Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Keep your eye on the ball! If I have heard this once, I’ve heard it a hundred times.
When I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), at the age of 9, the doctor gave my parents some advice. He said, “let her do whatever she can do.” The diagnosis was that I would be blind within 5 years. I didn’t hear this diagnosis until I was much older, but as a parent and now a grandparent, I cannot imagine! Blind in a few years but let her do whatever she can do? I suppose he was saying, “Let her try things, don’t hold her back from doing what other kids her age are doing.” Let her try.
So, through the years, whether it was in PE class, at the park, the golf course or in the backyard, I tried. I tried softball, volleyball, bad badminton, tennis, and golf. I played the flute. I took dance classes, played soccer and ran track.
I tried .
“Look to where you want the ball to go then put your head down, position your feet, grip the club correctly and most importantly, keep your eye on the ball. Focus on the ball, don’t look up to see where the ball is going. Keep your eye on the ball!” How many times did my Dad encourage me with those words?
I suppose, in the game, I wanted to see how far the ball went. I wanted to see my progress and maybe even my success.
But, if I may, I am going to play the vision card here. My lack of sight is real and of course, not seeing well, did keep me from playing professional sports.
And now as I have gotten older, (the age card), I realize my attention span, my mom skills of doing three things at once and even my ability to concentrate has diminished.
But even so, then and now, my eyes are not always on the ball. I get distracted and concerned about how others perceive my ability or my lack of ability. Okay, yes, if I am being honest, metaphorically speaking, I still want to know and be told that I hit the ball well. I know! I know! This lack of focus can keep me from both playing well and being well.
I’m trying - trying to keep my eyes on what is important!
I don’t want to miss his prompting by being so ‘self’ focused. If he wants to use me to encourage someone else today, in the right now, will I get over myself and do it? Or, will I miss the ball by looking for something bigger up ahead? Will I obey his counsel to not look elsewhere for a task more seen by others? Or could it be that the Holy Spirit simply wants to share an ‘ah-ha’ moment with me? Will I miss it? Will I do the unseen work and take the time, really take time to pray for my colleagues, my country and my family that do not yet know the love of Christ? The Bible calls this discipline, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. It is keeping your eye on the ball! It is being in the moment and recognizing his nudges and sensing his nearness. It is doing what is right in front of us. It is sitting still long enough to hear him. It is waiting. It is asking for direction. It is recognizing his leading. It is seeing the big things but not neglecting the small things. It is keeping our eyes on what is right in front of us.
That advice about how to hit a golf ball? It was given to me at a driving range. This is a place where no one is watching, where there are no spectators and no one is keeping score. Truth? I never got very good at the game, but I so want to be good at living a life in the right now, concentrating on the right things. My Dad was right. “Look at what is right in front of you and most importantly, keep your eye on the ball!”
Colossians 3:1,2 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
Lord, thank you for giving me the mind of Christ. Help me to focus my eyes and my attention on you. Help me to sense your comfort, and your courage when I’m worried about my lack of skills. I want to think more about you and your purposes than I do about myself. I want to notice your nudging and obey, even in the small things.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.