Anxiously, the coach watches his batter. Full count. And a pitcher who can throw a strike when it matters most. Coach shouts, "Hollywood! Hollywood, swing the bat! If it's close, swing at it. You can do it."
Hollywood looks in his direction and nods nonchalantly.
She waits for the pitch.
Standing in the circle like she's posing for a photographer. Cleats dug down into the red dirt. Knees slightly bent. Her bat in position. Perfectly poised to get a hit. Wants it real bad.
But inside she feels the pressure to perform. Very scary.
Especially for a ten-year-old.
Especially one who got nicknamed Hollywood when she wore her mama's razzle dazzle sunglasses to practice one afternoon and adamantly refused to remove them.
Cause you know how bad the glare is when you're playing leftfield. Right?
Besides, I'm thinking that all girls need a little glamour every now and then.
So, Hollywood sure can look the part, but can she hit the ball? Well, uh, that depends. Are you talking about at practice or at a real game?
She's got plenty of potential.
But honestly, she struggles some at games.
Maybe tonight will be different...maybe she'll knock a homerun...or at least get a base hit...here comes the pitch...it's smokin'... Hollywood stands ready....
The umpire kicks one leg forward. Foot flexed. Right arm goes into an upper cut. All in one merciless, melodramatic motion.
"She's Oouuutt!" he shouts.
And my sweet, little Hollywood never swung the bat.
I really didn't care if she hit the ball or not, but I so wanted to see her take a swing.
But sweet girl, you and I understand, don't we? Swinging can be scary. And pressure to perform according to some self-imposed standard or one set by others can paralyze us.
And sometimes we think of God like He's an umpire. Calling strikes. Just waiting to strike us out. Willing us to go back to the dugout and stay there and feel like a loser.
How sad when we think like that.
That's just so not our loving God.
He's cares about us. Although we may not see our potential, God sees it. He doesn't demand a perfect performance.
Our participation and our obedience bring Him joy.
"...For the LORD delights in you...(from Isaiah 62:4).
Even when we strike out. He's ok with that.
But He does want us and Hollywood to swing the bat.
Batter up, sweet girl!