Monday, April 7, 2014

Out of My League

            Many years ago, while I was at a women’s Bible study, an attractive, professionally dressed woman sat down next to me and started talking. I could tell she came straight from work, as she was wearing high heels with her matching suit and coordinating jewelry. I felt frumpy wearing my stay at home mom clothes, jeans, t-shirt and tennis shoes.  The woman was friendly and we instantly hit it off. Sometime during the conversation, she asked me if I had ever played softball. Wanting to stay in the conversation, I told her I played intramural softball in college. She seemed very impressed, “In college? Really?”  Again, I tried to emphasize, that it was intramurals, and not the real college team, but I don’t think she caught that. She told me how she played softball every year while growing up, and played all four years in high school. I had a hard time picturing this meticulously put together woman, with her beautiful acrylic nails playing softball.
            The next thing I knew, she was inviting me to be part of a new team some of her friends were forming. It would be in the women’s church league. She said it was just for fun and not very competitive. Wanting to be her friend, I agreed to play.
            The first meeting of the new team took place in a small office. One of the gals was wearing  spandex softball pants with extra padding on the legs. She had definitely played a lot of softball. She opened the meeting by asking us to go around the room and say our names, what position we played, and if we slide?  Slide, as in laying your body down in the dirt, skidding on your hip to touch the base.

The other women laughed, but it seemed the spokeswoman, who was the coach, was serious. I started sweating in the crowded room. As the other women went around and spoke of their years of playing softball and which position they played, and yes, most of them could slide, I drew a blank as to how I should answer.
             My new friend told the other teammates, that I had played in COLLEGE, leaving out the part about it being INTRAMURALS. Intramurals was like a pick up game for guys and girls from the dorms to hang out and meet each other.  All the training I had was when an upper classman put his arms all the way around me to show me on how to hold the bat. I didn’t know what position I played.  Since it was co-ed, they stuck me in the outfield. Whenever a ball was hit my way, some fast guy would run over and yell, “I GOT IT!”  catching the ball with his glove right in front of my face. I don’t think I ever actually touched a ball, during a real play.  I certainly never slid into a base. 
            The first day of practice, the other women wore professional looking softball pants that they could slide in, and cleats. I wore my running shorts and tennis shoes. I was way out of my league on that team. I struggled through the season, mostly sitting on the bench. As humbling as it was to be the worst player on the team, I learned a lot about how to play softball.
            I admired those women. Not only were they great softball players, but they were very kind to a novice like me. The truth is they had a lot of things I did not have. They were taught how to play the game from a very early age. They had practiced 20 years more than I had. So, at the start of this new season they were prepared to slide, should the opportunity arise.
            Isn’t that how it is with Christianity? Some of us are new to the game. We would not know how to slide, or share our faith, if we had to. Some players are taught from an early age what it means to love God and live for Him. Some players have practiced living out their faith for years. They have learned to rely on the Heavenly Coach. They know how to pray and what the Bible has to say. When called upon to help someone, who is lost and searching, these players are the ones who can share how to have a relationship with God.
On the softball team, the women had
                                                 and Planned
                                                                              to slide.
The Bible says,  “We need to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within us.”
We won’t be able to do that unless we
Prepare, by knowing the truths in the Bible.
                       Practice sharing our story and the great things the Lord has done.
                                                        and Plan to share with others about our faith.
            Be ready. Someone needs the hope that we have. We do not want to be caught off guard, not knowing what to say, like me showing up in running shorts when the game required sliding pants.
            I only played one season with that team. I learned a lot, and moved on to a team that was as new to the game as I was. After several years of being taught the game, practicing, and planning, I got better. I only hope in life, I am as prepared to share my faith, as those women were prepared to slide.

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