In the Bullpen

One of the mild traumas of my childhood was that I was the youngest. I wasn’t just the youngest in my household, but it felt like I was the youngest person on earth. My Mom taught high school at that time, and when you teach high school in a small town, school becomes an extension of home. We were at Hallsboro High School all the time. Before school. After school. At night and on weekends. I even have early memories of Mama’s female students carrying me around ball games on their hips like little junior mothers. But once I passed the phase that I was “the baby” and was cute enough to be carried, I immediately wanted to be a teenager like they were. I wanted to be instantly grown up. And it hurt my feelings so much to be left behind, or to have words spelled over my head, or “mature” jokes laughed at when I couldn’t understand them.

I think it’s natural for kids to want to be older than they are. But I have to admit that I still have a tendency to want to be further along in the process than I am. If I get hurt, I don’t want to take time to heal. If I’m learning a skill, I want to jump in and test it before I’m comfortable with it. And when someone wiser than I am tries to hold me back, I get so incredibly frustrated.

As I was reading our latest chapter of Bob Sorge’s The Fire of Delayed Answers, I came across this excerpt:

“One of the most painful dynamics of the prison season is the feeling of being excluded from everything God is doing around you. You sit and watch others progressing in God, rejoicing in the Lord, moving about with great freedom and fruitfulness. And here you sit.”

This is a feeling that I’m familiar with, but as I was reading it this week, I made a kind of a peace with it, because for once, I didn’t see it as punishment or being held back. Instead – please forgive the sports analogy – I saw it as being “in the bullpen.” Not being punished, but being prepared.

Being prepared for what?

To play. #baseballmetaphor

To deal with the difficult situations I face in life. (For instance, currently, a leak in my house, working long hours, the re-emergence of the cold/rainy season in the Pacific Northwest, and trying to survive on a threadbare shoestring of a budget… Just to name a few.)

But mostly, to do whatever it is that God wants me to do and to make Him look good while I do it.

So, okay, I can cope with being in the bullpen. Because when I come out, I’m going to be ready to win the game. With lots of help from my teammates. And My Coach.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion about Bob Sorge’s book “The Fire of Delayed Answers.” You do not have to read the book to get involved in the discussion. But if you did write a response to this week’s chapter, you can link it up at the widget below. And then, run over to my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen’s place to see what he has to say. 


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  1. Preparation time is hard – like any kind of discipline is. Learning to play baseball? Easy. To play it well? Difficult – and the same is true of any instrument, as well as learning all over how to live as He wants us to 🙂

    Nicely done, Sarah 🙂

  2. I’m in the bullpen too. This chapter gave me new perspective about that. I have renewed hope and joy as I wait. I’m like you and I like to rush ahead, but being in the bulllpen is a great place to be, when it’s God who puts us there.

  3. Definitely sounds better to be in the bullpen than in the prison, but I guess it feels about the same when all you want to do is be OUT and doing something. It’s a great analogy. We are being prepared for something and it’s always beyond what we think it is. Jealousy, anger, and all that other stuff will derail us, but seeing where we truly are and even glimpses of where He’s taking us is a beautiful blessing for sure. Thanks Sarah. 🙂

  4. Have you ever played racquetball? You are in a small enclosed room with a rubber ball that can travel at speeds upwards of 100mph. It whizzes and wings, and sometimes it splats. Depending on your opponent, you may be wanting nothing more than to exit the room before the match is over while you are still in one piece.

    But to win, it’s necessary to stay on the court and in the game. It can scare you. It can hurt. But it is needed, and the more you play the better you get.

    I’m done rambling now. 😉

  5. Sarah Salter says:

    TC, I’m glad to know I’m not in the bullpen alone! Thanks for coming by! 🙂

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, I’ve seen coaches leave players on the bench for a long time — not because they aren’t good enough to play, but because their attitude isn’t right. I need to remember that sometimes and adjust my attitude. 🙂

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, if I had ever considered playing racquetball before (I hadn’t), you just changed my mind. 😛

    Ramble here anytime!

  8. Sarah, it’s hard not to like your writing style. It’s clear, personal, concise and usually leaves me with a few questions for myself. For example, is there a place in me that resists maturing because of the desire to skip a few grades? Yep. Most certainly. Every time I run into that side of impatient side of me, I think of the first part of verse Titus 2:11: “the grace of God teaches us.” There is something funny about the patience and love of God. How He stands in the gap of our “now and not yet” of maturity and provision. He is the gap filler. He is the mediation. He is our coach. He adores you, has His eye on you and is so proud of you.


    Another Southerner,

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