Growing up I knew what I wanted to be, and I had it all planned out. I would make my big league debut at 20, retire at 40, and then buy a huge piece of property out in the country for me and all my siblings. I was going to buy houses for all of them, pave our own street and call it Horton Boulevard. There was 8 of us so this was going to be a significant investment and obviously I also had to build a house for Mom & Dad. I wasn’t going to be bothered by anyone (except for my family) and coaching was the furthest thing from my mind. I loved playing the game and never once did I ever consider coaching.
Things didn’t quite work out the way I planned. My parents divorced when I was 13 which caused a huge division in our family. Siblings took sides and stopped talking to one another. I moved 2,000 miles away from my hometown with my mom and only saw my dad in the summer. I was depressed, angry, and lonely. Things got worse as alcoholism and drug abuse took a toll on my family. I put extreme pressure on myself when I played baseball and set unattainable standards. This caused anxiety, and by the time I was 26 I walked away from playing the game I loved, never reaching the big leagues.
I didn’t know what else to do so I turned to coaching. I started out enjoying it, but I wasn’t making a lot of money, so after feeling pressured from someone close to me I walked away after only 4 years. I moved back to my home state of Michigan and took a job in sales and management. This also left me unfulfilled and by the time 3 years had passed I got on my knees and prayed for God’s direction. He made it clear and I moved back to Arizona to start my own business….coaching baseball.
The question many of us have is this: When our plans for life don’t work out the way we want, what the heck are we supposed to do? Check out the points below to help you navigate through hard times like these.
Over 10 years ago Aeneas Williams was the guest speaker at my church. He is in the NFL Hall of Fame and is currently a pastor in St. Louis, MO. He gave a message about when you are faced with a situation that you need to start taking the necessary steps towards your goal to accomplish it. If at some point you hit a dead end and you are no longer making progress after multiple attempts, you lay it down and leave the rest to God. Easier said than done, right? As men we are programmed to keep pushing. How do we know when to stop and trust God?
“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”Psalm 34:19, NLT
When I arrived in Arizona all I had was a dream God gave me and a work ethic to get it done. It was hard walking around to youth baseball fields trying to persuade them to give me a chance by letting me put on clinics for their coaches and players. What Cactus Athletics turned into only a few years later was over 1,000 kids being impacted by our coaches in 2009 alone. As the business grew, so did I and in 2012 I was hired by the San Francisco Giants to be a minor league coach. God blessed the steps I look even though it wasn’t the plan I wanted to walk out.
At some point in life, we realize that we can’t do this on our own. We need people to go to for advice and the circle needs to be small. Too much information from too many people will just muddy the waters and then you are faced with “paralysis by analysis”. My go to guys are on speed dial and when I need them they always pick up. Bill and Mike are the ones who have walked the earth longer than me (basically they’re old men) and I speak with them once a week. There are other guys that I speak to monthly, and while they all have some things in common (Christians, husbands, dads) they also are different in their own way which is good. If all the people in your circle are the exact same, you are in trouble. We need people with different perspectives that have the same end goal in mind- helping you.
“Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.”Proverbs 13:10, NLT
Running the business was hard when our boys were born, and I was trying to be in too many places at once. Mike told me I needed to “duplicate” myself and that turned into various forms. First off, we created three instructional baseball DVDs that taught players the fundamentals of baseball. Next it came in the version of me spending time with my coaches and doing my best to develop them versus just delegating tasks. Now I felt more confident that the product we offered would be up to par with my expectations. This led to me spending more time with my family and the ability to still work for the Giants.
God wants to spend time with us, and this is one of the best ways to do it. When you are in communion with God, and you are able to hear His voice it is a beautiful thing. It may not be an audible sound, but you know it’s Him. When He feels distant, and you don’t have clarity on anything you are pursuing it can feel like you are a million miles away from your goal. I have found that when I am working within His will for my life that things fall into place more often than when I am barking up the wrong tree. It’s hard because you really want that squirrel, but it’s just a distraction. God has something better, and we have to trust in His plan for our life.
“This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.”Isaiah 55:8-9, TLB
Between the baseball business and my job with the Giants, I was able to find a new passion and provide for my family. I also had a book published about seeking God’s plan for your life which further blessed us financially. However, once the spring of 2020 rolled around both were gone. My contract was non-renewed by San Francisco and the COVID-19 pandemic crushed Cactus Athletics. Now I feel I am back to square one. I have been on a two-year journey with God praying and seeking for the next step in my life. Every interview with an MLB team has turned into a closed door and our business is still floundering. I have been substitute teaching at my son’s school to help make ends meet, and for the first time in a decade I am looking for work outside of professional baseball.
I don’t know what the next step is in God’s plan for me, but I do know this. I have surrendered my situation to Him, and I am walking towards my goal to provide for my family. I strive to be within His will, and I believe His plan for this next stage of my life will be amazing. Stand with me and pray that God will restore me to a place where I can provide for my family well again. Be blessed and thanks for taking the time to read this today. If you liked it, I wrote a blog with a similar message two years ago. Click on the link to read it.
Here are some things to think about and apply to your life:
- Believe that God has an amazing plan for your life! He created you and wants to bless you.
- Be bold and take risks in areas that you are passionate about. That passion was probably put inside you by the one who created you.
- Build a small circle of friends who you want to hold you accountable. Their wisdom can be life altering so choose well.
- Spend each morning and evening alone with God. He is eager to hear from you because you are his child.
My blog typically goes out on Tuesdays, but this one was delayed. I am speaking on this message at my bible study tonight and wanted to wait to release it. If you are not currently on our email list and you would like to be, scroll down to the bottom of this page and put your first name and email address in the boxes. Then simply tap the sign-up button and you will receive my blog every day that it is scheduled to be posted. Have an excellent day!