Points to Ponder: What do you want to do when you grow up?

Points to Ponder
What do you want to do when you grow up?
By Pastor Dennis Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer

Can you imagine becoming a star performer in something that you didn't even want to do? Sometimes what you are called to do - and gifted to do - is something you don't want to do. Many people never find their place, living day to day without a sense of purpose. They know they are missing "something," but how can one put one's finger on a void or empty spot in their soul and say "There it is"? What is it?
There's something out there that you're meant to do; however, finding it seems elusive. Could it be that you have put the obstacles in your own path? That maybe the greatest obstacle is yourself?
During her freshman year at South Hagerstown High School, Ali Higgs played right field on the softball team. If not for her family's interest in it, she might not have played softball at all. As her coaches reflected on the next season's player line up, they tapped Ali to become a pitcher. She said she "wanted nothing to do with it at all;" but her parents shared the coaches' belief in her potential.
They encouraged her and believed in her and supported her as she grew into the position. They kept her in the game, even when she was throwing wild pitches. And Ali was willing to trust them and to learn. By her own estimation, she was not a superior athlete or player, but being trained in an environment where she competed with those who were, she became a star performer.
In Washington County, Ali Higgs was voted the best high school softball pitcher during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. And yet, she had never wanted to be a pitcher at all. She went on to become the most decorated player in Iona College history, where this year she was inducted into the Iona College Sports Hall of Fame. According to Dan Kaufman's article on Higgs (Herald Mail, 4/23/11, 1B), she earned the honor in her first year on the ballot. Today, she is the assistant coach at Jacksonville University.
I wonder where she would be today if she had insisted on remaining in right field at South High. Of course, there's nothing wrong with right field. Every softball team needs someone out there. But if it's your time to leave right field, then it's no longer the right place for you.
Sometimes what you are called to do and gifted to do is something you initially did not want to do. Ali Higgs is a successful coach today, but how could she have known that she could become that? The last one to recognize her potential was her. Sometimes you need to lean on the faith of those who have more faith than you.
"Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instructed you today, even you" (Proverbs 22:17-19).
"Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge" (Proverb 23:12).
Also, it is good to pay attention to what others see in you. Both the good and the not so good. What you mean to say is not necessarily what people hear. Who you mean to be is not necessarily who you are becoming.
"The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, and a man is valued by what others say of him" (Proverb 27:21).
These tough economic times will yield a harvest of opportunity. As people lose jobs and careers, they will be thrust out of their "right field." Playing it safe will no longer be an option. Even doing what you are "good at" may cease to be your vocation.
It could be time to pay careful attention to those options that were no longer - or were never - on the table for your consideration. As you become a new person in this ever-changing world, it is time for new decisions. Listen to people who believe in you. And, as Jesus says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God . . ."
Who knows you better?

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 10:45pm, both days.