Starting Off Right - Adam Wainwright

At the end of each season, I get three or four weeks off to rest. Following the time off, I begin to work out, pushing myself as far as I can go. I need to know what I’ve got in my tank so that when I’m on the mound, I know how hard I can make myself work. And when I’ve reached my limit training on my own, I call in a trainer to push me even farther.


Mental training is just as important as physically training. I’m using a lot of the negative comments being said about me to motivate me to play the very best that I ever have. Many are considering me a little bit too old, or even “over the hill.” They are not expecting me to be able to perform at the level that I have before, but this is exactly the type of motivation I need. Whenever someone says you can’t do something, doesn’t it just make you want it all the more? Working out as hard as I can gives me the mental edge of knowing what no one else can truly know — that I am ready for this season.


Spiritual training is even more important. To train for months on the road, I get into good habits in the offseason. One thing my family and I do is engage in daily Bible reading at the breakfast table together before the kids get ready for school. My wife and I were talking about how we need to give our first fruits to God and I couldn’t help but think that giving my first fruits needed to include my family. So we now have been giving our breakfast time as our time before God, first thing in the morning.


This is a great way to start our day in the Word, going over the different things we learn in Scripture. Whenever we get to a word that my girls may not know, we talk about it. The other day we were reading the passage in Matthew about Jesus being tempted in the desert by Satan after 40 days of fasting, and so, as a family, we discussed what fasting is. I know that my girls are picking up on the truth of the Bible. I see the evidence of it in their lives when they go out to draw with chalk on the driveway. The other day I went out to see Morgan drawing Jesus and Macy drawing a cross. They were drawing whatever they wanted to, and that was Jesus.


Never before have I done my Bible reading in the morning. I’ve always wanted to, I’ve even been envious of my mentors and other men who I see diving into the Word first thing while I’ve been laying down on my bed playing Words with Friends on my phone. I’ve always just tried to squeeze my quiet time in when I could and it always seems to be easier on the road when I have extra time in the hotel room, on a plane, or in a bus. At home, there are always distractions and excuses. It’s easy to just hurry off to school or church and leave it until later, or even the next day. But I’ve been encouraged to avoid opening my phone until after I’ve opened the Word of God and let that truth guide my day.


I want to continue this challenge and give God my first fruits each day.


“Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.” — Exodus 23:19


— Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher


Adam Wainwright is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.


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