"Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up." (Proverbs 12:25)
The road of life is paved with opportunities to worry, and life in baseball is no different. Players and families are often faced with anxiety regarding performance, worries of an upcoming move or trade, or how to begin a life outside of baseball. No one is exempt. We know how we feel for our husbands when success on the field seems near impossible. We worry for them when a move is imminent and the details are messy. We are anxious as we wait for a contract offer, but one never comes, and we must begin a new life.
The worry and anxiety I experience in baseball is familiar. I have felt it often, and I can perfectly recall the feeling, even in a time of success. It's common to me, as it is to other families in the sport. I can almost feel my burden becoming heavier as I take on the worries mentioned above. Add to that the burden of normal life circumstances, and the weight can become too much.
Years ago, when pack animals were loaded down with their goods, the handlers needed to know just how much each animal could carry. They knew that if they loaded their animals with even one pack too many, they risked injury or loss of strength. As the verse above suggests, worry can be that final pack for us. If we take on worry as we go along in life, we may eventually have a spiritual collapse. A worry here + an anxiety there makes for a heavy load.
The good news is that we can shed the burden of worry! We can call on God for help and trust in him because we know that He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7). We can help each other, too. The face of baseball anxiety is an easy one to spot. We bear a common burden, so look for ways you can encourage others when they are burdened with these cares. Point them in the direction of the God who calmed your fears and offer them encouragement.
One word in the right place is like removing the pack from an overburdened animal trying to climb a mountanside. Seek God in worry and encourage someone today!
Prayer: Dear Lord, in the up-and-down of baseball, help me to seek you before becoming anxious. In Your hands, I know we are taken care of. Help me to trust you and fill me with your peace. Also, Lord, help me to recognize the same worry and anxiety in others. Give me the word or gesture that can only come from you so that they may share in that peace and feel Your presence.
Suggested Reading: Matthew 11:28-30