“Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” ~ Stephen R. Covey
Last Tuesday morning, I finished reading a new book by Pastor Rick McDaniel called COMEBACK: Overcoming the Setbacks in Your Life. (If interested you can read my review of the book at http://montyrainey.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/book-review-comeback-overcoming-the-setbacks-in-your-life/ ). In the book Pastor McDaniel chronicles his list of the top ten comebacks of all time. One of his subjects is Major League Baseball player, Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers. I found it quite ironic that very same night when Hamilton hit 4 home runs in a single game against the Baltimore Orioles to join a short list of only fifteen other players to ever accomplish such a feat. Hamilton has put himself in the company of baseball legends such as Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt.
Hitting four home runs in a single game, however, was not Hamilton’s greatest accomplishment. Josh Hamilton was the #1 overall draft pick in the 1999 baseball draft and received an almost $4 million signing bonus. The future looked very bright for the talented young star. However in 2001 Hamilton was involved in an automobile accident and over the next three seasons, Hamilton missed over 200 games due to injuries. In the process of his rehabilitation, he also became addicted to pain medication and alcohol.
In 2004, Hamilton was suspended indefinitely from baseball after testing positive for drug use. His career had stalled out and for the next year, Hamilton fed his addiction. In 2005 he finally hit rock bottom when he woke up on his grandmother’s doorstep in what would be his final cocaine binge. Thus began Hamilton’s battle to overcome the challenges and adversity in his life.
Josh was finally reinstated into Major League Baseball and in 2008 was selected to his first All-Star team. As part of the All-Star festivities, Hamilton set a record in the Home Run Derby when he hit twenty-eight home runs in the first round. He has since been selected to three more All-Star teams, in 2010 was the American League Most Valuable Player and for the past two seasons has led the Texas Rangers to the World Series.
We all must overcome challenges and adversity in our lives. Sometimes it is of our own construction, other times it may be due to outside circumstances beyond our control, but either way, the challenges and adversities of life effect us all. As Covey states, we develop our character muscles by overcoming these challenges and adversities.
What are the challenges and adversities you are facing in your life right now? You have two choices and Josh Hamilton is a shining example of both. You can hide from your challenges and adversities by wallowing in sorrow and self-pity and turning to bad habits to cloud your mind and help you ignore those challenges and adversities, or you can step up to the plate and take your swings. You do that by first, reaching out for help. Hamilton reached out to his grandmother for help. She restores his faith in God and got him started in drug rehab. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to reach out. We all need help and encouragement from time to time. But then you have to reach deep inside yourself to make the commitment to change. It won’t be easy – developing character never is, but it will be the greatest personal reward you will ever give yourself.