It’s Shorter Than You Think. The way back that is…..
My name is Shane Hale and in December of 2013 I turned 45 years old. 45 years of life experience had brought me to a conclusion I could no longer avoid or deny. My life, “what I was doing with my life”, needed to change. Thing is, even though I knew something had to change I didn’t know specifically what was wrong.
What I know now, but didn’t know then, was that I had started drifting years prior. That drifting was taking me in the wrong direction. I Loved my wife, loved my kids, they loved me, no lifestyle issues, just empty inside, no real fire for anything. Life had gotten heavy and unfulfilling. I had gotten lost somewhere along the way. Only I didn’t realize just how lost I was at the time.
By 2014 I had gotten serious about resolving the problem that I still didn’t know how to fix. I even gave it a name, the quest to fix Shane, I named it “The1SixProject”. For reference, #16 was my dad’s jersey number first. I wore #16 through four years of college and seven seasons of professional baseball. My oldest son wears #16 today. Jersey numbers mean something to athletes and we all have a number that is dear to us.
Baseball wasn’t just a game to me when I was younger, it was my life until I was 27 years old. My career is a great story of defying odds but I will save you the details. Great as it was, that story ended on a Sunday afternoon in August of 1996 in Bowie, Maryland. During this time “1Six” was a baseball handle of mine. That was the guy I was trying to revive. The guy that was ON FIRE for something in his life. I needed him back. My family needed him back.
By 2015 my quest to “fix Shane” had turned into almost a panic. After almost two years I simply wasn’t making any headway. Even though I had amassed a nice collection self help books, articles, filled countless note cards and legal pads with notes and to do lists and broken life down into nice neat categories, each to be individually conquered, nothing was changing. Nothing changed until late in 2015 when I made an adjustment that changed everything. I began seeking God’s help.
Jeremiah 29:11 states, promises, that God has a plan for my life. (That’s the “get something” verse we all know) But you have to keep reading! Jeremiah 29: 12-14 states, promises, that it will be revealed, when I seek Him. (That’s the “do something” verse no one seems to know). So, I started seeking God. God started showing up. Truly amazing things started happening in my life.
In 2016 the lights began to come on. I realized that the key to “fixing” me was not more me and more goals for me, more success for me, more blah blah blah what the world has to offer me and tells me I need. That was the problem, it was all about me. The solution was the plan. God’s plan for my life. The one that He was slowly revealing to me as I began to seek Him.
As only God could script it, during the course of 2016 four verses were revealed to me, specifically:
• Romans 1:6 – You are among those who have been called to belong to Christ….
• Philippians 1:6 – He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion…..
• Philemon 1:6 – Be active in sharing your faith…….
• James 1:6 – When you ask, believe and do not doubt……
Is it a coincidence that #16 had been dear to me since I was a child. I think not. It had prepared me. Part of the plan. You can’t just make this stuff up.
2016 ended as a year of great spiritual growth for me and in 2017 it just changed gears. Starting literally on Day 1, January 1st. God had told me days prior do NOT miss church New Years morning. So, I “expectantly” arrived at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and received the best direction ever. It just tied it all together. Ben Rockwell, summed his sermon up with these words, “Take your place in God’s story and let Jesus be known through you”. BOOM!
My desire to find a fire in my life like the one I had inside me as a younger man for baseball and all that it had to offer was replaced by a new desire. A desire to kindle the fire God had started in me to seek Him and live out the plan He had for my life. A life that was not about writing my own story but a life about obediently taking my place in His story!
The difference? In 2016 / 2017 I went from simply knowing who God was to having a personal relationship with Him. God baptized me with His Holy Spirit and as a public profession of my faith, this past spring, I was baptized by my friend and local Rock Star for The Lord, Alan Floyd.
If you are confused let me help you out. I am a “confirmed” and active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Mobile but I was raised Baptist. Given the spiritual transformation I had gone through I wanted to be baptized again, dunked! The public profession of my faith was important to me, I wanted everyone to know! Regarding Christian denominations, there are no separate lines for denominations when entering Heaven.
Looking back, God has brought me a long way since 2013. Today I am a Christ following, redeemed and re-purposed professional baseball player. I got in the boat and I continue to do my part by seeking God’s plan for my life. God continues to uphold His promise by revealing that plan to me. Honestly, I had no idea how lost I was until I was found and brother I can tell you I don’t EVER want to be lost again! My fire now is for Gods purposes, not mine.
If you are trying to write your story my advice is to stop. Just stop. Take your place in God’s story, your part is already written.
Today, I’m the son of a King. It’s His Story, Not Mine!
Get in the boat. Do your part.
1:6 / Nose to Toes / #16
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