Let me list a handful of my accomplishments in life:
1. I was the only freshman on the court during the 1997 NAIA Men’s Basketball Final Four semifinal in Nampa, ID.
2. I qualified for the 1998 NAIA Men’s Golf National Championship in Tulsa, OK.
3. I was the Sports Editor of my college newspaper, The Hilltop Monitor, and I was the play-by-play announcer for the football season on 91.9 KWJC.
4. I currently maintain a USGA GHIN of 1.3
5. I’ve sang in barbershop quartets, led worship in front of a thousand people, and built a high school physics program from the ground up.
6. Last week, I schooled my good friend in ping pong and shot 1-under par on the back nine.
Okay, the ping pong thing wasn’t that great of an accomplishment, but it’s fair to say God has given me the talents and abilities to achieve some pretty cool stuff. You would think someone with this résumé would never struggle with self-confidence. But I do.
I have struggled to believe in myself my entire life…literally. It all started back when I began playing competitive, organized baseball when I was six years old.
My dad never had the opportunity to play sports in little league or in high school, growing up in a poor family that required him to work starting at the age of 13 sacking groceries and throwing newspapers. He missed out on all of those opportunities, and he wanted to make sure I didn’t have a similar childhood.
He coached all my teams and recruited the best athletes to make sure we had a great team, and we won a lot of games. We won the little league championship three out of the first four years I played baseball, and two out of four years I played basketball. We won more games than anyone else, and you would think confidence would be second nature at that point.
But my dad had a way of taking credit for all of my accomplishments while holding me responsible for all of my failures. Rather than celebrate my failures as steps towards success, and praising me when I did succeed, he would remind me that he was the one who taught me how to shoot a basketball, how to hit a baseball, but it was my fault when I turned the ball over or struck out.
The result was that I grew up as a talented kid who didn’t believe I was very good at anything, although my trophy case proved otherwise.
On the contrary, in preparation for an upcoming amateur golf tournament, I played a round of golf this weekend with the guy who will be caddying for me. We talked through yardages and read putts together, and we shot my lowest round of the year. Afterwards he commented on how well I played, and that he believed I could shoot much lower next time out based upon what he saw, and hearing him say that gave me more confidence than I’ve ever had. It was an amazing feeling.
In life, we all need someone to believe in us before we ever start to believe in ourselves. We all need someone who can see the talents and abilities God has given us, and who will encourage us to achieve using those talents. We all have the unique talents, we just need someone to believe in us to bring those talents to the surface.
Look around at the people in your world and see who you might have the opportunity to believe in today. If you do, you’ll definitely be the difference-maker in someone’s life the way my friend was for me this weekend.