Turned By Kindness
…do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:4, NIV)
I am still getting used to the idea that I am a member of the Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA. First of all, I am in denial that I am old enough to be deemed a senior golfer (the generosity of the 45-year age limit). Most days I still feel like a 30-something and believe that I should be able to jump right back into playing great competitive golf again. Yet, my experience so far is that it’s not as easy to come back as one would imagine… especially after taking an eight-year hiatus.
My most recent event was the inaugural LPGA Senior Championship played at French Lick Resort in southern Indiana. The golf course was a beautiful blanket of green spanning a plateau. The pencil-thin fairways were flanked by cascading drop-offs littered with pot bunkers and thick rough. The tiny, undulating greens were unforgiving to both good and poor shots, especially when the wind blew. It was a tough test of golf for even the seasoned competitor.
My logical brain says that I am stronger emotionally than years past, I have practiced, and I should be able to play great golf again. Well, I experienced something much different during the tournament days as cortisol rushed through my body and I struggled swinging the club the way I knew how. I retreated to doubt and fear instead of staying relaxed and enjoying the process. I was miserable.
What I was most disappointed in is the unkindness I slayed myself with throughout the course of play. Matter of fact, I was downright aggressive with words of self-contempt and self-hatred. I floundered between inviting Jesus to be with me on the course to kicking him off with my venom. In the aftermath, I found myself feeling like a failure, in self-care, self-kindness, and staying in the present moment—something I have been intentionally working on for the past year.
As I sat with my counselor in the aftermath, I shared how I felt like I had digressed and asked, “How do I climb my way back to where I was in my self-kindness and being present to where I found myself after the tournament?” Without hesitating she said, “Tracy, all you have to do is choose to come back. Evil wants you to feel stuck and think you have to fight your way back, but you don’t have to. You are already coming back as you talk about it.”
In that moment, I felt a release of tension deep inside me and I felt my body rest. I was reminded that Jesus is always near. His invitation always present. His loving-kindness always ready to give us rest. I don’t have to earn it.
Is there a struggle or behavior you are experiencing where you are trying to earn your way back to God or others? It is the kindness of God that leads us back to repentance (a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done). It is always our choice to come back.
July 27, 2017
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