Yesterday was the most fun playing golf I've had in a long time. Which was curious, considering how hot it was out there. But I was relaxed, I struck the ball well, the guys I played with were good company, and I finished with an awesome par save from deep trouble well off the fairway.
My putting was several shades of awful! But I made up for it by scrambling. I also put a ball in the lake on two holes on the back nine, resulting in a couple of sevens.
But my best moment was on the #1 handicap hole, where I left my drive in the rough adjacent to a sand trap. I had to stand, too close to the ball, perched on the edge and with my heels hanging over the bunker. Somehow I managed to launch a six-iron around 170 yards; it landed close to the pin and my birdie putt stopped about three-inches short.
I believe the way I play golf is a decent metaphor for my life. My "success" is best measured in terms of the integrity of the process, my "might as well enjoy this" attitude, the fact that I'm genuinely thankful for all the opportunities I have, and a growing commitment to apply the principles of faith to absolutely everything I do.
It doesn't really matter if a shoot under 80... or if I leave 50% of my putts well short... or if I hit a boat-load of awesome drives. And - likewise - it doesn't matter if my books sell thousands of copies... or I ever win another AMY... or if I'm invited to speak at choice events.
I like the admonition in First Thessalonians: "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."
Being sanctified is living like we mean it - because God does; it's taking each day and embracing whatever we're up to as another opportunity to live as if we really are redeemed people; it's being thankful and forgiven and blessed, and it's engaging life in the fact of those dramatic truths.
My 87 was pretty darned good for an infrequent golfer. But I wouldn't have had a better day - couldn't have - even if I'd shot 70. The way I play is the way I live - it's process-oriented, not results-oriented. I am faithful because God is faithful, and I'm enjoying the journey.
I really am a pilgrim on this amazing road. And I really am making progress.
Grace and Peace - DEREK