Adventure Awaits - by Will Startup

I just got back from The Increase conference in Colorado. Pro Athletes Outreach has been pouring into baseball players for decades, and my wife and I have been able to participate the last 8 years. I have been so blessed by PAO. I have learned valuable life skills for my marriage and other tools for life. I feel that I have grown closer in my walk with Jesus each year. We were able to have our daughter dedicated while others were being baptized. The whispers of prayers echoing off the water of the pool will ring forever in my ears and in my heart.

This conference, my eyes were opened to prayer and studying the Bible. Francis Chan spoke on the difficulty of staying focused while praying in this day and age. We are so groomed to multitask. We can cram what used to be three days of work into one. It’s an ever-growing challenge to sit still and focus, whether it be with God or in everyday life. I learned that the goal to prayer is… praying! Most of the time I’ve seen it as a means to an end: “Lord provide this… Lord heal that.” It’s perfectly fine to ask God to meet our needs, but it is vital that we use prayer to commune and spend quality time with him. I also found out that when I read the Bible, God is telling me something that requires an answer. I would be upset if I told my son something important, and after I was done he totally changed topics on me or blew me off. I feel that’s what I have been doing in my reading of the Bible. God wants me to talk to him about what I’m learning.

My family and I find ourselves at a time in which we’re needing direction. There are many options in front of us, but I have been praying for clarity for the last 3 months. I have asked many people to pray for me to have a clear direction. But my prayer just changed tonight. I am now asking God to show me where I can have the biggest impact on his kingdom. I am so excited to find where that will be. God has finally shaped my heart to be ready to walk away from baseball. I’m not sure that is what he is doing but my desire for his kingdom outweighs the desire for my own kingdom. I encourage you who are seeking for direction in your life to pray that God makes it clear where you can be most effective for His Kingdom.

One of the speakers at The Increase conference told a wonderful story about a hiking trip with his dad and two older brothers. They all had great expectations of the trip. But as the youngest brother, he was scared to scale the mountain after he read a sign that said “Past this point: Climb at your own risk!” That paralyzed him and convinced him to stay at the base of the mountain despite his father’s encouragement. Hours later, his family returned with scrapes and smiles. They were so impacted by the adventure they had experienced. In his heart, he was sad that he had missed out. He went on to say that he still remembers that feeling vividly,

“Even after 40 years,” he said, “it’s totally possible to go on the trip and miss the adventure.” God is calling each one of us to an adventure. I encourage you not to live vicariously through others’ experience of God, but to take that step yourself. Adventure awaits.

—Will Startup