Here I am at 17 years old, in the heat of competition in the West Penn Amateur.
I love to compete. I hate to lose and I hate the feeling of defeat that lingers in my bones after a loss. So, I could totally relate to what happened to Jordan Spieth as a competitive golfer and as one who has an active faith in God. Some years ago, however, I discovered a spiritual way to turn my bad scores, crushing losses, and emotional letdowns into a spiritual victory: by making my bad scores an offering to God.
I learned this amazing revelation the hard way. The following is an excerpt from my first golf devotional, A Quiet Clap, Life Lessons Appreciating God and Golf, Hole #9:
“It happened during one of my yearly quests to qualify for the Women’s U.S. Open. Not playing pro golf as a career anymore, it was always a difficult decision whether or not to prepare for the Open Qualifier.
On one hand, it satisfied my dormant competitive juices. On the other hand, I had to ask myself if it was worth all the time, effort, and sacrifice needed. After all, it was a long-shot chance at qualifying.
My competitive urges won out over my more rational thinking. After months of focused training, I headed to Dallas for the qualifying tournament.
I played the front nine well enough to still be competition. Approaching the 10th tee, I noticed the Dallas winds beginning to blow about 35 mph–directly in my face. My drive was fair, but I still had about 200 yards to the green. I’d have to hit my shot across a lake into horrendous winds to reach the green.
‘If I hit a perfect five wood, I can make it,’ I thought. Expecting perfection and not attaining it, I promptly hit my ball into the water. ‘I know I can hit this shot,’ With winds still almost blowing me over, I grabbed my 5 wood again, along with my persistent pride, and proceeded to hit my second ball into the water. The third was equally wet. Finally reaching the green in 8, I two-putted for an outrageous 10 on a par 4 hole.
At that moment, the reality of what had just transpired hit me harder than the wind. I thought, ‘I just blew my chance to qualify. All my preparation for the previous 6 months just blew up in smoke.’
It would have been nice to quit at that moment, but I still had 8 more holes to play. Now what do I do? Flooded with emotion, I tearfully headed toward the 11th tee. If I was going to complete the round, I knew I needed an immediate release. Somehow I needed to clear my entire being of the jolting experience of the 10th hole.
From the core of my being, I looked to my heavenly Father and cried out, ‘God, I give you my 10! Take it! All of it! I offer it up to You. I know You will receive it as a welcomed gift.’
A ton of emotional bricks lifted immediately from my heavy heart and mind. I parred every remaining hole, except for one.
Although I did not qualify, I did not fail to get an incredible victory in my character. I still played to win, even in the midst of my loss–and I did win.
Dakes Annotated Reference Bible defines worship as ‘not confined to praise; broadly, it may be regarded as the direct acknowledgement to God of His nature, attributes, ways, and claims, whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving, or by deed done in such acknowledgement.’
Anything you do that acknowledges who God is, is worship. When I offered my 10 up to God, letting Him know that He was my Source of Release, I worshipped Him. In return, He received my 10 as an acceptable offering, because I was giving Him what was IN MY HEART.
What is in your heart? A few tens? Maybe a truckload full? Do you need a release from a loss, disappointment, or offense? Open up your heart and offer up to Him what’s on the inside. He will accept it and cause you to follow through with that issue in victory.
May the champion in you rise to the occasion as you develop the art of ‘offering it up.’ Your recovery will be quick indeed.'”
Jordan Spieth, I pray you will catch the revelation of offering your scores up to God as an offering–yes, your 7 and devastating loss—let Him consume it—and return you to the first tee full of faith, vigor, and victory as the young champion who is the ultimate epitome of confidence. I pray His all consuming love will melt away every vestige of defeat and disappointment as you are more than a conqueror who Him who loves you. Amen.
If you would like to learn the spiritual dynamics to peak performance, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.