“Your identity is not in your golf score!” For over 10 years now we have preached this truth to our 3 children. When our son, Brewer, started playing golf competitively, it was evident that his good and bad days depended on his golf score. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it because a bad golf score prompted him to work harder. It was only when our second son, Thomas, started to compete intournaments that we saw this attitude become a REAL problem.
After all, the first thing anyone asks when you finish a round is, “What did you shoot?” Not having played sports growing up, I initially deferred most of the guidance of athletics to my husband. He played and lettered in 5 sports in high school and played Division 1 college football, so he was accustomed to the ups and downs in athletics. Such experiences were foreign to me. When our daughter, Collins, entered the competitive seen in tournaments, the problem became so magnified I knew something had to be done. Golf, a sport, and performance were taking over our household.
We sat our 3 kids down with a golf teacher and mentor, Curt Sanders, and talked to them about their identity in golf as it relates to them. We had been preaching and talking with them daily about this but we needed to bring in someone who had all of their respect, someone who had done what they were trying to do which was play college golf.
Curt, being a lover of Christ, an All-American at Ohio State, and now a golf instructor, could speak their language. He talked to them about their identity being in “Christ” and how in golf you lose more often than you win. He warned them about letting golf and their score become their idol and identity. Their value to God was not in their golf score. Ephesians 2:10 provides good instruction on our true value. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We have spent hours talking with them about allowing golf to be a vehicle to use their God-given ability, not for themselves but, for God. Allowing Him to work through them, further developing their ability and their attitude and actions, rather than focusing on their score.
How many times do we allow our identity to be in other things? For women it may be wrapped up in how we look, the purse we carry or the shoes we wear. Or maybe it is even in how our children turn out or a paycheck that makes us feel better. For men it may be their paycheck, how successful their kids are in anything–school, sports–or it could be the number of boards they serve on. Maybe how big their house is or the cars they drive give them their identity. We ALL have a blank we can fill in.
What I have learned is the world puts too much EMPHASIS on things and performance, especially wins. In the grand scheme these things DO NOT MATTER! What matters most is the REASON we do things! Do we do it for selfish gain and status or do we do it for the Glory of the Lord? In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says,” Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected them. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at, like the outward appearance, but the LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART.”
As a family we continually pray and turn the focus back to God, especially where golf is concerned. It is an ongoing battle. I will say golf has taught our family over and over again lessons in humility. Wins have come along with publicity from TV and newspapers, but so have high scores and bad tournaments. Many times we all have experienced different treatment by others depending on whether our performance was good or bad. Keeping our “REASON WHY WE PLAY GOLF”, or whatever we do, where it needs to be we have to live in the realm of Matthew 5:13. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses it’s saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by man.” To sum it up, I am thankful to God for using golf to continue to challenge our family in measuring “OUR SALTINESS!”