The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


All-Star Couple on Overcoming Perfectionism

By Tom Buehring
The 700 Club Ben Zobrist has been a hit on baseball’s big stage. But the platform expands this spring in front of an international audience when Ben competes for TEAM USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Ben: “Honored is really the word that comes to mind when I think of, you know, being able to wear the red, white, and blue; the USA jersey.”

The Tampa Bay Ray will switch jerseys because he learned to switch gloves. Zobrist is an infielder and outfielder, having played seven different positions. His coveted versatility earned him a roster spot for the upcoming World Championship.

Ben: “You never know what’s going to happen in a short tournament, and you got to be able to be flexible and find a way to piece things together. And I think I can help a team with that.”

Ben was a struggling part-time player back in 2008, when Rays Manager Joe Maddon gave him the opportunity to play multiple positions.

Tom Buehring, 700 Club Reporter: “Is there a requirement that to be a versatile player, you’re a flexible person? Or did you have to learn that?”

Ben: “I embraced it. I was willing to do whatever I had to do to be able to have a chance to be on the team. Back then, I didn’t realize how that was going to enhance my career in the long run.”

Ben played in the 2008 World Series. The following season he was named as an all-star and the Rays team MVP. He’s now a fixture in their lineup. But there’s much more to Ben than just baseball! The switch-hitting slugger lets his faith and profession change his life.

Ben: “The Lord’s going to use the game to challenge my own heart in certain things that He wants to kind of root out of my life. I have this intense need to achieve something at all times and I tend to busy myself with things because of that. And realizing that has set me free in that I can view a lot of my motivations of my heart based on that. I need to stop trying to be perfect.”

Tough to do in a high profile, performance based business, driven by statistics.

Ben: “For a lot of people it kind of eats them alive. We say it is a game of failure, and if you don’t learn how to deal with failure, then, you know, you can sink pretty quickly in the game of baseball. Christ really gives you perspective and allows you to see yourself the way that you really should, and remind yourself that ‘Look, I can’t be perfect.’”

Ben’s wife Julianna Zobrist also knows about the pressures of perfectionism. She’s an emerging contemporary Christian vocalist and songwriter. Her latest Release, “Say it Now” sings promise for young girls and moms who struggle with the trappings of achievement.

Julianna: “When you feel enslaved to perfection, and as women, or as a girl, I know that we so often compare ourselves. We can do that until the day we die, or we can rest in who Christ has made you to be and who He is ultimately.”

Both Ben and Julianna grew up in the church where their dads pastored. Now they have their own young family. And despite their career differences, they share similarities with performance expectations.

Ben: “We’re both expected to go out in front of a stage of sorts – the baseball field can be a stage in a way - and perform in front of a bunch of people. And, do the best that you can. Hit the note or hit the ball. We talk about stepping in the box. We talk about her stepping on the stage and what that feels like and how, where does that confidence come from? If you look at your own self enough, you’re going to be miserable. You really have to put your focus on Christ, put your focus on bigger issues, more important things in life.”

The Zobrists make family their priority, especially during the baseball season. Julianna sacrifices music opportunities to travel with the kids when Ben is playing on the road. That means, never being separated for more than 6 days.

Julianna: “That has to happen, or else at the end of the day, you have two different lives and he comes home and doesn’t know how to be a dad and I don’t know how to let him be a dad. And it can be strenuous on the family.”

So can baseball; a humbling game, with failure as common as foul balls.

Tom: “How do you separate your self worth from the game last night?”

Ben: “When my emotions are kind of going crazy on me or I’m carrying a lot or I’m thinking a lot about the game, the Lord has really helped me to separate it by showing me that my identity has nothing to do with what I do, whether I do good or bad. It has nothing to do with that. It’s based on Christ, what He did.”

“I can wear it for a while, but I always come to an end point. I always come to a point where it’s just too heavy to carry. And, it’s at those times where the Lord kind of brings me to my knees all over again and reminds me that He’s the one that needs to carry the pressure and carry the weight of life.”

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