I know regret. Really well. Open doors I walked through turned out to have ugly surprises—a contentious boss, a backstabbing friend, or a guy who just wanted to use me. A new city I thought was the pot at the end of the rainbow revealed a culture not suited to my sensitivities. Worse, people I looked forward to rooming with were abusive.
What I regret most is retreating to default mode: covering up, being false and faking it—to fit in.
However, I’m beginning to see the why of these experiences and I’m regretting them less. Even viewing them as necessary. In every difficult circumstance, I was forced to decide—would I hunker down or inch my way out? My personal freedom was at stake.
The journey of life is about advancing–becoming free to be our true selves–who God created us to be.
“42,” the new movie featuring Jackie Robinson, the first black professional baseball player, is Everyman’s story—Jackie’s, yours and mine. Its theme is moving into greater freedom and in the process, making the rest of the world freer too.
It’s also about being partnered in our quest. Branch Rickie, the GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers, saw the potential of including black players in pro ball. He invited Jackie, a star in the Negro League, to come on over and up.
Experiencing racism on the field and off, Jackie faced the truth that his journey to freedom took him to the pit of hell. The movie shows the opposing team’s coach yelling ugly epitaphs while Jackie was at bat. After striking out, Jackie retreats to the tunnel leading to the locker room. He takes his anger, hurt, and frustration out by breaking his bat into shreds against the wall. He is close to giving up, walking away.
But Branch was there. In the tunnel.
Branch continually coached him, believed in him and paved the way behind the scenes. Held his breath to see what Jackie would choose to do.
Jackie stayed in the game. Won. Freedom.
You have a Branch Rickey in your life and so do I. Our Partner is God. He’s there—inviting, coaching, believing, paving the way and watching to see what we will do.
The key is this: We must see the opportunity in our circumstances RIGHT NOW.
The game is our job or lack of a job, resources or dearth of resources, the place we find ourselves and people we deal with on a daily basis. Our right-now life is training us to live in greater freedom.
1. Stay in the game. Find ways to use your gifts in your calling.
2. Refuse to be a victim. What someone else does or says to hurt you isn’t how you define yourself. You have a purpose and gifts to use in fulfilling it. THAT is what defines you.
3. Let God deal with the wrongs you are subjected to.
4. Make choices every day that move you toward greater freedom:
Get ready to move on over and up.
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photo credit: lakelandlocal (creative commons)
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