Intertwine with the Vine

David Ledbetter is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.


In baseball, one of the coolest things we get to experience is fan interaction. It’s such a surreal experience to know that people come out to root for you. Or boo at you…but either way, they came to see you, and that is such an amazing experience.  


One thing that I always struggle to understand is the dynamic between fan and player—and that’s for anything in life. You’ll see others who you think have “made it” because they have an occupation you aspire to, or they live somewhere exotic, or they travel the world, or they play a game for a living. There are fans for every occasion! It’s not just on the baseball field.


There are many fans of Jesus—He’s the most popular guy to ever walk the planet! And that’s where the dynamic I was talking about earlier comes into play – Jesus was just like me and He’s just like you. He was completely human, struggling with all the same battles, temptations, and emotions that we fight every day. It’s the same way as a baseball player – we are all on the same playing field, battling the same fights that plague a fallen world.


One of the best struggles that I have as a player is my relationship with my wife. I say “best” because it’s also one of the most rewarding parts of my year when we are together. Learning how to be apart makes our time together so much more valuable. It makes me realize how much I need and appreciate her being in my life.


There’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction with someone, especially when that someone is your spouse. Watching how they move, their body language, learning the way they communicate, seeing their smile and the way they talk with their hands and express feelings—these things you can’t experience on a conversation over the phone. While Facetime is an awesome tool, there’s just no substitute for quality time spent together.  


That’s why the weeks and months when my wife and I are apart can be brutal sometimes.  When she’s not around, it’s very easy for me (and I know I’m not alone on this) to become apathetic towards her and take her for granted—I get selfish. I don’t practice the things that she loves and I don’t take the time to recognize her on a daily basis.  


That’s why our focus, both individually and as a couple, has to be on God first. Just as my commitment to God is lifelong and binding, so is my commitment to my wife—and that is such a blessing! The problem in our culture is that we always assume we deserve better, no matter what it is. But in reality, we don’t deserve anything. Instead, we must give up our lives to find the only thing that is worth living for: Jesus Christ.


If you’re not married and you’re reading this, here’s a tip: Marry the person you know you’ll never deserve.  


My brother and I have a running joke on “dying to ourselves” as husbands, but it’s so true! A lot of times I have a plan for the way I want things to go, and Elizabeth (my wife) has a plan as well. But the plans are rarely ever the same, and sometimes they’re very different. When I am able to “die” to my desires and let her explain her plan, I realize that her way is usually better than mine. But that’s why we make a good team, we compliment each other’s strengths and fill in for each other’s weaknesses. We learn to rely on each other. 


That’s the way God moves in marriage; He uses us to chisel one another into better, more humble followers of Christ. We learn to love, listen, and lead in ways that we could have never learned without each other.  


Although I haven’t been a husband for too long yet, I have learned that when God is the true center of your marriage, He will bring joy to you and your spouse while bringing glory to His name. When you’re both drinking from the Living Water, your roots will grow deep and stay deep; they will intertwine and grow strong as one. But when you drink from the flesh you are growing roots of the flesh and those roots are toxic to any relationship.


The most dangerous place I can be as player, away from my wife, is alone with no intentionality in my life. I have to be committed to my Christian values and live according to those values. If I want to be a Christ-follower, God must be my life.  If I want to be a great husband, I must put time and effort into doing so.  


You become what you desire to be.  What you feed your mind and your soul with will display itself in your actions and your words.  


“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” -Proverbs 4:23


-David Ledbetter

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