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Get Control of your Life: Be the Bat Not the Ball of the Game

Get Control of your Life:  Be the Bat Not the Ball of the Game

There are many types of people in life.  Some are warm and fuzzy, reminding you of sitting in front of a cozy fire on a freezing cold day.  Others are rough, like sandpaper and seem to cause us pain whenever we are around them.  Whether people are sweet, harsh, or somewhere in between, any one of them can take control of your life, IF you let them!  In order for us to enjoy our lives to the fullest, we need to remain in control of the game.  We need to be the bat and not the ball.  We need to guide decisions when it comes to our personal lives.  Do you want to know why?

controlDirk Ziegener/ Freeimages.com

Negative Emotions will Surface

When I was working on my dissertation, I needed to obtain permission from a group so that I could ask their members to participate in my research.  I contacted one of the group administrators early in the process and he agreed that his group members would be good candidates for my research.  But when the time came to get an official approval, he asked another member of the group to review my proposal.  The woman wrote me back a nasty letter telling me that my work was inferior.  She indicated that I would have to do major revisions before the group could even consider my proposal.

The comment took me completely by surprise.  I had already had 4 doctoral professors approve my work, which I had been revising for nearly 2 years.  Needless to say, my volcano blew!  My negative emotions rose to the surface and temporarily took over my life.  This happened because I let this woman’s comments and her roadblock take control of the situation.  I allowed her to be the bat and I became the ball, being tossed to and fro.

The reality was that these comments were nothing more than one person’s opinion.  Not to mention that with any roadblock, there is usually a detour not too far away.  After cooling off a bit (and speaking to my dissertation chairperson), I found a detour that worked very well, perhaps even better than the original plan.  And I had the opportunity to develop my letter writing skills.  I composed a professional response regarding my disappointment with the decision that had been made.  I refused to be the ball and instead insisted on becoming the bat.

Missing Out on What’s Best

As much as many of us might wish, as humans we lack the ability to be more than one place at a time.  The same is true of trying to do more than one thing at the same time; it’s just not possible if we want to do it well.  For example, have you ever been at a dinner party where two or more conversations are going on at the same time?  Although you may want to participate in both, you just can’t.

Another reality is that if you say yes to something that you really did not feel you should be doing, you won’t be available when the right thing does come along.  Take marriage for example.  I had a friend who didn’t think he should settle for someone to marry.  If he did settle for less than the best, he would not be available when the best knocked on his door.  The moral of that story is that if you say yes to Mrs. Wrong, you won’t be available for Mrs. Right.

If you say yes to Mrs. Wrong, you won't be available for Mrs. Right. Click To Tweet

Robbed of the Blessings of Submission

The word “submission” brings up strange feelings in most of us these days.  We feel that if we are forced to submit, we have been robbed of our freedom.  But have we?  If you’re a slave, or a prisoner, then yes you have had many freedoms taken away from you.  But if you willingly submit to someone, you have not been robbed; you have made decision to allow someone else to take the lead.

Submission is a biblical principle but it also makes a good deal of common sense.  We’ve all heard that “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.”  That quote applies to many areas of life besides the kitchen.  Any two people are likely to have differing opinions on a matter.  If you have more than two, you’ll have even more opinions floating around.  So how will decisions be made?  How will progress happen in the midst of differing viewpoints?  It probably won’t work very well.

That’s where the blessings of submission start to happen.  If you’re not the one selected to be in charge or the primary decision maker, then you get to kick back and let someone else carry that burden.  On the other hand, if you are the “Big cheese” and carry the brunt of the responsibility, you won’t have to prove your point or fight for authority.  So, when one person (or many) willingly back down and let the appropriate leader do their job, everything works better.  If you allow society to tell you that you should never submit to anyone, then you’ll be the one being robbed of the blessings of submission.

Being a Bad Example

Would you be all right with your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews being forced into the family business, part of an arranged marriage, and playing an instrument and sport that was chosen for them?  While in some cultures, part of a person’s life is determined by a relative, this is not commonplace here in the United States.

Sometimes our words show others how we think or feel about a certain topic.  But other times our actions do all the talking.  If you hand yourself to be the ball to an undeserved batter, you are showing other people in your life that you think this is an acceptable way to behave.  It’s important to consider the lessons you are instilling in others through what you choose to do.

Reflection Questions

  1.  Who runs your life?  If it you personally or someone you have willingly chosen to submit to?
  2. Have you been noticing negative emotions spilling over in your life because you have too little control over your circumstances?
  3. Are you ready to start making some much-needed changes in your life that will allow you to stay more in control of the path you take?

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  1. Thank you, Dr. Terri for this post! It came at a good time for me. The images of bat and ball really help me think about the boundary issues in my life in a new way. Plus, the idea that you can only experience the blessings of submission if YOU make the decision to do so is a watershed idea which I will be using in my pastoral work with people.

  2. Hi Blaik, thank you for sharing how meaningful this was for you! I do hope it will be useful in your future pastoral work!
    Many Blessings, Dr. Terri

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