In major league baseball, the Curve Ball is arguably one of the most difficult pitches to hit. With the average break 10 inches to the side and down resulting in a 14 inch move from the original starting place, it isn’t difficult to understand why batters miss this pitch nearly 50% of the time. The challenge for the batter is that the unexpected movement throws off timing, focus, rhythm and momentum.
In life and business we get thrown many “curve balls” in the form of challenges and obstacles along the way. Truthfully, these curve balls can be quite devastating. The challenges cause us to lose timing, focus, rhythm and momentum leaving us paralyzed and ineffective. Dreams are delayed and destiny is sacrificed by the unexpected challenge’s approach and subsequent move through our life.
Some of these curve balls can be quite tragic: the unexpected loss of a job, the unexpected downturn in the economy, the unexpected death of a family member, a failed business…etc. Over the years I have met so many talented people with dreams and aspirations that are stuck in this place of complacency and defeat due to one major circumstance, in some cases even a couple of circumstances back to back, their curve ball. They wreak havoc on a life and quite frankly it’s time to move forward.
Deuteronomy 2:3 says “you have skirted this mountain long enough, turn northward.” In this story God is speaking to the children of Israel and is telling them they have been there long enough it’s time to move forward. Northward represents the Promised Land; it represents destiny and the fulfillment of dreams. It’s time to do something productive and time to make a difference. I believe it’s time to hit your life’s curve ball out of the park.
There’s a secret to hitting this pitch:
- Stay focused on your goal – While you never really know when you are going to be thrown the curve ball, your focus is extremely important. Joey Myers of www.swingsmarter.com says “Keep your eyes focused and avoid drifting”. The same is true with life’s curve ball. Before the curve ball was thrown, you knew where you wanted to go or what you wanted to achieve. Just because you got this pitch doesn’t mean that your destiny has changed. Keep focused on the goal. If you are having trouble focusing, take a mental look back at the last thing you know was right and true. Saundra and I were assigned to a region to pastor a church that was everything but ideal. This assignment nearly devastated us financially, emotionally and mentally. To survive this challenge we had to keep dreaming, keep focusing and keep our eye on our destiny. We knew we were destined to make world impact – yet our circumstances dictated otherwise. We refocused daily and kept our eyes on the fact that our current circumstance was not reality, reality was based on God’s design for our life.
- Get the Mental Toughness to Survive – 2 Tim 1:7 says “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” Focusing here on the sound mind. Life’s curve balls can throw us off our mental game. We start thinking that where we are is all we are meant to have. One of the tricks of this strategy is to cause us to change our mind about where we’re going and what we are to do. We need to hold on to the sound mind. Set our mind to believe that where we are is not where we are meant to be. I remember being challenged by a nearly devastating economic reality. A failed business venture causing us to be swimming in debt and no real light at the proverbial tunnel. Someone said “this is going to ruin you”. That thinking was not in me. I knew this was just a bump in the road. I set my mind and my heart to begin thinking of greatness. I held on to the promise over my life that God had intended me for great things. Don’t let your current circumstances change your mind about what you are to accomplish. Realize that you are something special.
- Realize You Are Meant For Success – Jeremiah 29:11 says “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” God’s plan for us is to prosper us and to give us hope and a future. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to fight a giant or two along the way. While King David was meant to rule Israel, he started by fighting Goliath. Just a short while after being dubbed King, he faced a 9’6” human obstacle that sought to kill him. If you realize that you are meant for success then the current failure or challenge becomes a means to an end. Realizing that you are not destined for failure but for success allows you to position yourself for greatness and to begin creating strategy to move beyond the challenge.
- Take Action – You can’t hit the ball if you don’t swing. Seems simple enough but really the way to hit the curve ball is to swing. There is not one documented major league, minor league, college or high school baseball player that has ever hit a curve ball they didn’t swing at. Take the swing. To hit the curve ball at life you need to take action. Do something that moves you in the direction of your goal. Meet someone new, make another phone call, set up a meeting with a mentor (pastor, boss, business leader), make a plan, spend time in prayer. To hit that curve ball you cannot sit still. This is no time to grow roots and stabilize. This is the time to take action – massive action. I would love to say “strategic action” but honestly the way to hit the ball is to swing. Strategy helps to focus the swing to improve the likelihood of contact, but really it’s about the swing. Don’t let one more moment pass by without doing something that will move you toward your goal.
Life’s curve balls, while unexpected, can be hit. As I stated in the opening paragraph, this pitch is missed 50% of the time, which means that it’s hit successfully 50% of the time. I believe when it comes to life’s curve ball the batting average can climb significantly when you realize that the challenge won’t stop you if you don’t let it. It can be something that will make you stronger when you decide your goals are that important and you get determined to meet them.
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