The Perfect Swing


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Reposted from Radical Mentoring

In his book, The Boys of Summer, which chronicled the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950’s, Roger Kahn describes the swing of George “Shotgun” Shuba, a bench player, as being as “so compact that it appeared as natural as a smile.” When Kahn mentions this to him, Shuba responds by pulling out a notebook and describing his “natural” swing as the result of …

600 swings a night …
4,200 swings a week …
46,200 swings every winter …
… all using an extra-heavy 44 oz. bat.

Imagine the blisters and callouses built up on those hands (all without batting gloves) as the result of the work that was put in to perfecting his swing. For those unfamiliar with Shuba’s story, they may assume from his “natural swing” that he was born with the ability to hit a baseball. Or maybe they know him for shaking Jackie Robinson’s hand in the 1st interracial picture in professional sports history. These things are easy to understand because we can see them. But they don’t make up the whole story of a guy who worked tirelessly to have a 7-year career and a .259 batting average.

Now consider Moses for a moment … as he leads the Israelites across a parted Red Sea, there were people in his tribe who may have thought Moses was born with the ability to lead people out of harms way, that it came natural to him.

But don’t forgot what those people did not see …

self doubt – “I can’t speak” …
fear – “Please send someone else to do it” …
brokenness that came from 40 humbling years in the desert.

What about the mentor? You know, the man who on the surface appears to have it all together. Happy home, happy wife, happy life. But truthfully behind the surface lies a man whose story has been shaped by real struggles – job loss, the loss of a child, addiction, depression, lust … the list could go on. We all have our own similar struggles, But the mentor recognizes the value of those struggles and how God has used them to uniquely prepare him to speak truth into and to help shape the next generation, to make disciples.

Just as George Shuba’s perfect swing wasn’t developed overnight, we didn’t get to where we are overnight. The truth is we all have a story behind our story. A beautiful story of redemption and salvation God uses to influence the lives of those around us. Rather than hide the embarrassing or vulnerable parts of the story, God invites us to share them with those around us. We can’t take that invitation lightly as we may be the best version of Him those around us will ever experience.

So let’s embrace our entire story – the good, bad, and ugly. Who knows how God will use our past to become a story of redemption and hope for those around us?

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