My grandparents played golf. All the time. With each other, with other couples. They even traveled around the country, golfing in different tournaments. In their backyard they had a small putting area with a net. My brother and I would go and hit balls in their yard, much to the amusement of the German shepherd, Duke, who lived behind them. Occasionally they would even take us to the golf course and let us hit balls at the “big person’s” range.
Now, as an adult, I enjoy the game myself. Oh, I don’t play enough to really be good at it, but my husband has taken a few lessons and has golfed with our pastors and friends, and we enjoy playing together whenever we get the chance.
As I try to learn more about the game, (ok, more like re-learning every time we play), I have realized a few things about how it is we learn the game:
If I try to teach myself, it may feel right, and I may occasionally get a ball somewhere near the hole, but my form will be all wrong. I’ll be clumsy, awkward, and frustrated. Most likely my ball will be all over the course – into trees, into water and sand, I might even hit an occasional duck (don’t ask me how I know about that!), all in my own self-determined quest to get the ball into the hole. Positive that if it “feels” right to me, then it must be the best way for the game to be played, even if my ball never goes anywhere near the hole and I end up spending wasted time chasing my ball around the course.
But if I go to a master, one who knows exactly how the game is played, I’ll have a much better chance at actually playing the game correctly. Being taught which club to use when, how to plant my feet and how to swing and follow through, how to avoid the sand traps and water hazards, and how to get my ball out of the rough spots that I do end up in… all tools needed to navigate any course. There might be some games that are better than others, some courses that are harder than others… but just knowing the basics solidly, being taught by one who knows how to really play, will help on any course, on any day. Going to the master first before I develop bad habits saves both time and energy
I can struggle through, bent on doing things my way, convinced that I know what is best and how to live my life. As my daughter used to say in her cute 3-year-old voice, “No mama, I do it my way!” But floundering like that can only guarantee there will be many more rough patches and frustrating moments. I’ll be hitting trees, water, sand, and wildlife (poor ducks!) all in the vain attempt at doing it all “my” way, not seeking the Master’s guidance that is so readily available.
For the Master – not only does He know how the game is played, He designed it! He knows the course, He has given me the tools to help me make it through the whole game, after all He created me… He knows my every thought… He knows what obstacles may be in my way, even if they are ones that I have created myself. And if I just turn to Him, and allow Him to go before me, to reveal how this course needs to be played, then how much smoother will the game go.
I need to give up, over and over again, the desire to play “my” way, and instead seek His instruction… sitting at the feet of the Master, reading His word, asking Him to teach me. Only then will I really be learning how to play the game. I’m sure the ducks will be grateful.