The paralyzing tension of mechanics vs the fluidity and freedom of grace

– hole #18 at Falls Village

 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. – Romans 7:6

Wednesday may have been another brutally hot day, but my friend George and I managed to get in some golf out at Falls Village and I really enjoyed myself.

I haven’t been able to play since sometime in May so it took a couple of holes to find my swing agin. Then when I did the result was pretty sweet. It is remarkable how truly satisfying it is to whack a little ball, and watch it fly over 250 yards to the exact place intended.

My ball-striking may have been good, but with a couple of exceptions my putting was awful! I finally got the speed of the greens by around the 15th hole and managed to par my way in.

Interplay between discipline and freedom:

Golf is an interesting interaction between discipline and freedom. The mechanics of a swing need to be sound, but the last thing you want to do when hitting a golf ball is to actually think about any of the pieces that make up the whole.

True story: I have a friend in Tampa who worked as a mechanical engineer for several decades. He liked to pick apart the details of his golf swing, he read all the golf magazines, he watched instructional videos, and would tinker with his approach. “Derek!” he exclaimed one day before we played a round, “I’ve broken down my swing into 12 separate pieces. If I do them all right it’s going to be wonderful.”

Good luck with that! I thought. If it was me I’d tie myself up in knots and topple off the first tee! I have trouble chewing gum and walking at the same time if I have to think about what I am doing!

Interesting parallel:

The secret to my golf game is NOT thinking.

  1. Stand over the shot;
  2. look down the fairway;
  3. picture a perfectly beautiful shot and where it would go;
  4. then gently, lightly – three-quarter strength and with an easy rhythm – swing the club in one single, complete, fluid motion.

Bingo. There it goes.

Much the same as the difference between the hard work of religion and the easy rhythms of faith… the difference between a focus on doctrine and the practice of love… the difference between judgment and grace.

Follow Jesus; love God; love each other too. Any questions?

– Derek Maul at Falls Village
  1. Begin the day in the presence of Jesus;
  2. invite Jesus to saturate your day with his love and peace;
  3. thank God for God’s faithfulness with a sense of expectation;
  4. then gently, lightly – relying on timing and balance more than gut-wrenching effort – live love out loud in one single, complete, fluid motion.

Bingo. There you go. – DEREK


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