Today's been one of "those days". It hasn't been bad-although there've been bad parts; and it hasn't been good-although, there've been some good parts too. But it's one of the days that leaves me, at it's end, asking myself what I'm doing.
Sometimes, I look back at a day or a week, and wonder if I'll ever learn. Today had a few of those experiences--the ones that, if you'd learned your lesson the last time, or two times ago, or five times ago, you'd be smiling about, as opposed to crying.
I, apparently, am thick-skulled. I just can't seem to get it right. And I find myself, on what seems like the fourth or fifth hole, playing my sixth or seventh mulligan--saying, "Hey, self: I've messed up again. Gimme another ball." At some point, you hesitate to stick your hand in the bag for fear that it'll be suddenly empty.
I stop, and look back over the course I've traversed thus far, and see my shots gone awry strewn all about the course, and I realize that, above all else, I'm simply an embarrassement when it comes to the game of life.
And I'm tempted to despair. No, that's not true; I promptly dive-bomb, emotionally, into the deepest pits of despair. At times, it feels like a permanent fixture in my life.
I think that's probably the single greatest struggle that I face when it comes to a relationship with God; how in the world could a God really love someone as messed up as I?
Because, I'll be honest with you--perhaps this says something about me as a Christian--but, for the most part, I don't really "feel" loved by God. I'm certain that He does love me, but often, the disconnect between my heart and my mind is so severe, I can't force myself to trust it fully.
Especially on these days, when I start counting the stray balls and the mulligans.
I took a few moments tonight to gaze back down the course of my life, and began examining, from this great distance, some of those embarrassing shots that landed me in the sand-traps of life. Some of them were near enough that I could see. Others were distant-far enough back that they were no more than a speck on a field of green. Others were so far behind me, they weren't even visible any more.
And then it struck me: despite the fact that I look back over the game, and I can't recall a single excellent stroke, but can see, in plain sight, the evidence of dozens of horrible shots, I stand here, on this fourth or fifth hole, having made some headway.
And I stood, speechless, for a moment. How is it that I've not made a single decent shot, yet I've progressed nicely down the course?
"It was me," I heard.
I looked around.
"I've been making the shots for you; you refused to acknowledge it, and kept trying to play the game alone, and I let you play. But I played alongside you. It's because of me you're still here.
"And so, what right do you have to think poorly of yourself? You win the game," He continued. "I'm insulted that you can't get over yourself long enough to let go of the lack of self-worth, and realize that, if I weren't playing the game with you, you'd not have budged from your starting point. Why don't you forget you for a while, and just be a tool that I can use to accomplish what I want to accomplish THROUGH you?"
I'm sorry again, God.