In just a few short weeks, Jordan Spieth, the uber-talented professional golfer, will return to the sight of his train wreck that was the 12th hole in the final round of the 2016 Master’s Golf Tournament. In less than 5 minutes, Jordan hit 2 golf balls into a water hazard near the green. Jordan’s epic collapse in the world of golf that afternoon interrupted his inevitable crowning as the winner of one of golf’s great events that day.
Have you ever felt like that? You are on top of the world…things are going great…..smooth sailing…and then SPLAT. In a few quick moments, you have turned things upside down with poor decision making or failure to see the big picture.
If Jordan Spieth is the consummate professional I believe him to be, I suspect his name will be back on the leaderboard when Sunday afternoon, April 9th, rolls around. Whether your name is Jordan Spieth or not, there are some valuable principles that come into play when you face that quadruple bogey in life.
1. Our FAILURES don’t DEFINE us.
One of the Old Testament Champions of Faith, King David, was hampered by stories of failure. There was the story of a census being taken in the Old Testament that David was responsible for and it brought consequences to 70,000 Israelites under David’s leadership. Then, there is the story of David’s sexual sin with Bathsheba and the subsequent hit David put out on Bathsheba’s husband, Urriah. These things might be enough to leave anyone feeling disqualified from life,
I Samuel 13:14 gives us that picture of King David that we all can affirm and embrace — “The Lord sought a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people.” Throughout the historical books of the Old Testament, we hear success stories about King David. King David, despite some epic failures in life, was a part of the lineage of the Savior born to mankind.
Failures, yes, sure. But they don’t define you or me. King David was a “man after God’s heart.” You, too, can be men and women after God’s heart despite a failure. Oh, and yeah, Jordan Spieth won’t ultimately be defined by hitting 2 golf balls into the water in the final round of the Master’s—his legacy will be defined in different terms, I suspect.
2. Take time to REFLECT on those FAILURES.
There is a huge difference between reflecting on something and dwelling on something!
Author and pastor Tony Campolo told of a survey he did of people over the age of 95 and, if given the chance, what would they do differently in life if they could relive it. One of the things people said was to pause and reflect on life more. Campolo strengthened his point by illustrating a Harvard Business School study which said true learning only occurs when one takes the time to reflect on aspects of that learning, rather than just walking through it blindly. Therefore, whether it is the Jordan Spieth’s of the golf world, or you in your daily life, when the unthinkable happens to you, don’t just push through it without giving it the attention of your mind and your soul. THINK about what happened. WHY? WHAT COULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY TO AVOID IT? WHAT WOULD/SHOULD I CHANGE?
Take a cue from Jordan Spieth: I guarantee you over the past 11 months, he has spent countless hours revisiting those moments. He has evaluated his golf swing, his attitude, his emotions, the input of his caddie, and how he handled the pressure of the moment. He will learn from his failure that day—YOU CAN TOO!
3. Evaluate your PURPOSE.
Jon Gordon, an author in the world of leadership, has said “people are most energized when they are using their talents and abilities for something beyond themselves.” When you read about Jordan Spieth, you realize there is so much more to him than just a great golfer. He still drives the same vehicle he drove when he was in high school despite the fact he has banked $23 million dollars by the age of 23. Spieth has a 14-year old sister who has autism and the golfer is known for his deep love for his sister. He brings her gifts from every tournament and town he visits. He vocalizes often she is a motivator for him because of the day-to-day challenges she faces because of her special needs.
I read recently that Jordan had the opportunity after his first Master’s win to book a dinner at a fancy, local restaurant in Augusta, Georgia for a celebration. Instead, he and his family bought out the Chick-Fil-A in the area for that same celebration.
When we come to that point in life where we begin to serve and give of ourselves to others, and think less of ourselves in the process, we have reached a stage where our legacy will be one of greater purpose in life and those FAILURES won’t seem so large when measured against the character of the person making those MISTAKES.
4. KEEP SWINGING.
Jordan Spieth did not put away his clubs following that tournament. He did not go into retirement. You don’t need to either. Jordan is back out there almost every week in PGA tournaments honing his craft. When his name gets called on that first tee to begin play, he puts that tee in the ground and gets to work. The same applies for us. One failure, or even a series of failures, doesn’t mean we put the golf clubs back in the bag. Keep swinging. Keep grinding. Be prepared because your name will be called at some point to get back into the game, and you don’t want to be found with your clubs in the bag. I promise you can TEE IT UP again with confidence.
So, when the Quadruple bogeys in life come your way:
- Don’t let that failure DEFINE you.
- REFLECT, but don’t dwell on it.
- Evaluate your ultimate PURPOSE
- Keep SWINGING!
Pastor Jeff Thompson | Pastoral Care