Robin Roberts, Buckeye Softball, and the Gap

March 16. Out my window, clouds. Inside, cloudy as well.

There are days when the gap between where I want to be and where I seems HUGE. Today is one such day.

Maybe you know what I mean?

Nothing in particular spurs that feeling…simply a general malaise brought on by some stressful life situations.

There was a time when the gap was caused by FEAR. Growing up, I had very clear ideas about who and what I wanted to be. But I never fully believed in myself. So I let doubts creep in, and I acquiesced to every obstacle. FEAR

Did you catch what I said? I did not believe in myself, in the gifts God has given me. I didn’t want to fail, so I chose not to try. FEAR

Do you know what I mean? Have you been there?

My favorite softball team is in Nashville this weekend, looking to bounce back from a three game losing streak. There is a gap between where they are, and where they want to be. But I am certain the Ohio State Buckeyes are not moping or cowering or giving in to FEAR.

Is it because Head Coach Linda Kalafatis and I are wired differently? That seems like the easy answer.

I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was in elementary school. An English teacher. And I knew, as a child, that one day I would speak and write and people would listen to what I have to say, would be helped by my words. I can’t explain how I knew this by the age of 10…I just knew it, saw it, felt it.

Coach K shared with me that she tried out for the softball team in high school because her best friend did. Chose her college the same way. She wasn’t driven from an early age to be a softball coach. Some experiences in college resonated in her mind: things she would or would not do as a coach to get the best from players. Then, somewhat unexpectedly, she earned the chance to coach. 22 year old grad student, coaching her alma mater.

I don’t yet know Linda well enough to speak of any fears she has. But it is very clear that she goes full speed ahead in all pursuits. If she has any fears, there are overrun – pretty much flattened! She decided to be a Division 1 softball coach, put that goal in her mind, and her focused actions cleared the path. Three job interviews, three offers, now one of the 30 best coaches of all time, closing in on 800 career victories. NO FEAR

The same thoughts occur when watching Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. She had a goal to be on ESPN when there were few women on the network, and none that looked like her. But she ignored all the “facts” and negative comments along the way. Now, after 15 years at ESPN, she has moved on to ABC and is watched by 5 million people every morning. NO FEAR

So what is the difference? Are some people special and some aren’t? No, we are all gifted.

Then why are some able to jump the gap, and others become mired in it?

We could delve into psychological theories and deep introspection about childhood influences, etc. But that doesn’t work. Trust me, I tried it for years. Got me nowhere.

Then I embraced the truth of 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline

Some translations say “sound mind” or “wisdom” rather than self-discipline.

It’s a scripture I had heard or read hundreds of times…which is completely different from embracing it.

Embracing it means accepting that if there is fear, I choose it, allow it, maybe welcome it. Welcome? Sure, because fear encourages me to accept limits and make excuses. FEAR gives me an out. FEAR can start a pattern of circular logic that keeps my mind and emotions spinning, undermining my will and my dreams.

I spent years thinking about, talking about, trying to expel the “demons” that kept me from doing what I knew I should be doing. You’ve probably never done that.

I focused on why I hadn’t done it yet, what was holding me back, how I was different from others, what was wrong with me…ad nauseum

Until the day I embraced this beautiful, painful truth: God never gives anyone a spirit of FEAR, but He won’t stop me if I choose FEAR.

I am no more wired for FEAR than Linda Kalafatis or Robin Roberts. The difference is I have, at times, chosen FEAR, allowed it to make decisions for me, allowed it to encourage me to wallow in the gap rather than pushing out and carrying on.

The past two years have been ones of tremendous personal growth through a difficult circumstance. At this point, I can honestly say I FEAR nothing on this Earth.

Now my task is to eradicate the mess FEAR left behind. And I am, bit by bit.

How about you? Has FEAR left a mess somewhere in your life?

The Ohio State Buckeyes are starting a new winning streak today. NO FEAR in their hearts, minds or dugout!

And somewhere between the second line of this blog and this line, I stopped whining about and wallowing in the gap.

Time to close that gap. Bit by Bit.

Maybe you will join me.

We will talk again soon.

BP 🙂