Swing Like No One is Watching

Swing Like No One is Watching

March 11, 2016

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

Week after week I watch my boy strap on his helmet, grab his bat and walk trembling to the batter’s box. Each time the ball comes, he stands paralyzed, unable to move. Starting Little League baseball as a rookie 10-year-old can be quite intimidating, especially in a small Texas town where most of your teammates have been playing since birth.

But something about this night feels different. I watch him strap on his helmet, grab his bat and walk — still trembling — to the batter’s box. He digs his cleats in a little deeper, grips his bat a little tighter and stares with a determined focus at the pitcher. This time when the ball comes, he sends it flying into the outfield.

This new baseball mama wants to jump over the strategically placed barrier fencing between us and tackle #21 as he slides into third base. But wisdom (and my husband) encourage me to practice restraint. So instead, I yell like a crazy woman from my side of the fence.

What made this night different?

I can’t say for sure, but maybe my boy decided he finally felt ready. Or maybe, as evidenced by his still trembling knees, he felt afraid but decided to push through the fear that kept him paralyzed all season, frozen in the ready position. Maybe he decided to swing the bat like he did every evening at home in the absence of his peers and opponents.

Maybe he decided to swing like no one was watching.

The truth is, my boy isn’t the only one who has stayed frozen in the ready position by fear and intimidation. I have too often given in to this enemy who wars against purpose and potential. I have sometimes walked to first base but rarely have I risked it all at the chance to get in the game and bring my teammates home.

Maybe you can relate. You’ve trained, prepared and spent intimate moments with Jesus about this thing you’ve been called to do, but your arms and feet just won’t move. It feels too big, too risky.

Like trusting God with your marriage.

Leading a Bible study.

Sharing Jesus with your neighbor.

Or writing a book.

The Words from our own Coach, God Almighty, challenge us to “be strong and courageous.” They command us to “not be terrified or afraid,” and remind us “the LORD your God goes with you.”

Whatever the assignment before us, no matter the opposition against us, God is always with us. And the opposing team is put on notice when we choose to act even when our knees tremble.

Two innings later as my boy steps up to bat, we hear a voice from the outfield nervously yell, “Big hitter!” and the whole team takes a step back.

The enemy goes scrambling when we choose courage over fear.

When we believe God will do what He says He’ll do, we can do what we’ve been called to do.

When we swing the bat like no one is watching, preparation and purpose explode in God’s power.

Dear Lord, Thank You for creating me with purpose and empowering me to do the things You’ve called me to do. When fear tries to intimidate me and my knees start to tremble, remind me that You are with me. Let courage and strength be my companions. Help me push past every obstacle preventing me from playing my part in Kingdom-building here on earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (NLT)

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (AMP)

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Today’s devotion author, Shelly Faust, is a member of COMPEL, a monthly membership program for those who want to write words that move people. Learn more today!

What is one thing God has asked you to do but you’ve been afraid to do it?

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what is keeping you from moving forward. What can you do today to take that first step of obedience?

© 2016 by Shelly Faust. All rights reserved.

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  1. The Lord has given me a creative mind and a love for writing. He’s been pouring His truth into me and has been calling me to share it with others through my writing, however, my fear and doubt sometimes keep me trembling at the batters box. Only by the strength of His Spirit have I continued to keep swinging. Thank you for your wonderful and encouraging words, this was a refreshing message for my weary soul. God bless.

  2. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.


    When it’s put that way……

    God means what He says and says what
    He means.

    Who are we to stay frozen in ” the ready position?”

    Thanks for the thoughtful devotion.

  3. I’m about to start my dissertation and it provides me an opportunity to make His name famous. I feel such a responsibility to get things right that I sometimes struggle to start the initial process of forming a committee, etc.

  4. Complete my Masters degree and step up into leadership roles both at work and in church.

  5. God calls us to be kingdom builders. I do not share the gospel enough. I am challenged. God calls us to not worry- I am challenged to walk in more faith.

  6. Shelly, I absolutely love your post because this is something I struggle with every day. I am able to go through all the preparations but often I am afraid to make the final plunge into a new venture. I don’t always feel very brave and wonder if I will have what it takes to make things work without embarrassment.
    I read Philippians 1:20-21 the other day in a new light. Paul was convinced that he would in no way be ashamed but be given sufficient courage to do what God asked Him to. In this way he would glorify God whether in life or death. I am going to ask God to help me swing my bat like no one is watching. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Sandra. I’m so thankful we can move forward in faith despite how we feel! Prepare, prepare, and then swing your bat, sister! Watch God do for you what you cannot do for yourself! 🙂

  7. You’re right, Shelly. But it is more than not seeing the crowd. It is also seeing the hands of Christ with yours on the bat.

    • Yes, so true! Whatever the assignment before us, no matter the opposition against us, God is always with us. And Christ equips and empowers us to do what we’ve been called to do.

      • Someone who cares says:

        Wow, Shirlee, what an incredible visual. Seeing the hands of Christ with yours on the bat. That blows my mind. Thank you, thank you!

  8. My favorite scripture that I stand on each and every day Joshua 1:9
    Be strong and have courage.
    Amen and Amen!

  9. “When we believe God will do what He says He’ll do, we can do what we’ve been called to do.”

    SO POWERFUL! Thank you for writing this

  10. I needed this reminder today. I have been struggling with fear and anxiety- trying to raise God-fearing, respectful kids who don’t seem to have any desire to listen, running a household and working full time with no help from my husband, feeling unsupported and unloved, having a marriage that is like living together alone- it all threatens to overwhelm me. Thanks for the reminder that I need to rely on God’s
    Strength and not be afraid.

    • Gina,
      Your words are my life as well.I know the pain and loneliness you feel. It’s so exhausting trying to be everything to everyone and feeling so empty. Not only does our cup get empty, but when it does we start breaking off the cup to meet others needs. I have no words of wisdom or a formula to follow. I just wanted you to know you are not alone, I understand .I will pray for you. I hope these words convey the hug I want to give you. The Lord has seen us through this far and I know He holds our tomorrows. Love in Christ!!

    • I’m so sorry you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed, Gina. I’m thankful God is encouraging your heart through these words. I’m saying a prayer for you this morning, friend “. . . When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

    • Jacqueline says:

      I truly understand how tired and frustrated you are feeling. My marriage went through a long season of overwhelming struggle as well. My hope is to encourage you that change is possible and while you are waiting
      I would like to share a verse that helped me.
      “Let us not grow weary while doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
      Galatians 6:9

  11. I never respond to these devotions but I feel compelled this morning. This time last year I had a miscarriage. Even though doctors said I would likely not conceived on my own again, I just found out I am pregnant. God has been faithful and given me and my husband what we have prayed for. But the miscarriage still plays in the back of my mind. Please pray for me that I am courageous and that I have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

  12. I’m starting a blog on 3/17 to share the story of my journey to a deeper connection to God after the traumatic birth and beginning of my son Patrick. God has taught me so so much through my special son (and obviously through his very own so so so so so Special Son). I’m hoping to help make a difference for just one person. And I’d love to learn more about how to share my story in more helpful words with the Compel Training when it opens again. Thanks for sharif such an inspiring message!

  13. I have had homeschooling on my heart and have been praying about it for a year…God has been guiding me on a path that is scary since I have always worked outside the home. I also worry about working with my son who has special needs – I need extra patience and strength. He continues to open doors but then I hesitate wondering if it is Him or me. Thank you for this encouragement – it reminds me that fear is getting in the way and I need to move forward as He guides me through each step!

    • Hi Diane – God continues to stretch me beyond what I am capable of doing in my own strength. Like you, I sometimes worry and hesitate. Looks like He’s encouraging and strengthening both of us today. Let’s move forward together and trust that He will do what He said He will do! 🙂

  14. Kim Stewart says:

    Oh sweet Shelly what a blessing to see your beautiful face in my inbox this morning. I know this is a dream come true for you and encouragement for me in all kinds of ways. “That thing” for me is writing what He has been asking me to write for too long now. I’m so fearful on so many levels but what an amazing devo today full of words that my heart needed to hear. I’m ready to swing like no one is watching, myself! LOVE YOU!

    • Sweet, sweet KIM! Thank you for always encouraging and supporting me. You are a gift to MANY. I’m so overjoyed that God used these words to strengthen your heart today! WRITE, sister! WRITE! Love you.

  15. These words were the subject of my prayer right before I pulled up the site for today’s devotional. I never respond to the devotionals but I had to post today to comment that it was just what I needed to read and that it was definitely God inspired! I am forever changed by accepting this word into my heart. Thank you so much for your writing and your obedience to God. I

  16. These words were the subject of my prayer right before I pulled up the site for today’s devotional. I never respond to the devotionals but I had to post today to comment that it was just what I needed to read and that it was definitely God inspired! I am forever changed by accepting this word into my heart. Thank you so much for your writing and your obedience to God. I am stepping up to the plate now.

  17. “Swing like no one is watching”… I thank The Lord that we have his Word to rely on when we are frozen as I have been at the start of a project that will no doubt Build His Kingdom…

    Thank you for your taking your steps of faith that lead you to this post, it serves as an example and encouragement to me and so many others.

  18. So good. So inspiring. THANK YOU!

  19. Love the blog today, Shelly! Every time I go to a baseball game…. which baseball is big in our little Texas town too… I will think of this post. 🙂

  20. kathy wyg says:

    Good Morning….neat devo Shelly…..thank you…I though…really liked the comment that Shirlee Abbott posted about seeing the hands of Christ w/yours on the bat….

    encouraging Shirlee & Shelly…..thank you both…..

    have a blessed day…..guys………….kathy wyg

  21. I signed up for your Bible Study, 5 Habits of a Woman who does not Quit, then I went to check out how much it cost and realized I can’t afford to pay that much at this time. Can you please take my name of your list. I am on disability, I also have RA and fibromyalia which both provide a lot of pain. I am sorry to have troubled you by signing up it just really sounded like a great Bible Study. May God Bless you in your work of sharing God’s love!! Love Proverbs 31!!!

  22. Love this devotional this morning! One particular thing you said that stands out for me….”When we believe God will do what He says He will do, we can do what we’ve been called to do.”

    Thanks! ?

  23. Lissette says:

    God bless you. God just used you in a wonder full way. God is good!

  24. Yvonne mcfarlin says:

    This is a very perfect devotion for this morning as I go to Court my marriage of 10 years is over i know God can work a miracle but more importantly God is in control I will be courageous and strong for I know that he goes with me

  25. Good devo! So well-written. I was right there with you watching that game, holding my breath that he’d swing that bat. Amazing job. Thank you for this encouragement.

  26. “Big Hitter!” – love this! Such an encouraging post – thank you for sharing!!

  27. When you wrote that after his third base run, the next time your son was up they yelled “Big Hitter!”, I gasped and tears of joy sprang to my eyes. I LOVE that contrast; the one who was once timid now has the opposition BACKING UP! That’s a sermon right there! I want the enemy to yell “Watch out! Big Hitter!” when I get up every morning and choose courage over fear, swinging over retreating, and joy over discouragement. Thank you for that powerful example of what confidence and trust in God can do in a life.

  28. Thank you for today’s devotions. I love when God confirms what I am thinking.

  29. This devotion really touched my heart. I needed it. I joined the choir at church last fall after not having sang in a long time. I sang a solo at Christmas, and it came out all right even though I was scared to death. When I sang a solo a few months ago,, my voice didn’t work. There was something wrong. I wanted to crawl under a rock after the solo and never sing again. I felt defeated. This devotion has given me courage to not give up because God has not forsaken me. He is still there.

  30. Shelley – thank you, thank you for your beautiful words this morning. Sometimes God sends messages when you most need them, and today he sent you. Thank you!

  31. Thank you for this post! I am going on a mission trip to Peru in a week and I have been dreading the plane ride there. I am terrified and get anxiety just thinkin about the plane ride their. This really helped me know that God is always there for you. What I keep saying in my head is that God wouldn’t have you do something if you are not ready ! Thank you

  32. Thank you for allowing God to use you today.

  33. This is excellent! You did such a great job and it’s exactly what I needed. I love that God is our coach! Thank you for these life giving words!

  34. Eeeeekkkkk! So awesome Shelly! A gentle slap for me this morning! Time for me to dig in and get busy. Love you! And tell that son of yours, Congrats on conquering his fear!

  35. Theresa Cain says:

    Thanks Shelly for encouraging women and obeying God. Even though we feel inadequate sometimes, God is not looking for golden vessels but yielded ones.When we surrender in obedience we flow in sweet freedom.When I get so close to him that I can hear the very heartbeat of God, I move in his timing and grace. Thanks for sharing.Fear is the false evidence appearing real… It brings torment and God is not a Spirit of fear, BUT OF LOVE AND A SOUND MIND.All through the word he tells us FEAR NOT! Spirit lead us where ourfeet had never wondered and ourfaith will be made stronger in the power of your glory!

  36. Florina Ramirez says:

    Thank you Shelly,
    God is good!

  37. Annie Zimbelman says:

    Dear Shelly,
    Thank you for trusting in Christ as you penned and submitted this devotion. It is a testament of faith and obedience to put your words out for others to read and consider. What a blessing this morning’s devotion has been to me and many others! I am exhorted by this to stand up in confidence in Christ today because of yours. Many Blessings.

  38. Thank you for this , I needed it today. I struggle with confidence to do what I know I can do,and I feel intimidated by my peers. I have been praying about it all morning, and then I read this, thank you so very much.

  39. I’m doing Beth Moore’s Breaking Free Study and this post reminds me of her words …. hard, harder, easier, under my feet! These are the steps to breaking bondage…anything that keeps us from being free in Christ is bondage. The inability to do what ever it is God is calling you to do can be from insecurity, unbelief, etc. – all bondage. Praying for each of us to have the courage to step out of that and into hard, harder, easier, under my feet! Great post Shelly!

  40. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This devotion was just what I needed after an intimidating week of wondering if I’m equipped for my calling (I know that I am, but the enemy sure is tricky and tries his best to get me thinking other wise). I’ll definitely be meditating on these scriptures. Thank you again for using your gift to encourage me!

    • Oh, you’re so right! He is sneaky, sneaky, Cierra! But we are wise women equipped with the Word and filled with His power! After a couple of situations that left me feeling intimidated, I’m speaking to the both of us today! 🙂

  41. Thank you so much for the encouragement! I too have struggled with fear holding me back for God’s great plan for me. I wonder how is God going to use a girl like me from small town South Dakota to make a difference? But He will and He can, as long as I am obedient and don’t let fear hold me back. God bless you on your journey and thank you again for the positive inspiration.

  42. Marci Walker says:

    Excellent piece Shelly, I hope this gets shared and shared with young and old. I challenge all who read it to share it in all the ways they can verbally, on social media and print it for those who can’t use a computer!

  43. Thanks for this timely reminder. It really touched me and motivated me to tackle my highly complex tax return today. Every year I have anxiety about this and yet it rarely occurs to me that I need to pray over this task with the scriptures above…when I typically pray for others and my own walk with Christ each day. I love the word pictures you used!

  44. This is challenging for me, I have been gifted to minister specifically to women who feel stuck or unfufilled spiritually. I myself am scared to step out on here and advertise myself, but I am strong in my identity in him and what he has called me to do, so pushing uncertainty aside here I go… I’m offering FREE growth coaching to individuals ready to discover and live out Gods purpose for their life! Please email me at Stephanie@butterflybeginnings.net to get started and to learn more about I can help you transform your relationship with God! God bless you all! 🙂 I pray that as I am obedient to the prompting to write this, someone else who is struggling or needs clarity will be obedient to the prompting to respond!

  45. Shelly, I enjoyed today’s message. It is so true. Last September my 89 year old Mom had a stroke and I went to visit her. She didn’t know me at first but, during the night she seemed to change as I prayed for her. I was told her time was limited and short. I was so saddened, as my only daughter was over 700 miles away, expecting our 3rd grandchild. My daughter, Ashley had always been my rock. As I prayed over my Mom, I asked the Lord to be with me and to “Hold me up” if and when something happened to my Mom. Three weeks later my Mom died and I had to make all the arrangements by myself. My brother was 200 miles away and wasn’t coming home until the funeral, 4 days later. God did literally “Hold me up” and He was with me all the way through the planning and the funeral. I was even able to sing Beulah Land at the graveside for my Mom. Two days after my Mom passed, Ashley gave birth to Tristan Elijah. Tristan’s birth and God’s hand was there to encourage me every step of the way. God is good. This was the hardest thing I ever had to do but, God was so good and I really felt His presence all the time.

  46. Emm De Leon says:

    Thank you for this encouragement–exactly what I needed today.For years I’ve allowed fear to stand between me and a life long dream to pursue Nursing.Now that I am in my 40’s with 3 children, God has opened the door.I’m starting school in May!!! Yet, I still allow fear to creep back in when I think about our finances,baby sitting challenges and the juggling act that is ahead.Today, I am reminded that HE has put me in this place for a purpose , I am here for His glory. He is my provider and strength—I am never alone, He is always be with me.

  47. Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I have recently stepped back into the “working world” after more than a decade at home raising our kids. I took a job that definitely has stretched me, but that I felt called to do. This devotion reminded me that God himself will equip who He calls!

  48. Melanie S says:

    It’s amazing how God speaks to us! This devotion was meant for me as
    I step out in faith tomorrow at my church women’s luncheon.
    I will share a poem and skit which I wrote. I will portray the women at the well an will sing a beautiful song by Anne Longacre. While nervous, this devotion just confirmed I am in my Father’s will. Praying someone will be blessed.

  49. Amy Wallis Hood says:

    Boy have I been there…fear, doubt, the waiting season! Every day we wait for something! Wait in line, wait for baby to stop crying, wait for test results, wait for payday, wait for a miracle, wait for—–you fill in the blank. It’s just part of life and we’re not really good at waiting in a fast pace world. When I played softball in HS, at times I would be the clean-up batter. I’d be so anxious as my teammates ‘waited’ on me to hopefully bring them to home base! My nerves and doubt would get the best of me! The Pressure! Sometimes I’d hit them all in, but other times I’d strike out! Striking out was a horrible defeated feeling, as I’d also go on to beat myself up. My Dad was my coach, but I was harder on myself then he was so he didn’t have to say a thing! My sweet Father would say, “Shake it off Amy, shake it off,” bc I had to for the team! It wasn’t all about me and we all had a position to fulfill! We had to prepare our minds and wait for the next play! In a spiritual sense, we have to prepare our hearts and minds for God’s next play. That may involve waiting! It doesn’t mean we’ve struck out…it just means that He is up to something else. He is on my team. He is my Coach! If I’m smart, I’ll listen to Him softly telling me to shake it off and trust Him for the next play! I’m in another waiting season, again, as many of us are. This year I set some new goals for myself and so did my Mom. She was going to get healthy and become the new Jane, but she’s in the hospital recovering from a horrible fall. I was going to study the Bible more, start a motivational blog, exercise more, maybe take some classes, work more, possibly start a Mentoring Ministry, be there for my family/friends more, etc. and on and on my mind reeled into the future. But life has been interrupted. My mom’s health/plans and my plans are once again on hold. And it’s serious. Another waiting season! My sweet sister reminded me today that God has allowed me to be in a place where I can help my Mother a little more then if I was covered up with all my own plans! God’s timing once again proves to be better then mine! “When we believe God will do what He says He’ll do, we can do what we’ve been called to do.” Shelly Faust

  50. Shelley
    This is awesome and so encouraging! Thank you for reminding me to swing my bat like no one is watching! To go for it – to believe that when I step up to the plate, grip my bat a little tighter and swing wtih all I’ve got, God will be there to make it all soar! So happy for you today! This is wonderful and so are YOU! Big blessings to you sister! God is taking you places! Love it!

  51. I had breast cancer in 2010: I had a radical Mastectomy. When it was found to be malignant. I was the told by the Oncologist that I would need to Chemotherapy for many weeks and following that I would need to do many weeks of Radiation! I remember thinking, “God, there is absolutely no way that I can do this without You being with me to somehow feel Your presence each and everyday until this Nightmare is over!” He was and I did some -how go home and tell my husband the “verdict” and I felt I was in a long, dark black tunnel most of that journey ! ” On my first Chemo Day I wondered if I ‘d make it through that first One !” My mom died before the day was over!” It was a long day! The chemo treatments took from June. to November hat year. It seemed like a lot longer! I di the Radiation from December of that year for 36 days. It seemed like a lot longer than that then ! I had drivers from my church who took me daily. I became very close to each one of them. I wrote “thank You Notes”. to each one and treasure each one of them more than it is possible to say. The were my daily “Taxi Drivers from God” ! I will love them forever.. I am currently going through another difficult medical crisis and know God alone can get me though time. I’m holding onto Him and my Bible and any verse that gives me what I need to get through each hour of the day. Hold onto Jesus and believe He’s there ! Mary Kaiser

  52. This word was very dear to my heart. I heard the prompting of the Lord to write a book more than 20 years ago, but fear gripped me and caused me to take different paths in life. While I have made many other great accomplishments, completing the book has given me much joy. It is the manifestation of a dream that I had held for so long on the inside of me. I am in the final stages of publishing my first book, I Hope You Dance Forever. It is a true testament that God is always faithful and patient.

  53. Heather P says:

    I am so happy I came across this site today. I always hear it being announced on Z88.3 and I really need the help to be uplifted once again so thank you!

  54. Shelly, this was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your gift and such a powerful message.

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