Have you ever been in a slump?
I’m not just talking about a sports metaphor.
When people hear this word, they probably think of a baseball player who doesn't get a hit at the plate for a prolonged period of time.
When I played baseball, I had my fair share of slumps. And most baseball players are superstitious too. If I had a drought, I would change up my routine. Grab a different helmet. Change batting gloves. Put another flavor of bubble gum in my mouth. Anything to break the streak.
But this was high school and summer league ball. In the grand scheme of things, this didn’t really mean much. But at the time, it was monumental.
In 2019, I was doing research for Dugout Devotions 2: Inspirational Hits from MLB’s Best, when I traveled to Cleveland because the Baltimore Orioles had come to town.
I wanted to talk to All-Star first baseman Chris Davis because I knew he had gone through a major dry spell at the plate. I also knew that a difficult 2010 season strengthened his faith, and he said he finally had a grasp on what it meant.
During the 2018 season and into the first part of the 2019 season, Chris staggered through a horrible slump. Six seasons earlier, he was an All-Star, and he was the MLB Home Run Champion in 2013 and 2015.
He earned the nickname “Crush Davis” because he blasted homers frequently.
Below is a portion from my book that depicts how Chris made it through after going hitless in 54 straight plate appearances.
The drought was uncharted waters for a player who was accustomed to producing at the plate. In 2013, he was selected to the MLB All-Star Team. The same year, he won the Silver Slugger Award, and he led the league in home runs in 2013 and 2015.
But Chris kept working to build up his confidence in the batter’s box. He studied films of pitchers and tried not to let the situation distract him.
He finally had to give it over to God and let Him swing the bat.
“I had to remind myself that He is always there for you, even when you go through trials,” Chris said. “You might not feel like it at times, but He cares about you and is thinking about you all the time. He cares so deeply for you and me that He sent His son to die for us.”
This was the perspective Chris needed to maintain. After all, he was just trying to hit a baseball. But this is his occupation, and he wasn’t performing well.
“No matter what happens, if you are a success at your job or not, God loves you the same if I’m in a slump or not—day in and day out.”
Chris battled with his identity in baseball and concluded that if he went 0-5 at the plate or 3-4, Christ loved him regardless.
On April 13, 2019, Chris finally blasted a line drive up the middle against Boston to drive in two runs to get the monkey off his back.
Maybe something has happened in your life to cause you to fall into a spiritual depression.
Perhaps someone close to you let you down and broke your trust.
Perhaps you lost your job or have some health issues.
Life is real and it’s not a game.
You face pressure and stress every day that can drag you down and entice you to stay in the clubhouse.
The forces of evil will try to keep you down and whisper there is no way you will ever get a hit again.
But there must be hope.
You have to keep swinging even when you are down on the count.
Here are some tips to entertain or to change up your routine:
Get involved in something: Take your mind off your problems for a while. Volunteer your services at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen. He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. Proverbs 19: 17
Take a break: Plan a weekend getaway or vacation. A change of scenery might do some good. You can’t run and hide from your problems, but you can forget about them for a few days, clear your mind, and come up with a plan.
Talk it out: Find a friend or mentor, and meet them for a cup of coffee. Make sure you have confidence in this person and just talk. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6: 2
Do something different: This is my favorite. Join a gym or find a hobby you enjoy, and spend some time focusing on your new adventure. Change things up some, and find a new approach to the day.
Chris went through a 54-at-bat slump that wore on his thoughts and mind. When he turned his problem over to God, he found the determination he needed, and was able to break through and smack a hit to break out of the drought.
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Once you recognize you are going through a valley, the one thing you must know is that God loves you. He will be there when you get the call you’ve been waiting on, just like He was there when Chris came through with a hit.
Endure. Keep the faith and keep swinging.
Dugout Devotions 2 is on deck to release in March 2021.
Pre-order is available here.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.