Letting It Go

Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. We can get so caught up in trying to attain some goal that we trample over any chance that we might have. It’s the bull in the china shop syndrome. Instead of life unfolding in an easy and facile way, we become consumed with the struggle.

As the struggle cascades, the tension revolving around it begins to mount. In a game like golf, tension that evolves into physical tension only makes things harder still. And as the scenario plays out over time, a pall descends over the situation that makes it even more grating.

That had happened to Ben Crane before he won last week’s McGladrey Classic in Sea Island, Georgia:

This really reminds me of Jonathan Byrd last year, one of my best friends. He and I were sitting in a hotel room in Las Vegas this year, and he’s just like, “Man, how you doing?” I’m like, you know – I think he expected me to say I was really struggling because the golf wasn’t all that good, and I just said, you know, I’m doing great, because the rough season of golf has brought me closer to God.

And my pastor friend said, look, you can take golf away, you can take anything in your life that you love away, and if you have God, you have enough. So that’s just – I just feel I’ve got a little bit of idolatry in my life. I don’t mean to go too spiritual on you guys, but golf was becoming too important to me, and then these last few weeks I’ve just said, you know what, golf is not everything. I can go on without it. It’s amazing how when you let it go, it’s amazing how things free up. So these last few weeks have been really fun.

In any exploration of mastery, we are being less than honest with ourselves if we don’t look beyond our humanity and into other dimensions of what accounts for our greatness. For some, its mere serendipity. For others, the guiding energy of the universe. For still others, it’s a spiritual answer where we acknowledge the existence and force of God in our lives. And then there’s Bible-based religion where all of this is explained in writing. That’s what Crane was talking about.

And what he is talking about is a constant theme in the Bible, revering God above all else. That instead of looking at God as a sometimes convenient but peripheral player in the living of life, the most freedom comes from relaxing into the persistent evidence that God is the central planner and executor of our life’s plan.

Q. You mentioned kind of the concept of letting go and keeping golf in its proper perspective with the successful results that you’ve had with that type of approach. What takeaways do you get from today and that you can use the rest of the year?

Well, I’ve got one tournament left this year. I’m going to go back to Malaysia, which I love, Kuala Lumpur was great last year, CIMB tournament. They’ve got a good field again, and so I’m excited to go back there … But the takeaway for me is simply to let golf be golf. I absolutely love it, and days like today make me love it sometimes too much.

But it’s amazing how the peace God gives me when I put my priorities in place and put God first and my family next and then golf, and everything else – and make my decisions through that filter.

So it’s an easy thing to say, but for me it’s been a really hard thing to do this year, and so that’s been something that’s been on my heart for the last three weeks, just trying to get my heart back to – life is rigged. It’s absolutely rigged, and we can try it any way we want, but the only way it works is the way God’s put it together. I’m trying to be obedient to that.

For those who bridle at religious conversations, I understand. But this blog explores the building blocks of mastery and—with his bookend quadruple birdies to win the McGladrey Classic—in Ben Crane we have a master who relied on this particular idea to the exclusion of all else. And it helped him to accomplish what he most wanted for himself in his professional life…simply by letting it go.

In exploring mastery through golf, it’s important to know about all the possible arrows for your quiver.

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