professional athletics speaker

I’m thankful that God created me with such a passion to play baseball. The quest for a successful MLB career, forced me or positioned me,  in a place to work out my issues. I couldn’t hide from them nor run. I could have quit but that was never an option. The passion drove me to push through my fears and expose light to internal darkness while in the most difficult situations. An internal darkness in the form of isolation and loneliness needing openness, vulnerability and being authentic with God, myself and others. Freedom is found in this place. Peace is forth coming.

I’m sure there has been more people afraid of flying than me. I was trained to be afraid even though neither of my parents had flown. My first flight was during my college years and it was awful; two hours seemed like two days. Nothing bad happened, just me. Anxiety was at a level 10. I was exhausted at the end of the flight. It took nearly three years from that point to get to a better place. But not like the joy of flying I’ve experienced for many years now.

Today I stand with nearly 2M miles on one airline, not including 22 years of employment flying without being granted miles. Probably more like 5-6M miles in the air. The passion for baseball put me in a setting to push through my fear of flying. There was a need to get through it or not live out Gods purpose for my life. Life isn’t easy and comes with struggles especially  when pursing your God given ability. What are your issues and where is your passion to push through lay?

Breakthrough comes when one trusts God well enough or when ones faith has reached a level to invite Him into the trench of darkness, anticipating that some shift will occur. A thread of hope pressing against the heart inviting the Holy of Holies into the moment. An invitation is purely a confession of the heart and acknowledging you need Him, then having others to lock arms in prayer. It’s a statement with the lips, acknowledging where the darkness or lie exists; a lie that one has, “bought into”, about themselves. Stuff like, your a failure, you’ll never mount to anything, you don’t have what it takes, paralyzing fear of many things, anger and unforgiveness, bitterness and on. When you get to the point of acknowledging the strongholds, something good is going to happen , a shift of mindset and heart. Watch Him peel away the cords holding you down, filling the empty places in your heart. I’m thankful for a loving God who wants us to be free of everything holding us back from experiencing more of His love. A love that cast out all fear.

A thankful heart is good, it means God has been at work. Real thankfulness comes in relationship to Him, He turns struggles into today’s joys. I cannot imagine not fulfilling my destiny in baseball because of fear of flying. Thank you Jesus.

When I slip away from a close relationship with Him, I’m thankful for the loving way He gets my attention. He does this in order to correct my course from a bad direction. It’s been painful to experience but always an act of love on His part.

I’m thankful for the freedom I live in today. I’m thankful for loving family, for the things I enjoy, for forgiveness of sin and for Gods unconditional acceptance that took me a while to learn.

Things shifted for me the day I began to realize my Heavenly Father was different than my early father. A deep love and acceptance for how Heavenly Father made me. No more wanting to be like someone else because of a disliked for myself, a result of years of having a free spirit beaten back.

I never liked myself during the early parts of my MLB career because I always saw my performance as falling short of the mark. “Do better, Jim, then you’ll be loved,” was the tune of the day. No matter how well I did I saw myself as a failure. No more failure in GODS EYES, no more performing for my acceptance window.

I accepted Jesus in my life in 1977 in a hotel room in Toronto after reading Hal Lindsey’s book, “ The Late Great Planet Earth”. The conversion didn’t mean everything would be roses. We would loose a baby in ‘81.  My heart needed healing from many things. Some things changed immediately but most have taken years to work through as I release everything to Him.  The process of release is continual. I’m thankful for a relationship with Jesus for it keeps me grounded in truth and protects from the evil one.

Being thankful is a reminder of good things in the past and good things to come. Thankfulness keeps us grounded in Gods goodness. I’m  reminded of how difficult situations turned for the good. Thankfulness keeps the heart in a softened state to be molded into a deeper love for Him and for others. Having a thankful heart does matter.

Be encouraged today!