A few weeks ago, the professional men competed in their U.S. Open. I remember watching that final round intently. The rough (which began immediately off the fairway—no first cut here), was only eclipsed by the barrancas that flanked many of the holes. Good lies in one of those were nonexistent.
I remember watching the leader, Wyndham Clark, on the eighth hole try to go for the par 5 green in two, only to hit into a barranca. When he got to his ball, he apprised his lie. His ball was in a huge clump of wispy grass. The way he peered into that clump, and the fact that the camera couldn’t pick up the ball, meant that it was in there deep. I was waiting to see what he would do. Even taking an unplayable lie didn't look like a good option.
He looked again, then pulled out a club, took his stance, and finally took a huge swing—and missed—or hit it further into the bush. The bottom line is it didn’t come out.
Here it comes, I thought. The meltdown that inevitably happens in the final round to those players not used to this pressure-packed situation. Winning is tough.
But Clark peered into that bush again, reset himself, and swung again . . . hard . . . and the ball flew to the back of the green into some of that nasty rough. He then hacked it out of there to put it two feet from the pin and putt in for bogey. What could have been an implosion turned into a bogie--a loss of one shot--and he was able to retain a one-shot lead, which he never relinquished and ultimately went on to win the U.S. Open.
I went on Youtube to see if I could watch that shot again. There was a video showing every swing that Wyndham Clark took in that final round. The video was 22 minutes long, which included a couple of replays. Twenty-two minutes is all the swinging this player made out of a 5+ hour round. Most sources say, that’s about all the time any of us take for shot-making in a round of golf. Twenty-two minutes.
So what are we doing the rest of the time? Well, a lot of time it is thinking: swing thoughts, score thoughts, what-if thoughts, if-only thoughts, lunch thoughts, negative thoughts, and maybe an encouraging thought every so often.
Thoughts are so powerful, that many professional athletes hire sports psychologists to help them rein in and then reframe their thought process.
Lesson? What we think about is so vital to how we live. Even though we may not be a professional athlete, we, too, can be captive to a poor thought process, which in turn handcuffs us from moving forward or getting better in whatever venue we find ourselves.
The Bible addresses our thoughts and our hearts often, for in Biblical times the heart was not the seat of our emotions, but was thought to function like our brain. It was the seat of our intellect. (Keep that in mind as you read your Bible verses.) (The Heart)
Here are just a few reminders of what the Bible tells us.
Be anxious for nothing . . . (Philippians 4:6).
. . . forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before (Philippians 3:13).
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).
So if you find yourself with a lot of time on you hands and sense that your thoughts are heading in the wrong direction do the following:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).