Links Daily Devotional

Knowing What to Think

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Philippians 4:8, The Message)

Mark Wilson fills the cover of our 2012 Links Players Magazine. I do not know him personally, but I have sure learned a lot about him from reading his story in the magazine and also from traveling with his mother and father-in-law for two weeks on our recent trip to Israel. (Mark, if you are reading this, trust me, they love you!)

If you have not done so, you must read his story. It is a story of patience and perseverance. It is also a story of a man who has a lot of game and more importantly a lot of faith in God.

Mark tells a remarkable story from Q-School (final stage of qualifying school for the PGA Tour). Q-school stories are always the best. The best story of Q-School that I have ever heard came from a guy who needed pars on the last three holes to make it on the number. As some friends came out to see him walk down the sixteenth fairway, they were aware of what he needed to do as well. No one spoke a word. An oppressive umbrella of pressure and urgency hung over them all. The player simply walked close to his friends without making eye contact and, looking straight ahead, muttered these words of desperation as he passed: “I want my mommy!”

That is negative pressure. Mark Wilson tells of a way he has learned to combat negative pressure by dwelling on positive results. As Bob Rotella has ingrained in us, “golf is not a game of perfect.” Neither is life. We all have stumbles and tragedies along the way. Mark’s method of dealing with all of this is to not dwell on the negative, but to remember the good shots he has hit under pressure.

I also believe it is our tendency and natural bent to see the negative among all the positives that God has given us. We worry about the “what if” too much. A good friend of mine is fond of saying, “We live in a divine art gallery of majestic art work and yet we are content to stare at the carpet.”

So what does Mark do about this? He explains in the magazine: “I keep a diary of the greatest shots I’ve hit. After every round I play, I write down three or four of my favorite drives and iron shots and putts. That way I can dwell on those good times and remember all the good things I do in the game.”

I think he is on to something. I made a resolution to try this as well. It may take a while to fill the first page, but I like the focus and the discipline of thinking on the good thoughts.

Today’s verse from Philippians is a good start for all of us. When we can do this with life as well as golf, I think we become more like Jesus. Jesus was always seeing the good in those society said were no good. We can more easily forgive and love others when we see the good in them, even if it is only a small amount of good. We must realize that others may have done the same with us in forgiving and loving us. I also think it helps us fall in love with God when we focus on the incredible gifts of beauty all around us, even in the midst of battles.

Thanks, Mark, for this great lesson. I pray we will all use it to move closer to Jesus.

Randy Wolff

March 5, 2012

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