I anticipate this year to be one full of joy. In 2017, the Lord brought so much joy to me and into my game; I was able to play freely and have a lot of fun. Last season I was a bit blinded by the unexpected, but this year I want to choose joy and enjoy the game no matter what situations come. It goes by fast, and I’m very thankful I can be healthy and play the game I love.
In 2017, God gave me an unbelievable gift of perspective. I realized if we go 0-4 or 4-4, I am a father. If we go 0-4 or 4-4, I am a husband. My wife is amazing and always allows me to try to be as good as I can be by working hard and long. She doesn’t complain about anything, even though I can sometimes get wrapped up in the game. I care so much about my team but there are times when I need to step back and realize there’s only so much I can do. If I’m able to lay my head down at night and say I’ve worked hard and was able to enjoy what I’ve done today as gifts given to me by God, then the results don’t matter. If I try to live my life for the next at bat, or live my day focused solely on the four at-bats I will have, that’s when I get in trouble. That’s when I place an overemphasis on the game.
God gave us the weapon of Scripture to fight against these temptations. God’s Word is not just a book of stories. It’s alive and active! Ephesians talks about putting on the armor of God as a skilled weapon. When we’re getting distracted or pulled in another direction, Scripture is able to ring through our lives and help us see clearly. All it takes is grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning with Jesus and letting Him pull you back in the right direction — the direction He wants you to go in. Through a crazy, fast-paced, high-demand, high-stress season, there is a quiet peace found when the Holy Spirit meets with me. Maybe it’s five, 10 or 30 minutes that day. Whatever I can take with Him is all I need to give me the strength for the day.
As I read through the book of John, I am struck by the fact that Jesus calls us His sheep. He says that His sheep hear and know His voice as He calls to them. If we are willing to listen, Jesus is willing to talk. If we truly are His disciples, we will hear His voice and be driven to constantly seek Him.
This year, I’m seeking God to help me be a better leader for my family and for my team. To do this, I know I need to be a servant. God has convicted me this offseason to get more involved and serve others — not just as a one-time deal. I’m not talking about going on a missions trip for a week (though that is great and I love doing that). I want to consistently wake up and ask, “How can I serve someone today?” Whether that’s my wife, my son or my community, God has placed this on my heart and it’s been an incredible blessing for me to answer that call. By serving others, I’m able to experience and better understand the humble leadership of what Christ did for us.
What is God challenging you to do for others this year?
— Steven Souza, Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder
Steven Souza is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Steven’s full profile on The Increase: https://theincrease.com/author/stevensouza/
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