Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.  Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NLT) 


Here’s the picture. 

It was a day which could only be described as a Winnie the Pooh kind of day—blustery and uncertain.  Not the most desirable for a day of golf.  But there you are standing in the fairway, 180 yards away from a narrow elevated green sloping from back to front and guarded on the front left by water and on the back right by yawning revetted bunkers. 

A slightly errant tee-shot has come to rest on the far left side of the fairway.  The right side was the intended target, and you now require an approach shot which must be navigated around a majestic oak tree standing directly in your line of flight.  Too much navigation will bring the water on the left front into play, too little and the sand-filled canyons on the right will swallow your ball.  Although still in the freshly-manicured fairway, the ball has come to rest in a sand-filled divot.  The goal, a small cup, is precariously cut on the front left corner of the green, holding a flagstick displaying a flag starched straight by the steady gale blowing from right to left.

            Years ago I would have surveyed that scene with only one acceptable outcome in mind—a ball landing softly on the green and rolling slowly and directly into the cup or at least as close as possible.  Only one outcome would have been acceptable.  Today, my intention is the same, my desire is as intense, my goal is as clear, and my planning and preparation as complete.  Your approach would probably be the same.

But today my perspective is different.  And before making that shot, may I suggest a different perspective for you as well?  A view that a good friend, whom I spoke to again just the other day, describes as the NATO principle.  That is, in the midst of that scene I described above or something similar we may find ourselves in, we apply the NATO principle, that is—you are “Not Attached to Outcome”—NATO. 

The result, he assured me, would be that you would begin to find joy in the journey—whether the outcome was “successful” or not.  You would begin to experience a journey of endless possibilities, of endless paths to the same, or a similar outcome, or perhaps a different outcome than that for which you had planned—and maybe one even more satisfying.  A journey in which you begin to notice all the things, people, moments—all the blessings—around you as you plan the shot and walk the 180 yards to the green. 

A journey in which you begin to live each moment of each day which the God who created you has laid before you.   

            Solomon put it this way in the 3rd Chapter of the book of Proverbs:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.     Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NLT) 

            If you’re anything like I was for years, I’ll bet you’ve already planned your “shots” for the week.  Schedule’s all set.  People you need to see.  Calls you have to make.  Flights you have to catch.  Meetings to attend.  All the goals for the week on target.  With the hope that the desired outcomes are assured.  Right? 

Uncertainty has all but been made certain by your careful planning.  Right?  You feel pretty secure? No worry, trepidation, gnawing anxiety, increased pulse-rate or muscle-freezing fear taking hold of you—all because of your painstaking preparation and planning.  Right? 

I wonder how far back in your memory you have to go to find that moment when all those best laid plans didn’t work out as you had envisioned.  How far back do you have to go to remember the water hazards, “pot” bunkers, blowing winds and frigid temperatures you hadn’t planned for when you woke up that morning?  How far back until you remember that unplanned illness that lingered longer than it should have, you found a friend in need, your job took an unexpected turn, or a relationship had stretched to the breaking point, or even more important—your child just couldn’t seem to find their way in life.

Planning for tomorrow—using the gifts and abilities He has given each of us—is something we do, and is necessary and important.  But the outcomes of tomorrow, which we plan for today, are just about as certain as any of us holing out that shot I described as we first began visiting above.  The only thing certain about tomorrow is that the God who created and loves you and me will be there to journey with us.   And that’s where our security for living comes from, not in knowing the outcome, not in storing up material wealth, not in planning for every possibility, but in the journey with Him—no matter the unexpected twists and turns—because we face them with a God who wants the best for us. 

We face them with a God whose plan for us is to become all He created us to be, while leaning on His infinite wisdom, and not our own.  And the outcomes of tomorrow, although still uncertain, when approached as a continuing journey of trust with a God who loves you and me, become limitless possibilities with endless opportunities for living a life which is exciting, energizing, stretching, and abundant—full of unimaginable blessings only He can plan for us.

            The next time you have such a shot before you as we began with above—may I suggest a crisply struck six iron with a gentle draw on the ball that will ride the wind around the majestic oak and gently land on the front edge of the newly mowed green?

 It rolled off the front slope and into the water?  Not the intended outcome. 

Should have hit a five iron.  

But did you notice the beautiful mother duck and her five tiny ducklings paddling their way through the now-rippling pond as you walked up to the green? 

Thank you Lord.  Enjoy the journey—with Him.                    


In His Name–Scott


Copyright 2011.  Scott L. Whitaker.  All rights reserved.