step up

Yesterday was July 4th: the day all Americans self indulge in smoked meats, various alcoholic drinks, and spend unreasonable amounts of money (that could be better spent or — perhaps, even given away) on fireworks that just last a few moments. It’s a full day of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (among any other patriotic song created that’s out there), family, fun, sun, the stars and stripes, and most importantly — baseball.

Picture this. Company-wide softball game. Bottom of the fourth (basically the 9th, because there were only 4 innings), two outs, and my name is called to bat.

I can’t tell you the last time I hit a baseball, much less played an intense game of organized softball. It’s never really been my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself athletic — but not in the typical, conventional sense. The “classic” sports have never truly appealed to me (the ones like basketball, football, and baseball), but I’m good to go on the more fun ones (like volleyball, soccer, long boarding, rock climbing).

People are yelling; cheering. I wasn’t planning on playing, so the red dust has gotten all over my feet and my sandals, which aren’t good for running.

I look the pitcher in the eye. He spits. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was to fit the “baseball player” persona, or because he actually needed to.

I hit it, and it’s a hard ground ball off to left field. I make it two bases. And that’s how I spent my 4th of July.

Lately, I’ve been really having some issues with anxiety. I’ve been worried / depressed / anxious about school, my future, and the “long term”.

I’ve had some hard conversations with people I love.

I’m trying to hard to avoid getting stuck in the mundane or routine. Trying so hard to “rise above”. To be someone. To be seen as someone.

Time and time again, I’m reminded that this is it. This is life. This is here and now, and what we do with the time we are given right now is what determines who we are.

God has taught me so much, lately. I’m realizing more and more, and honestly, this summer has been one of the toughest periods of my life. I’m learning the most, growing the most, and that means having to go through the most.

The fact that I’m being attacked with anxiety and negative thoughts is proof that God is doing something very beautiful not just inside of me, but inside this community of believers I’ve found myself in.

Every day, I’m feeling more and more convicted and willing to step up to the plate. To do something that you’ve never done before, to risk failure, to get messy, and to knock it out of the park.

I’m learning that God’s grace is so sweet, that even in the midst of the mundane, we can be so, so joyful.

Life isn’t easy. It’s harder for so many people than it is for me. I have it pretty well. A roof over my head, good company, food, and clothes. Honestly, there’s not much else I could ask for.

But, there are times. And I’m learning that. I’m learning that mistakes are inevitable. I’m learning that a man is somebody that steps up to the plate, spits at the ground, and tries his very best to hit a home run. Either he hits it, or he strikes out and humbles himself, and walks back to the cage with his head up high.

Have hard conversations. Cry. Let yourself feel hurt. Wake up. Breathe. Relax. Make mistakes. Do a few dumb things.

Don’t care what people think. Ask the girl out. Be real. STEP UP.

Move. Change your job. Visit a foreign country without a plan.

Hike in the woods and almost freeze at night. Jump off a waterfall. Tell that person behind you that’s been kicking your seat for the last hour that you’d really appreciate it if they stopped.

Love well. Be present, in the here and now.

Try new things. STEP UP.

God allows us to be courageous. His grace is always present. He loves. Dig into Scripture to find out who He is and what He’s done and doing for us. I’m realizing this little by little every day. We weren’t created to be timid creatures. Wake up.

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