Baserunning should be so simple. It shouldn’t require the hours spent on it at practice. Hit the ball. Run hard to first. Hit the front part of the base, or make a turn and hit the inside.
It should be so simple. But it’s not.
Teaching it to players of all ages (tee ballers through college…I’ve done it all) is more difficult than it should be. Players running through first hit the middle or back side of the base, they miss it entirely on a turn, they chop their feet and slow themselves down, and make a plethora of other mistakes. Why?
It comes down to one simple thing: they aren’t focused on where they want their feet to take them. Instead, they’re distracted by the ball, a fielder, the first base coach, people yelling from the stands, or whatever. All the while, the player has one job: get through or around first base as quickly as possible. That, of course, requires the most efficient route. And the most efficient route depends on the player’s eyes and feet.
Proverbs 4:25-27 puts it this way…”Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil.”
If a player doesn’t hit the correct part of the base, he most likely wasn’t looking at the correct part of the base from the moment he left the batter’s box. His eyes were elsewhere, his gaze not directly on the target.
Obviously, this proverb highlights the importance of this metaphorically in life. Here are a few questions for personal evaluation in these areas.
What are your goals? If they’re merely about what you hope to accomplish on the field, you have no vision beyond your playing and coaching days. And, from experience, I can tell you your playing and coaching days won’t last forever. If your goals don’t include the elements of your spiritual maturity, your character, your current or eventual family, and the things that will last forever, your gaze is on the wrong things. So, what are your goals? How deep and long-lasting are they? That will give you an idea of where you’re heading.
What does it take to get you off track spiritually? Does your commitment to Jesus depend on who you’re around in a given moment, the latest thing trending on social media, or the image you’re trying to portray to everyone? If so, you’ve already found it easy to “turn to the right or left.” If your life’s gaze is not fixed on Jesus, your path will be a winding and ever-changing one.
In what ways do you want to be most “established”? Reputation, performance, expertise…what is it for you that simply must be established and upheld in your mind? Take some time and evaluate which of those things for you line up with what God wants established in your life (see Galatians 5:22-23).
Finally, regarding your goals, what will you do to achieve them? If your answer is “whatever it takes,” be sure those goals are based on a biblical worldview or you’ll find yourself quickly justifying even the most ungodly means to accomplish them–your foot will turn quickly to evil, instead of quickly away from it.
Lord Jesus, establish me in your love, grace, humility, and way of life. May nothing else matter more to me than that. Keep my eyes fixed directly on you. Amen.