This is a guest post from Joel Fortner. Thanks Joel!
Pockets filled, I limped out of the woods that bordered the fairway of the 8th hole. On my search for lost golf balls , I stepped over a fallen tree into a depression hidden by ivy and twisted my ankle.
It didn’t stop me though. There were more balls out there and I had to find them.
It hit me so powerfully. My wife and I were enjoying a country breakfast at a local bakery and restaurant when I told her about it. It was the summer of 2010.
I felt God. I felt He was calling me to do something. To act. To do more.
So my journey began to figure it out. It’s the only thing I wanted to talk about on daily walks with MaryBeth, what I wrote about at home and prayed for clarity on.
I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of the hunt. That’s what this felt like, and I wouldn’t stop until I figured it out. I wouldn’t stop until my pockets were filled with golf balls.
As each day passed, my discernment became clearer. It was crystallizing and taking form until one day it stopped. It stopped because I found it!
To advance others through personal-growth education
My new personal mission statement was done. Days of talks, writing and prayer had led me to this. This was my purpose and my new direction.
Months later, after stewing over how to activate it, I had gone so far as to start a marketing coaching business in which I could serve people in a way I knew how. I still do this today, and I get as much joy out of helping people now as I did then. Since then, I’ve even added other ways to put my purpose to work.
Little did I know then, I was wrong. My journey had not ended. I had only found a piece of something. While I thought my pockets were filled, they were not, and in actuality, they were filled with holes.
I realized this in July of this year when I embarked on the single most powerful personal-growth event of my life – LifePlan.
For two days, my great friend Chris LoCurto guided me through a process of introspection, discovery and hope.
He helped me rip my life apart as I knew it up to that hour, gain perspective on major turning points, my upbringing, things that happened to me and things I did to others, all of which had shaped me. All of which had created the many holes in my pockets.
At the end of day two, I was renewed and free and more hopeful and at peace than I had ever been. During the time with Chris, my perspective on people, events and myself had totally changed. No longer were there monsters and victims. Pint-up anger and sadness were released. My strengths and skills were validated, and where I’d seen moments in life I’d like to erase, I now saw God.
To Glorify God
My true purpose had been found.
That day in July everything looked different. I just needed some help to see it was there the whole time. It’s also there for you, but can you see it?
My pastor recently spoke of the infinite struggle man will have with sin and a desire to be Christ-like. It started in the garden as written in Genesis and will continue well after you and I are gone. It’s just how it is.
The thing is that’s only part of our journey; it’s not our calling, and that’s perfectly fine because a Messiah was born to save us. That’s the good news, and it’s our job to live to His glory. When we let this into our heart, the game changes.
Back on the course
If I wanted to play golf, I had to find balls. I couldn’t afford to buy them.
I probably found every available ball on the market back then, and while some were used for practice, the best were used for the course.
But here’s the funny thing. Today, I don’t have any of them. They’re gone. I lost them all.
Through rounds and rounds of practice and play, one by one they all disappeared. Some found the depths of ponds charged with protecting greens. Others nestled out of sight in tall grass fields I practiced in. But most ended up back where I found them – in the woods along the 8th and 9th holes.
Full circle they’d come and perhaps more than once. Someone had hit each ball before I found them. Who knows how many times they’d been hit and retrieved by people before me. And therein lies the key.
Just believe and keep going
When you hit a ball out of bounds, it’s frustrating. Not only does it cost you strokes, it cost you money. It also makes you feel bad about yourself and sometimes you think things like “I’m not good enough.” These are moments when four-letter words other than “golf” creep over your teeth.
The same thing happens off the course. Each day is a journey we hopefully live to His glory and during a great many of them we fail with gusto. Each day we swing our clubs and hit many balls. Some of them go straight down the middle of the fairway, many stop in the rough and a great many end up out of bounds.
But even still the good news never changes. Jesus Christ was born, lived and sacrificed for you and me. Despite knowing this eternal truth and living our lives to His glory, we will fall short. We always have and we always will. Again, it’s perfectly okay.
So rather than curse and shout, throw our clubs, and believe we aren’t good enough, recognize this is just all part of our tale and do this.
Walk over to the edge of the woods, smile and go find Him again.
Question: How do you keep focused on living to glorify God?
Joel Fortner’s mission is advancing people through personal-growth education. That’s why he joined Business and Leadership expert Chris LoCurto‘s team and why he is a Small Business Marketing Coach.