Jim Sundberg is more than a legendary baseball player. He is a man who is passionate about his faith and sharing it with others. He also happens to be DFW FCA's Executive Leadership Board Chairman. Enjoy this post by Jim below. Click here for more on his blog.
How Practice Reveals Passion
I grew up across the street from a ballpark used by upper level baseball leagues. As early as age five the park became my second home. No one could keep me out of the park! In the summer there was very seldom a time remembered where I wasn’t the first kid in the park and the last one to leave! This is where passion and practice had its original roots.
Friends and I delighted in making smaller fields within the big park so we could hit home runs! This was pure fun and joy, passion’s voice building a foundation on the heart for future accomplishments giving definition to the hearts pathway!
The disappointment of the night game lights turned off was buffeted by the amazing day of freedom found in play and the hope of an early morning gift left behind like Santa at Christmas. The gift wasn’t under a tree, but under something made of its likeness providing dark places and corners camouflage by night shadows until the next morning’s sunlight.
The excitement of the early mornings sun rushing in the bedroom window would straightened me up to race into the park to investigate its possible findings. The quest was to discover if anyone from the previous nights game had left a ball tucked in a dark corner of the many cider blocks stabilizing its foundation. We couldn’t afford baseballs so our only hope of practicing was to find a discarded ball.
All of life is about training! Training to excel in our work, training to be a better mate for our spouse, a better parent to our kids, training to be Christ-like and so on. The earliest memory of training was at age five when I started practicing to be a baseball player! One significant part of training that I have discovered is how closely it is connected to discovering passion. There is very little accomplished in any area of life without a passionate pursuit of something through practice. We practice our passion.
When we train we practice at improving something through repetition. In the process, we also deepen passion within us to continue because our ‘fruits’ of labor encourage us forward. We grow to understand more fully our passions by what we practice. What do I spend my time practicing to become ‘more developed’ or better, in order to excel. Our actions through practice demonstrate where our heart lies.
The bible says in Deuteronomy 6:5, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” What particularly captures me is the word, all. What is the fullness of the word “all”? When applying that scripture to my life I have to ask myself, “What does ‘all’ look like in my life; what does “all my heart, all my soul, and all my might” mean and do I have the discipline to stay there?
A good athlete, a serious athlete, a professional athlete, often understands “all” in a secular way. They have spent a lifetime perfecting their skills through practice and passion, understanding and demonstrating on a field of play what that means. As an athlete I knew experientially what it means to put your all on the line, I know what focused determination looks.
Suddenly the verse took on new meaning when I looked at loving the Lord with my ‘all.’ This verse is directing me to HIS number one priority for us. My foundational responsibility as a believing Christian is to love the Lord with my all; and nothing less. Our constant attention to this releases powerful experience with Him. Not perfection, but consistent pursuit. This spiritual priority requires something of the Holy Spirit not present in the natural man. Only the Spirit can awaken this priority to make God the number one object of our affection.
I thought I came to California to receive physical healing and eradicate cancer but instead I got a something better, more of His empowering presence! God has directed me to come and love Him with “ALL”. This is a wonderful simplistic focus. I’m being trained to practice what it means to simplify life and find true rest in Him; I’ve learned an additional definition and appreciation for Grace, God’s empowering presence that enables me to participate and love each present moment; with cancer, in my relationship with Janet, and with others. All this starts with a foundation of loving the Lord God with ALL my heart, soul and might.
This deeper realization of passion is developing out of my obedience to practice and training, in who He is and wants to be for me!
We practice our passion. What is the object of your practice and training?
Read more on Jim's blog
Posted on Fri, February 3, 2017
by DFW FCA