The fastball hit the catcher’s mitt with a resounding pop, sounding like the cheap firecracker anyone could afford to buy for the standard homegrown 4th of July fireworks show. “Strike one,” yelled the umpire. The pitcher followed up the blazing fast ball strike with a perfectly thrown slider for strike two, completely fooling the batter who was waiting for the fastball. For historical purposes, let the record state that the umpire enjoyed yelling strikes. At least, the batter didn’t have to wait long for the impending doom, strike three, because that happened on the very next pitch. Three pitches in which the batter didn’t even come close to hitting. In fact, the swing was so late on strike three, someone out of the opposing team’s bleacher section offered, “Hey number 12! You got to get the bat going a lot quicker to hit this guy.”
Of course, as you may have guessed, I was the batter in the above scenario. After I struck out, I walked to our dugout making it past the first step when the coach asked, “What did you see? What happened? You didn’t even get a good cut at any of those pitches.”
“I’ll get him next time,” I replied, which I knew deep down was a lie. There was no “getting to him”, and you know why? It was the first time I realized that I couldn’t get the hit I wanted. Sure, there were times when I went hitless in games, but it wasn’t like the above scenario, where I couldn’t even get the bat on the ball. This was a glimpse of what real talent and ability looked like, and I didn’t have it. At the time, I was a senior in high school with dreams to make it to the big leagues, and if I couldn’t make it there, I was hoping to play baseball in college. What a shock as my dream just evaporated.
But…we can do anything, right? Isn’t that what the “Dream Peddlers” say? “Follow your dream. Anything is possible.”
Well, I am living proof that no, we can’t do anything. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t hit that pitcher, the one example of a real prospect I faced my entire baseball career, and guess what? He was the caliber of player that comprises the competition at the next level. There was no overcoming odds with hard work. My bat speed couldn’t handle a fastball at the next level, and any baseball talent scout will confirm that spells doom. Sure, I could improve slightly, but the fact remains I didn’t have the proper baseline ability which would allow the hard work to succeed in achieving the next level.
The lie that we are all created equal is perpetuated at all ages, and I am sick of it. No, we are not. If you are one of those people spouting this fallacy, please stop. There are short people, tall people, beautiful people, not-so beautiful people, and no amount of hoping, wishing, or any other earthly based method can change the genetic hand dealt. I am not going to suddenly wake up one morning morphed into a 6′ 5” body with chiseled features, possessing the ability to run sub 4.5 forty yard dash. Nope, I am stuck with my aging, 5′ 10” frame. Telling someone who spawns from a family where the tallest person is under 6′, where the most athletic thing a family member ever accomplished was running for shelter from a rain storm, to follow his dream of playing in the NBA because everyone is created equal is not sound advice. Parents who do this have doomed their 5′ 5” son with a 10” vertical “leap” to many hours in the gym because “everyone is created equal, and with a little hard work, anything is possible”. Then, the inevitable event happens where the kid gets embarrassed by a player who was dealt the proper genetic hand to play basketball, thus shattering the dream. Hopefully, this event happened sooner, rather than later in life.
Instead of offering the support of chasing any dream, maybe ask God to present the proper dream. Unfortunately, I showed up late to this way of thinking. It never occurred to me to actually ask God to help me find my dream. Here are a few bible verses that point to God knowing what’s best for us, and that he has a plan for our lives. Of course, we have to seek God’s will, though.
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Matthew 6:31-33 – So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
There is nothing wrong with chasing dreams. No, just make sure to mute the voices encouraging the wrong ones.