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Sweet Tea & Manna

 A Blog by Kayla Ferris

Keeping Score

It was a beautiful autumn night for a girls’ little league softball game. This was our first year for Ady to play softball. Fall league is the perfect place to start, they said. “Fall league is all about learning the game and fundamentals,” they said.

The team we were playing this particular night had some great coaches. They had a gift for teaching the girls how to play softball: where to stand, how to backup your teammate, what to look for in outfield. They were such great teachers they even were giving tips to our girls.

And then they got a call they didn’t like.

And then another.

It was like a switch flipped.

They walked up to the umpire. They exchanged words. The ump finally said, in a very take charge, booming voice, “Settle down, coach. This is little league.”

{I found this image on pinterest. Sigh. So many things wrong with this. LOL!}

Over the next 30 minutes you could literally watch the transformation. They were angry, and they let that change their goal. They stopped teaching. They played to win.

And the funny part?

You don’t keep score in Fall League.

Competition. I feel like we have been taught to honor this word. Our economic system thrives on the idea of competition. We use phrases like “A little competition never hurt anyone.” Or before we begin something we have to “size up the competition.” The definition of compete is “to strive to outdo another.”

Other words for outdo include: outshine, defeat, trash, bury, and leave behind.

Words we love to use in business. In political elections. In sports. But what about in life? Do we walk around needing to “win”? To outshine? To leave behind?

At what cost?

I’m not suggesting we rewrite our economic system or stop award shows or hand everyone a trophy for showing up. I just wonder if we should stop determining our value and worth based on how we measure up beside someone else. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey refers to something called “Abundance Mentality”. It is the idea that there is “plenty out there for everybody.” The opposite of this would be “Scarcity Mentality," a way of seeing life as “having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.”

I struggle with this! And I hate admitting that. I sometimes see other people “living out their dream” or catching a break, and I say “That is awesome! I’m so excited for you!”…but inside I think, “That means less opportunity for me.” So I try to compete. I try to “measure up." I become critical of others…and myself. Jesus, forgive me. I’m tired of competing. I want abundance mentality. I want to LIVE in the belief that God is big and plentiful, and that He overflows both of our cups with life and blessings.

But I think to do this, we need to redefine what it means to “win.” I don’t think we give up “winning.” Just change our mindset. Maybe “winning” isn’t who is better at writing or cooking or raising kids (I mean, really, how do you determine that one anyway??) Because that measures me against you. Maybe winning is me doing my best, and you doing yours and we do it for the glory of God. And in fall softball little league, maybe winning is teaching the girls to love the game, and not raking in imaginary runs. When I reach the end of my life, I don’t want to look back and see I’ve spent it “outdoing” others or slaving away towards homeruns, no matter the cost. Because guess what? No one is keeping score anyway.

I want to cheer for others, and truly mean it. I want to “win” at love. At encouragement. At joy. Not in order to be better than you. But to make your life better. All for the glory of God.


Kayla Ferris is a member of the Proverbs 31 First5 writing team, and the author of eight First5 study guides (and counting!) She is a wife to her favorite farmer in the world, Gabe, and the mother of their four daughters. When she isn’t writing, reading, chauffeuring the kids, or watching crops grow, you might find her teaching a drama class at the kids’ school, laughing at funny internet videos, or ordering a Matcha Frappuccino. You can connect with Kayla on Instagram or Facebook, where she loves to share what she has been learning from God’s Word.

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