Today, I came to a potentially life changing decision. It wasn't an easy one to make, but after years of frustration and falling short of the mark, I feel that this decision was required. Not only required, but necessary, for my own mental health, if nothing else.
What could be such an important decision? Relax. For some of you, this is going to seem very trivial. But I have to tell you, I am steadfastly resolved to follow through on it. Here's the Big Reveal and then I will share with you the Decision: I have come to the conclusion that I am just an average golfer. I cannot hit the ball as far as I used to, nor can I hit it as straight as I desire. I have spent countless numbers of minutes trying to figure out how I can get my score down to what is the basic standard in golf, normally called "par".
Here's some background on the Big Reveal: I've been keeping some stats - if you are a numbers person, you'll love this. I have recorded 15 rounds of golf since the start of this season. That translates into 270 possible pars this year. I have recorded exactly 64 pars during those 15 rounds - which is about 24%. There is one hole on the course I play which I have not parred this year! Not once. Haven't even come close.
I hate that hole.
Now, to my credit, I have birdied exactly one hole. Exactly one. The rest of the time has been spent in bogeys, double bogeys and others (which are larger than the first two). My average score for 18 holes is a 91. I counted up all of my strokes and if I were to have entered into a 15 round tournament, I would be a whopping 301 strokes over par. That's an average of 20 over par each time I step on the first tee. No wonder I'm so tired after a round of golf! I'm hitting the ball too many times!
So that's my reality. Here's the Decision: I have decided that since I am an average golfer, I am arbitrarily moving the standard of par by adding one stroke to every hole. I will be a much happier camper knowing that if I shoot my average (which is about 91) I will only be two over par!
This could change the way I look at golf for the rest of my life! No longer do I need to fret over the fact that I'm never going to be good enough to break 80 (which by the new standard of par, would be nine under par. Can you imagine what that would sound like if someone asked me how I shot today and I told them I was nine under? I know I am going to be much happier with this decision.
I couldn't help but pause for a moment and think about the standards that we sometimes set in life. Sometimes, they are impossibly too high for some of us to measure up to. We work so hard to bring our "A" game to our work places, our school work, our family relationships, our marriages, our children, our communities. What would it look like to not be so concerned about reaching a level of par that very few can attain?
It's true that we are all equal in God's sight. And God's grace is the great equalizer. When we are not up to par spiritually, God's grace tells us we are still loved. When we fall into the sand traps and water hazards of life, God's grace tells us we are still valued. When we struggle to keep on the straight and narrow fairways, God's grace is always there, waiting for us to turn around and find shelter.
Of course I cannot equate my golf challenges with our lives - it's just a game. But it is nice to know that with God's grace, I can break par every time I stand on the first tee of the morning. There's a chance because God's grace is a standard that I can hit every time because it was made especially for me and for you - persons who are just average people trying to make their lives count.
God's grace helps me know that I can always be up to par.