Thankfully, for all those on my team, it was "best ball". I fumbled through the game and managed to make it out - proud that I at least didn't win the "congeniality" award.
So, a couple years later I decided to try again. This time I had my new fiance to impress. We were out with another couple - good friends...the kind you don't mind having laugh at you. My then-fiance (now husband) steps up to the tee, drives the ball quite a distance, quite effortlessly -ppht! My friend steps up to the tee, a seasoned baseball player, and she makes it fly down the course! I step up to the tee, take a swing, miss...o.k...let's try that again...swing..miss. When I say miss, I mean that my swing COMPLETELY missed the ball. Shuffle my feet a little, firm up my grip....put my whole back into it...swing...MISS! I'm surprised I didn't hit the back of my head with my follow through. By this time, I want to reiterate, that I was glad I was with friends whom I didn't mind laughing at me. My wonderful, chivalrous fiance patiently and delicately gave me some little pointers and I tried again...shuffle feet...reposition hands...swing...and HIT..around 10 feet. Oh the power.
I've played a few times since then, and honestly, I love the game. I love the quiet dignity of golf, I love the journey of a game, I love the feeling of hitting the ball right on (I've experienced it...once or twice) and perhaps my favorite part is - I love that it's played outdoors. All of these things pulls me back to the game despite my frustration of the times I'm not quite "getting" it. It's like I wanted to be great - right from the start. It looks so effortless but is actually so hard. I suppose when you watch the pros, you don't see the number of hours and the self-discipline they have put into the sport. I realized pretty quickly that in order to be a good golfer, I was going to have to put in the time.
Sometimes I feel the same way about my walk with God. I read in Proverbs 31 about the "ideal" woman and feel frustrated that I don't always "get" it right away - rising early seems sooooo hard some mornings. I read about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 and remember how I lost self-control and most definitely cried over the third cup of spilled milk that day. I read in Ephesians about loving your husband and cringe at the way I snapped at him in the midst of buckling car seats and trying to beat the clock. Yeesh! Why can't I get it perfect the first time around?! Maybe you struggle with the same thing. You look at other people who seem to have it all under control...spiritual giants! They seem to do everything right and you seem to pale in comparison to their self-control, joy, peace, love, and relationship with God. But we don't always see the years of prayer and faithfulness they have put in to that journey. I'm sure they would be the first to admit that there was a time when they seemed to "miss" more then "hit" and that they still have their share of "misses".
Jesus loves us so much. He loves seeing us try with all our heart and is proud of us even when we do mess up sometimes. He just wants us to keep trying. To keep putting the time in. To keep swinging with all our heart. And gradually, He'll see us start to hit more than miss.
Galatians 6:9 says "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (NIV)."
Let's not give up. Keep perfecting that swing. You'll get it.
See you on the course!