Monday, August 4, 2014

God Spoke to Me on Ninth Hole

Several years ago a friend introduced me to the joy and misery of golf. This week, God gave two very important lessons to me on the ninth hole that at the time had to do with my game, but later spoke volumes to me about my faith.

Lesson #1: Stop trying to figure out where and how things went wrong and play from where you are. 
Too often, when I veer off course in my faith walk, I waste even more time trying to figure out where I went wrong. At what point did I misstep and lose my way? How did I end up so far in the rough or worse, lost among the trees? It's almost like I'm trying to follow my footsteps back to the place I was before things went wrong and continue on from there. But I can't. No one can. All we can do is look to Jesus and head in his direction from where we are. If I am preoccupied with yesterday's mistakes, I'm not focusing on honoring God today and before I know it, I have another yesterday to analyze and fret over. But if I acknowledge where I am right now and set my focus on God's call on my life for today, I'm going to be heading in the right direction.

Lesson #2: Give yourself permission to be confident.
God knows me completely and is with me always. His grace knows no bounds and nothing can separate me from him and I know that in him I can do all things. But just exactly what am I supposed to do? God's ways are far above my pay grade—how am I supposed to know what God wants me to do? Sometimes it feels like I'm swimming upstream or groping around in the dark looking for the light switch. I'm not talking about overarching life themes like "love God and love your neighbor." I'm talking about the specifics of daily living like just exactly how does God want me to invest these gifts of life, love, talent, possessions that he has blessed me with? I'm talking the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) kind of thing. I want a "Well done" from God when the time comes. And not because I'm afraid of going to hell or because I don't want to disappoint God, but because I love him and want to make him happy. 

The truth is that I know what God wants. He tells us in his Word and if I listen with an open heart, his Spirit opens my ears to hear what God wants from me today, right now. I need to stop being afraid I'll make a mistake and mess up God's plan—I don't have that much power. I just need to listen and have confidence that because God has prepared me for the work he calls me to do, I really can do what he asks of me, with his help of course. 

2 comments:

Common Household Mom said...

Very good life lessons learned on the 9th hole.

Regret is a strange emotion. I think perhaps we humans can use it to assuage guilt, but wallowing in regret (or as you say, trying to figure out where things went wrong) doesn't really help us to move forward. One caveat - it can help to learn from past mistakes. But then, there are always new mistakes waiting around the corner, so we might as well just forge ahead! I think my whole life is made up of learning this over and over again.

The 'overarching life themes' and the daily details are one and the same. I'm also constantly relearning that lesson.

Audrey said...

On a similar vein, I remember reading long ago about the "paralysis of analysis" and the need to simply accept where and who you are right now and move on from there. Obviously, if we're doing the same wrong thing over and over again, we need to figure out how and why that is happening. But, at other times we need to accept that we may never know how we got to where we are. We just need to figure out how to get where we want and need to be! Thanks for sharing this with us.