I was recently at a men’s bible study and some of the questions that were posed to us really hit home. The topic of comparisons came up and we were asked if we could trade lives with anyone else in the world, who would that be? As the men at my table started to rattle off the names of famous people, I realized how fortunate I am and thankful for what God has blessed me with. My wife, kids, friends, health, and the opportunity to coach professional baseball all came to mind. Sure, it would be great to have a few million in the bank like a famous athlete, but not if it meant spending my life without Taleen, Connor, and Bryce.
As we continued our conversation some of the guys got stumped by the following statement- Where comparison begins, contentment ends. We started to break it down and decided that when you start comparing your life to others and desire what they have, you move into a place where you are no longer content. Instead of being happy with what you’ve been blessed with you are envious of someone else. Comparing your belongings is one thing, but start doing that with your wife…..that’s a dangerous place to go brother and I guarantee you it’s not from God. Be careful that you don’t become the victim of an identity thief.
Understanding Who You Are
When I was a coach with the San Francisco Giants I didn’t wear a cross. I wanted the coaches and players to realize that I was a Christian by the way I acted and not because they saw an emblem around my neck. Eventually guys would approach me and ask questions. They knew there was something different about me. What they saw was Christ inside me and it led to some great conversations about my faith. From that moment I was identified as a Christian who coaches baseball, not a baseball coach who is a Christian.
When you put Christ first in your life, you identify yourself with Him in everything you do. If baseball is taken away from me, I still have Christ. Baseball is just a job. It’s not who I am and doesn’t define me, Christ does. This wasn’t always the case. When I was younger, I used to put the game first. It took a lot of experiences over the years to re-shape my perspective on life. Now baseball comes a distant third in my priority list behind my faith and my family.
Understand Who is Out to Get You
Identity theft is rampant in today’s world. When someone tries to steal your identity, they can do a lot of damage and it can take a long time for you to come back from it. Your identity is important because it defines who you are. I would venture to say that your character and identity are very close knit. John Wooden is one of the greatest coaches of all time and one of his famous quotes is, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” There is someone always lurking out there who wants to make sure your identity is wrapped up in everything the world says is important and you need to make sure you fight against it.
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”John Wooden
Satan is the father of lies and if you are doing things that glorify God, he wants to destroy it and bring your character and integrity into question. He wants your identity to be wrapped in things like your career, possessions, and status. His voice is the one you hear when you’re not good enough or what you have is never enough. Excess is always better and by motivating you to always want more, you end up spending less time with your family. You end up being the guy in the song “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin whose son has no time for him when he grows up because the dad was always busy when his son was young. Clowns, ventriloquist dolls, and mimes all give me the willies, but my biggest fear is being that guy.
Here are some things to think about and apply to your life:
- Prioritize your life and think how decisions today will affect your family in the long-term.
- Be efficient with your weekly schedule and make sure to plan time with your family every week.
- Have set work hours. Put your phone and laptop away when you get home and be present with your family.
- Make sure you take at least one complete day of work and focus on God and your family. It’s called a sabbath and its biblical!
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