>Facing the Beast Within

>It’s funny how on the heels of writing a post about pride you find yourself in a situation that directly confronts your pride (actually, it’s not that funny). This past weekend I got done with an annual golf trip with friends. I was so looking forward to the time – we reminisce, play golf, and eat really well. It’s a great time to reconnect and to check up on each other. 

This year was very different. I’ve played some of my best golf this year, but coming in I was the most uncomfortable with my swing that I’ve ever been. In addition to that, I was the most excited about playing and being with the guys. However, all of that went out the window as I played the worst golf I’ve played all year. I was shocked at how angry I got. I was muttering curse words, wanting to break my clubs, silent, and not having fun. I missed the enjoyment of being with friends I hadn’t seen all year just because I wasn’t playing this game well. The sour attitude overflowed into after the round as well. I was so emotionally exhausted from the round that I didn’t have any energy left for just hanging out. A lot of the time was spent in some combination of sulking and reflecting on why I responded the way I did. Some of my reflections. 

1. I was angry not because I played poorly, but because I didn’t play up to my expectations. It wasn’t about not performing, it was about not performing up to the perceived expectations and pressures. In sum, it was about my pride. My pride fueled anger and resentment, and consumed me to the point that I didn’t, actually I couldn’t, enjoy the time there. I was embarrassed and blinded, and at the end regretful that I wasted a precious weekend. 

2. There is so much in my heart that still needs to believe the Gospel. Why should a bad performance with guys who love me and a game that I love cause me so much anger? Because I put my worth and identity into it. I forgot the Gospel. I forgot that the only thing that really matters at the end of the day is that my eternity is secure, my hopes founded, and my identity is established in Him. No game, no sport can give me that, and when I forget that, suddenly a single game of golf has immense consequences. In short, me anger is fueled by my lack of belief in so many areas. 

3. Finally, judging from the way I reacted, it’s clear to me that golf has become more than passion for me, it’s an idol. When our idols are under attack (in this case, by playing poorly and losing over and over again), we respond in defensiveness, anger, and hatred towards whatever and whomever challenges that. Such was the case for me. What’s the best way to put down an idol? To remove it and destroy it. Stay tuned on what happens here. 

Finally, I’m left grieving over my stupid and selfish reactions towards the weekend. I was a jerk, and I needed to ask forgiveness from the guys I offended. I missed out on what could have been a great weekend. I’m not sure at this point if I’ll be going back next year, but I can say that my eyes have been opened to a beast called pride that is alive and well within. What hope do I have for change? Only the Gospel of grace.  

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