Tracy HansonThursday, October 29, 2015

DEEP FEELINGS

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. (Psalm 31:9, ESV)

In early August of 1998, the du Maurier Classic was my second tournament back after the abrupt call and my sister’s voice saying, “Mom’s gone.” Late in the second round, I was fighting to make the cut when my sorrow erupted unexpectedly from deep in my heart. As I walked down the left rough, tears began dripping off my face. I had only moments to contain and swallow my grief before my caddie and playing partners noticed. At the same time my internal voice screamed at me to get my head back in the game.

The ropes you see at a professional tournament function as a barrier between the spectators and the players. They also serve as a symbolic boundary professionals use, leaving our struggles and problems outside the ropes and bringing only the mental focus needed to compete and win inside the ropes. I bought into this belief and worked hard to detach myself from the impact of what was happening in my life–loss, trauma, disappointment, heartache, worry, pain–while inside the ropes. I wasn’t always successful, as seen in this confession of my tearful breakdown.

The issue is not that I failed leaving my problems outside the ropes; how I responded to my perceived failure(s) is what was harmful. I routinely thrashed myself with hateful and angry words for not being mentally stronger and competitive. I doubted if I had what it takes to win. I punished myself by beating range balls until exhaustion set in. All of this unkindness toward myself followed me away from the course as well, making me an unpleasant person during these rants.

The Lord does give us the ability to develop a stronger mental focus in whatever we put our hand to: sports, business, parenting, ministry, music, education, Bible study, etc. But he has also commanded us to love with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind (Matthew 22:37). If this is true, then fully disconnecting what our body and soul are feeling from the tasks we are trying to accomplish is impossible under a healthy state of mind.

Grief is one of many emotions that impact the deepest places of our heart. In today’s verse, King David lamented about how his eye (presence), body and soul were wasting away because of grief. If our physical body alone is directly impacted by deep sorrow, our performance will also be impacted regardless of our mental strength. My tears in Canada betrayed my best efforts to disconnect from the sadness my heart and soul were still feeling over my loss. I did make the cut, barely, but I wasn’t playing within my peak performance.

I wish I could say that my first instinct is to cry out to the Lord each time I have experienced grief due to sudden loss, but it’s not. My default is to shut down and go numb because that is what helped me survive inside the ropes. Today, I am choosing to not be confined by any ropes. Like King David, I am crying out to my Lord and giving myself permission to grieve with my whole being and releasing the burden of feeling I need to perform at my best at all times.

Some days a poor outcome has nothing to do with our physical skills or talents. When heartache, sorrow, pain, and distress weigh our hearts down, we have a merciful and gracious God who waits for our lament, a much better option than suppressing our grief.

Tracy Hanson
October 29, 2015
Copyright 2015 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at Links Players.

Prayer

Are you masking the feelings that God intends to use for you to express yourself to him? In prayer today, be open with God, not only with words but with feelings, asking him to enter your places of deepest emotion.

Tracy Hanson is the Ladies Ministry Director for Links Players. Her 15 years of experience on the LPGA Tour, and also ministering to women who have suffered pain, equips her for this work. Email Tracy

The Matheny Manifesto 
Mike Matheny was just forty-one, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. Read more ».

2017 Links Player Magazine 
Order your FREE copy of the 2017 issue of Links Players Magazine. See details ».

Current Newsletter 
Read our latest newsletter here. To sign up to receive the Face to Face Newsletter by postal mail, please use this form, or contact our office at (812) 372-0096 or (812) 390-7949, and we will see that you are added to our mail list.

Donate 
If you would like to donate to the ongoing ministry of Face to Face by making a tax-deductible contribution, click here. For more information about Face to Face, please email us here, or contact our office at (812) 372-0096 or (812) 390-7949, and one of our staff will be happy to assist you.

Amazon Smile 
Support Face to Face by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com.

Calling for Christ 
Calling for Christ is a ministry for professional baseball umpires. Our focus is to love, encourage, and disciple umpires in their relationships with Jesus. Learn More »»