I remember a night when I decided to head into the TCU Recreation Center to get an extra workout in. I had so much pent up energy- I just had to get it out. So, up the stairs and to the stationary bike I went. These weren't just any ordinary bikes though. These bikes made the ride virtual- you could choose courses in the desert, through the mountains, or even short sprinting races if you wanted. The resistance and incline increased and decreased based on the maps design- all you had to do was keep peddling.
22 miles later, I finished my race.
I remember getting off the bike just dripping sweat all over the place. I had chosen the mountain course from the expert level options. Why? Great question.
I loved the atmosphere; the dark of night blanketed the landscape outside the massive windows of the building, and all I could hear was the sound of my music playlist through my headphones. Nobody was around to watch. Nobody knew about the work. Nobody was there to ask me about my 22 mile ride just before the Rec closed. It was just me.
But this memory, it's redundant. I spent lots of late nights in the TCU Rec, riding the stationary bike. The same setting. The same atmosphere. The same music. The same heavy heart too. I guess I didn't realize my ambition driven pursuit was headed towards a dead end. But God did.
I rode so many miles on the same bike- third one on the side closest to the stairs- because I was frustrated. More specifically, because I was frustrated with God.
That's what pushed those pedals. The frustrated mindset. The heavy heart. All I saw was smoke, and all I cared about was finding my way out.
But God was gracious with me. "By grace through faith in Jesus Christ" I've been saved, and by His grace this story doesn't end on a stationary bike. Friends, I can't boast about my heart, but I can boast in Him. So please, allow me...
Every year my teammates and I get to pick "walk-outs" which are songs that play when you come up to bat or when you warm up on the mound before the inning begins. And I've always been a music fanatic; I love music, and I'm a big lyrics guy too. Needless to say, I take choosing my walk-out pretty seriously.
So I had been praying about what song to choose for this upcoming season. As silly as it may sound, even a decision as small as this one was put on my heart to be brought before my Heavenly Father. I dug through all kinds of music I've never heard of, hoping and praying I would find the right song. It would just click for me, you know? Typically, I'd have this song chosen by mid-fall, maybe Thanksgiving at the latest, but it's mid January and I still didn't have a clue.
I had just finished reading "Rise" by Trip Lee, and I loved it. So, I decided to dig into Trip Lee's older stuff. Almost immediately, my hair stood on end- I had found my walk-out.
What I realized in that moment was I hadn't been praying to find my walk-out song...I had unknowingly been praying for my heart. I had unknowingly been praying God would give me peace about my focus for this spring. He did.
Last year, I chose "Lazarus" because of how well the lyrics reflected what God had done in my time at TCU.
I had been out for a long time. 25 months, with a 5-run 1/3 of an inning to snap the streak. I was practically dead in the baseball world. High School was over. My reputation was gone. All I had to my career at TCU was an injury-ridden history and a 108.00 ERA. But God wasn't done with me. He loved me enough to refine me by fire- He cared more about my heart than my baseball career, even if I didn't at the time. The Lord was faithful, my history was in His Hands, and every time I took the mound at Lupton Stadium I was moved by the same words...
The story of Lazarus is found in John 11. The Word says Jesus loved Lazarus. The Word also said Lazarus died of an illness...until Jesus had something to say about it. Jesus came, 4 days later, He wept because of the weight of what had happened and how it affected so many around Him, and He simply spoke..."Lazarus, come out." Lazarus came out, wrapped in cloths and all. Lazarus was alive; Jesus woke him up.
And last year, what I wanted people to know every single time I took that ball was that Jesus woke me up too; because of His love I have life.
No longer do I question why God called me to TCU. No longer do I wonder why I walked through years of waiting. No longer do I care about accolades, records, fame, or personal gain. And no longer do I push those peddles late at night in the TCU Recreation Center.
I've been given freedom because of His Spirit in me. It's all about glorifying God and making the Great Name of Jesus Christ known. Whether it's on the mound, in the weight room, in the classroom, at my house, or somewhere in this world...the Gospel drives me- my dreams are built on Jesus Christ, my Rock. When I think about what's changed from my freshman year to today, I'd simply say..."I have new dreams."
So, if I'm on the mound and you happen to catch the first inning of a TCU game this season, listen closely to the words being blasted from the loudspeakers...
The dreams I had going in, aren't the dreams I have going out. By His grace, I have "New Dreams" now, and they're rooted in the King of Glory, the Savior of the World, the Chosen Son of God- Jesus Christ.
God bless you, wherever you may be found today in this journey we call "life."