I’ve talked a lot here about going through the motions, being lukewarm, struggling with issues surrounding ministry and a relationship with Christ. And the more I look at those issues and dig deep into the root of it, it comes back to emotions.
The ENTIRE planet struggles with dealing with and managing our emotions. This morning on sports talk radio, the personalities were talking about Tiger Woods and his presser tomorrow regarding his affairs and the state of his marriage and career. As I was listening to that dialog I couldn’t help but wonder how someone the magnitude of Tiger Woods deals with the crazy range of emotions that come with being the “Best Golfer in the World”. Could it be that just maybe while mentally tough (sports-ism for being able to manage emotions) on the golf course, that “mental toughness” erodes when the cameras are off and the pressure that the world puts on him week in and week out weighs so heavy that he doesn’t no how to deal with it in a healthy and productive way? And Tiger goes through the motions. He walks to the podium before a tournament and answers the questions we want to hear answers to and he gives us fodder for our “Tiger vs. the Field” conversations. He plays amazing golf and then walks away – just maybe, he doesn’t even know who he is anymore either. He’s going through the motions.
He is golfer. Not just any golfer, but the ONE who drives ratings and revenue. That’s a huge load to carry. He’s commercial endorser. When off the course, he is carrying brands into the homes of millions on TV and online. It’s a huge burden to have your image responsible to move product. He is husband and father. For better or worse, I am sure his success on the course and through endorsements brings with it high expectations as a man in his own home. Most importantly, he is a creation of the God of the Universe and not even Tiger Woods can live up to His expectations. I know I don’t. I am sure Tiger finds himself going through the motions and deep down not really enjoying much of it. Should we be surprised that a man fails under those circumstances? Men and women with much less expected of them fail everyday. What began as a spotlight on a little innocent boy on the Tonight Show has become a magnifying glass that is burning a whole in that same innocent little boy’s soul. Don’t misunderstand me, Tiger has chosen this life for himself. He has made decisions that set him on this collision course. Yet, part of me wonders how heavily outside expectations have driven the decision making.
We’ve all been there. Waking up one day and looking in the mirror not knowing the person staring back at us. Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the essence of who we were created to be. We’re going through motions because we can’t effectively manage the emotions of personal relationships, decision making, circumstances and expectations that go with all of that.
It’s no wonder Tiger and the rest of us find ourselves here. Amazingly, 85% of your body’s available energy goes to your emotions. We are emotional beings. No wonder we are worn out from all this emotional mess that is life. But as many professional counselors and pastors have said before, “Your emotions cannot always be trusted.” How we manage our emotions will determine whether we find ourselves going through the motions. How do we manage our emotions? I don’t have any clear-cut, tried and true ten step plan. I do know this, our ability to effectively manage our emotions is directly tied to the proximity we are to Jesus Christ. The closer we are to Jesus, the healthier we are. Our spiritual health (where we truly are with Christ) is directly tied to our emotional health.
That is something we all need to learn, not just Tiger.