Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
When I was seventeen, I went from straight-a student to dropout all for the sake of a dream; and it was the best decision I ever made!
I attended a small high school and had the opportunity to compete in varsity athletics at a young age.
By the end of my tenth grade year, I had competed in 7 State High School Championships in three different sports.
I had multiple wrist surgeries and other injuries that forced me to narrow my focus to just one sport, and I chose golf.
I was soon competing on a national level and found myself dreaming of Division 1 college scholarships and the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Tour.
Anyone who has competed to receive an athletic scholarship to a Division 1 College is well aware that your 11th grade year is the very most important year for you to excel in your chosen sport.
I could not play golf my 11th grade year because I was forced to have another surgery on my wrist.
I saw my dreams slipping away, and I didn’t know what to do.
Then my dad had an idea, a crazy idea, but it worked for me
Just before the start of my Senior year, my father encouraged me to drop out of high school and pursue my dream of becoming a professional golfer.
My dad made a phone call to a family friend, who just happened to be a champion golfer on the PGA Tour.
He asked this friend if his family would be willing to take me into their home and support me as I pursued my dream.
And they said YES!
So, as a 17 year young girl, I packed up my life and moved from South Dakota to Florida to live with a family I did not know.
It was SCARY and EXCITING all at the same time.
What I found in Florida was so much more than I ever could have hoped for or imagined.
I found a loving home, people who understood my dreams and did whatever they could to support them, and a mentor who took me under his wing and taught me so much about life and golf.
I was still pursuing this dream when I met my husband at the age of 21.
By the time we were married a year later, I was spending half of my time in Arizona competing as a professional golfer.
I will always believe that I had the talent to compete with the best in the world, but I chose a different path.
I chose to be a stay at home mom and spend my energy on cooking, cleaning, and loving my precious family.
I chose to walk away from all of that potential, and I have no regrets.
Because faith requires us to focus on the Father rather than our own fears.Faith requires us to focus on the Father rather than our own fears!
When the door closed on my golfing career, I always knew God had other plans for me.
Because God has beautiful plans for each and every one of His children.
Faith opens up doors, not to new destinations, but to new discoveries about oneself.
I have discovered that I was created to communicate God’s love to others by any and all means necessary, and for a time that was through my golfing career.
Then it was through my decision to walk away from that career to be a full-time mom.
Regardless of what dreams we are pursuing, the end goal should always be to live a purposeful life that points others to Jesus.
A big part of living a purposeful life is learning to recognize your unique giftings and talents, and choosing to pursue your calling regardless of the odds of failure.
Never forget: fear paralyzes, yet faith propels.Never forget: fear paralyzes, yet faith propels.
Over this past year, I have discovered a new dream forming within my heart.
I believe God is calling me to write.
I feel like everything in my life has been preparing me for this task, this mission, this work of writing.
And the beauty is, I don’t mind if I never achieve success as a writer, because I have discovered that faithfulness is about the journey and not the destination.
When I am able to shift focus off of myself and onto God, fear subsides and faith sustains!When you shift focus off of yourself and onto God, fear subsides and faith sustains!
I believe God has given me a talent for the written word, and I intend to practice and perfect that talent with as much diligence and tenacity as I applied to my athletic endeavors.
This new dream may only define a short season of my life, or it might just be my legacy.
That, my friends, is in the Lord’s hands.
I still pay golf sometimes. I still love it.
But for now I am raising my two beautiful children and celebrating the birth of new dreams within my heart.
Faith gave me the freedom to walk away from a childhood dream and walk towards the life that God has planned for me.
I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I am eternally grateful that He does.
Are you allowing your faith to propel you toward the dreams that God has placed in your heart, or are you paralyzed by fear?
In the words of C.S. Lewis “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
Sometimes the act of writing out our dreams is the very first step towards achieving them.
Once you write them out, get busy pursuing them with passion and persistence!
Remember that faithfulness means focusing on the journey and trusting the Lord to guide you to the final destination.
P.S. In case you were wondering, I did eventually complete my senior year of high school and earned an academic scholarship to the college of my choice. Oh, but then I dropped out of college…I guess that’s another story for another day….