LINKS PLAYERS TESTIMONY CARD
‘I FELT LIKE A FAILURE’
By Tom Lehman
I’ll never forget the day I won the British Open. All the awards ceremonies, the champagne toast with the R & A, the endless interviews.
What a feeling of exhilaration!
That night, I had dinner with a few of my friends. We stayed awake the whole night, sitting on the patio overlooking the Irish Sea, replaying every shot of
the last round that led to my first major championship victory. It was a grand celebration—one of those peak moments in life.
I was part of a similar celebration when I was 15 years old and our football team won the Minnesota State High School Championship. I played third-string
quarterback for the team that was the pride of Alexandria, the small Minnesota town where I grew up.
The whole town of 7,000 traveled to Minneapolis to watch us beat up on the biggest team in the state. The final score was 26-7.
When we returned to Alexandria, the team rode in on the town’s fire trucks down the city streets to the high school where a huge pep rally thundered in
the auditorium. Kids were screaming. Parents were cheering. Moms were crying. Everyone was electrified with excitement. Except me.
As a third-string player I’d sat on the bench all season. Never played a game—not one down the entire year. I felt like I didn’t belong on
the team. I felt like a failure. I felt worthless. Empty. And lonely.
These were feelings that had followed me all of my life. I was searching for something, but I didn’t know what. The football victories only made the
feelings stronger, like I didn’t measure up. I felt guilty, because I wanted to be a good kid. I wanted to be a good athlete. A good student. But I could never measure up. I was never good enough. I felt like
I didn’t matter.
I remember asking some pretty deep questions for a 15-year-old. Why am I here? What gives life meaning? Why am I so miserable? A lot of us have those
It so happened that my football coach was also an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) “huddle” leader. He regularly invited the team to the
FCA meetings. I put it off for a long time. Then I finally decided to go.
It was there that I heard things about God that I’d never heard before. Sure, I went to church every week, but as I heard someone once say, “You
can stand in your garage for an hour every week, but that doesn’t make you a car.”
The kids at this meeting were talking about things like “unconditional love” and “eternal acceptance.” It really struck a chord. That’s what I need! I thought to myself. But I had no idea how to get it.
They went on to tell me about Jesus. They opened the Bible and explained to me how God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross and save me from my sins. This
is incredible! You’re telling me that God did that for me—someone who doesn’t matter?! He loved me enough to do that?
Suddenly I felt like I did matter.
That night I prayed to receive Jesus as my Savior and started that relationship with Him—a relationship that’s lasted all my life.
Winning the British Open was a thrill of a lifetime. But I learned a long time ago that the thrill of victory is fleeting. It’s not long before you
find yourself asking, What’s next?
As much as I longed to win a major championship, it didn’t change anything. I was still the same person as before. I had the same hang-ups, the
same problems—and even some new ones.
The Bible says, “All men are like grass and their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall.”
So what is it that lasts? The only thing that has given my life true meaning—my relationship with Jesus Christ.
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