Mark Appel is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Recently God’s been really been challenging me with one word: patience. As a competitive guy, I want to do things quickly and well but I’m learning that there’s no substitute for time. Whether it’s spent in the weight room, on the mound, or spending time in community with others, time is the only way to grow and improve in any area of life.
But patience isn’t an easy thing. As I learn to wait on the Lord, He’s challenging me to work faithfully and diligently, trusting that He has a plan and that His timing is perfect. Having recently been traded, I went from a comfortable place, having good relationships on my team, to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I want to be able to go in and become good friends with guys quickly, but it doesn’t happen like that; it takes time to be invested and involved in people’s lives to build those relationships. . . It takes patience. I’m learning to take one day at a time, waiting on the Lord and His timing for all things. As my teammates begin to ask questions about my life, I’m praying that through me they see a glimpse of Jesus—the grace and love that He has given me.
It’s the same thing with baseball—I want to go out every game and pitch the perfect game but that doesn’t always happen. So each day as I approach the field, I ask myself, “What can I do today in the bullpen that will take me one step closer to where I want to be and where I need to be?” And when I don’t do as well as I want to I need to understand that it’s a process—it takes time to build these skills.
In AAA baseball anything can happen at any point in time: Injuries, trades, etc. In any point in the season I could be called up to make my major league debut. As a guy who has had that dream his whole life, I want that to happen immediately but I know that I can’t force that and if that’s all I focus on then I won’t be able to be used where God has me right now. I want to enjoy the things that God has for me each and every day in the place where He has brought me in that moment.
My older brother, John, is someone that I’m really encouraged by in this way. There were a lot of times in his life when he could have given up on his dreams but he’s always been patient and maintained a positive attitude no matter what circumstances he finds himself in. A few years ago he might not have thought that his dream of pursuing law school was going to happen, but he was always faithful, hopeful, and patient to wait for the Lord’s timing and now he’s seeing that dream come true.
As I continue to faithfully put in the work that God is calling me to do, I know that God is creating in me a patient heart. Learning to trust God in all areas of my life, I’m finding my peace and joy in Christ’s increase.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” —Isaiah 40:31
View Mark’s Increase Profile here: https://theincreasebaseball.com/author/markappel/
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