Fearlessly forward – Day 15
Fearlessly forward with a positive mindset
At one stage, Rory McIlroy was the world’s best golfer. However, this was not always the case. On April 10, 2011, the 22-year-old golfer was the frontrunner and favourite to win on his last day of the (U.S.) Masters Tournament in Augusta — his first major golf tournament. But stress and tension prevailed. He lost his concentration and managed to match the worst round in the history of the tournament. It was such a public humiliation that many sports commentators wondered if McIlroy would ever recover.
Two months later, however, McIlroy surprised his critics when he won the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament with a record of 16 strokes under par. This time he enthralled the golf world and sports commentators started to refer to him as the new “Tiger Woods” of the golf arena.
What helped McIlroy to fight back after his shocking performance at Augusta? He answered this question in an article: “After Augusta I spoke to a few people and came to the realisation that I was way too focused on the final day. I went to bed the previous night thinking about the final round and I woke up thinking about what possibly could go wrong. It made me totally anxious.”
Today, McIlroy’s strategy is completely different: “I switch off after each shot I have played and speak to my caddie about the movie I watched the night before or a football game. Only when I get closer to the ball for my next shot will I start focusing again. In this way there is no time to ponder on what possibly can go wrong or negative thoughts or doubts to affect me. All I have time for is to consider the shot that needs to be played. I visualise where it should go, pull out my golf club from my bag and hit the ball.”
McIlroy’s words made me realise that we, like professional athletes, can easily fall into the trap of becoming so focused on what can potentially go wrong, that we become anxious or live in fear. In Ephesians 6:11, Paul reminds us to put on the armour of God daily: “Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” And then in Ephesians 6:17: “Put on the helmet of salvation.” In Romans 12:2 we read: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” And in Philippians 4:8 Paul gives the following advice to think about: “… whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”
Do you allow negative thoughts to overwhelm you or can you already see in your mind’s eye in faith how God is restoring your marriage, enabling you to afford your own home, how the doctor declares you healthy, how you see two lines on the pregnancy test after years of prayer, or how you finally walk down the aisle on your wedding day to the special person God has chosen for you?
What we visualise in our lives (positive or negative), will eventually become our reality. We can therefore, like McIlroy at Augusta, have the worst round of golf in the history of the tournament or we can win with a record 16 under par. God bless!