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Minister's Forum-June 30, 2011

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How do we respond when life throws us a curve?

Our language is full of phrases that we can use to encourage people who are dealing with disappointing results  or unexpected outcomes. We remind ourselves that our ship will come in one day.

We mention to a friend that he can learn from a mistake, or that practice makes perfect. It is a good thing that such ideas are available, because things often don’t work out the way that we had planned for them to work. Let me share a recent example.
I play golf. In the past few years, I’ve gotten to the point that I play well enough to even enjoy the game. When I get to play with other groups of golfers, it is always in a scramble  setting. In this format, each player on the team of four takes a shot and the team plays the next shot from the best of the four previous shots. It is a fun way to play the game.
This spring, I mentioned to my wife that playing a stroke-play tournament sounded fun. In this format, I would be competing with my own score against the other players. She took the hint and signed me up for a tournament. I cleaned my clubs, bought some good golf balls (usually I use the ones found on the course) and made sure my socks matched my clothes. I was ready.
Turns out I played the single worst round of golf in my entire life.
After the round, the conversation with Kathy went something like this:
“Hi. So how did you play?”
“Terrible.”
“Did you at least have fun?”
“No.”
“Well, was it a good experience?”
“No. See you later.”
She was full of those encouraging phrases that actually helped, and in a day or so I was ready to figure out what went wrong. I’m considering having a step-by-step list to a good swing tattooed to my forearm to prevent another tragic day. I’m also trying to schedule another tournament, because we can learn from our mistakes.
Our spiritual journeys are often dealt disappointing results and unexpected outcomes. The apostle Paul has some appropriate words for us in Philippians 3:13-14. "Don’t dwell on the past, look ahead, and press on in the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."