my positions covered, I need to ask myself, is this truly in the best interest of the entire team? This is not something that anyone else can answer for me. Only I can know the truth of the matter for myself. However, it can only be revealed, if I am willing to entertain both possibilities – I may be acting in the best interest of the team, but I may also not be acting in the best interest of the team.
“But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit.” – Matthew 27:50
The Pharisees and the scribes who sought to get rid of Jesus, gave up their spirits to serve and protect themselves. Jesus gave up…surrendered his spirit as part of the plan that was truly for the greater good – Salvation.
Surrender to God is never failure, but rather victory unlike any other.