“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” — Ephesians 4:29
How teammates speak to one another affects a team in a major way. The way you speak shows your true colors in a sense. I’ve been on teams where, if guys don’t like each other, they continually talk badly about each other behind their backs. If this is a reality on your team, you’ll go nowhere. With no one cheering each other on, there’s little motivation or camaraderie on the field. On the other hand, I’ve been on teams where guys love and care for each other, continually building each other up with their words and actions. This is what makes up a good team.
A coach’s job is to build up their team. Yes, they are there to help you in certain practical aspects of your game, but the greatest thing a coach can do for a player individually and a team as a whole is to stay positive about each person. In the same sense, the greatest thing you can do for yourself is to be optimistic even when you have a bad game or a rough season. It’s a lot easier to do this if you have friends, teammates and coaches who are there to talk you through the hard times. A good friend will speak truth and encouragement to you with or without their words. Sometimes, acts such as listening or just being nearby are as powerful as words.
If you get into a rut of thinking or speaking negatively about yourself or others, you can find yourself spiraling into an unhealthy mindset. But if you choose to think and speak positively, despite your circumstances, you have the power to build yourself and others up. If you’re able to do this, even when you are physically alone, you can remain optimistic.
Throughout the years, I’ve had many conversations with teammates who are Christ-followers about the blessing of having God on our side. I really don’t know how those who don’t believe in the Almighty God get through a bad game or a rough season on their own. I know for myself, even when I have a hard game, I can go to God and know that I’m unconditionally loved and accepted — that I have a greater identity and purpose than what I find in the game of baseball.
Positivity with your words is a very important aspect of life and baseball, but there’s a difference between staying positive and lying to yourself. If there is work to be done that is causing you to remain in a destructive cycle, you must do the work. This is called repentance. You can be upset with yourself for sinning, and as believers, we know that we will be granted forgiveness for God every time we ask for it, but there comes a point in time when you have to make a change. You have to confront the issue and turn from that behavior.
We can only do this with the help of God. This is what forces personal growth in our walk with God. When we know we can do better, and trust Him to be at work within us, we can become more Christlike.
By the grace of God, with the power of speaking truth and love over ourselves and others, we can experience the true nature of God and the purpose He has for us.
— Daniel Norris, Detroit Tigers pitcher
Daniel Norris is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Daniel’s Increase profile here.
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