Normally my secret place is prayer walking at either my workplace or in my neighborhood. It is the time that I can get away from the hustle and bustle of having four kids and all my other cares.
This week, though, I’m on vacation; I tried something new. I attempted to link with God in a place with many greens but is known for its holes: I attempted to golf on vacation. The last time I attempted golfing, I was probably a foot shorter, a hundred pounds lighter, and a decade and a half younger. Today, I hit the links in 90-degree temperatures in jeans and hiking boots. As any golfer knows, these were all very bad choices. When I left the clubhouse with my rented clubs, I left with three balls. On my first tee I looked at the shot I had to take and, lacking confidence, I skipped the first tee and placed my ball on the green on the other side of the hazards. Yes, I know this was cheating, but I didn’t keep score. I didn’t want my first shot to end in frustration. Besides, this was supposed to be my time away so that I could talk to God.
On my first shot, it was less than perfect, and it ended up in the tall grass near a water hazard. Despite my best efforts to find it, I lost the ball. In a moment of irony, I did find a pink ball to replace my lost ball. I could feel my pride being challenged on my first hole.
Over the course of the next eight holes, I managed to lose not only the three balls the clubhouse gave me but also the bonus pink ball. I walked back to the clubhouse in personal shame having only teed off at 8 of the nine holes. I didn’t even have enough golf balls to tee off on the last hole.
In the end, I realized God taught me some important lessons. First, God can find me anywhere I am. The golf course was not my normal secret place, but I found Him there. Second, He challenged me, my dark side, and my pride by allowing me to put myself into this impossible situation and learning how to fail. Third, He showed me how I was not prepared to play this course. It was way beyond my ability or training. No amount of Wii golf could prepare me for what I experienced today. The areas in my life in which I lack skill or ability are the areas I need to work on and train in to become better. I reminded myself of discipleship. Finally, even though it was hot and I was not prepared to play this course, I enjoyed myself. Often, we are afraid of what we are not good at and we avoid it. If we put ourselves out there and try, we may find that it is fun, even if we lack skill. The reality is with time, practice and patience we will get better.
I challenge you to think about the spiritual disciplines. Where do you struggle? Are you afraid of trying new things? Take a chance, don’t be afraid to fail. It is only when we experience life and work on our disciplines that we can become better at them.
– Scott Beiermann