We All Need Somebody To Talk To: Bubba Watson and Jimmy Houston
Bubba Watson: I had some things going on where I felt really bad. And without faith, I wouldn’t have gotten off the floor. We all need somebody to talk to.
We All Need Somebody To Talk To: Bubba Watson and Jimmy Houston – Episode #298
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Are you the type of person who won’t ask for help until you get to a place where you absolutely have to? Are you someone who thinks you can handle things on your own and that asking for help is a sign of weakness? Paul from the Bible is a famous example of someone who tried to carry the weight of his mistakes and misfortunes on his own. It took Jesus’ words “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” [2 Corinthians 12:9] for Paul to realize that he could “gladly boast about my infirmities so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Jesus is there to listen when you need help, and He doesn’t despise our weakness—He demonstrates His strength in us through it.
Our guests today are open about how they lean on God for their help and hope.
Bubba Watson is a PGA golfer who has won multiple major championships and who, even while at the top of his career, reached a low point where he wasn’t sure he could lift himself out of his depressed mental state. Jimmy Houston is a legendary fisherman who hosts the popular TV show Jimmy Houston Outdoors. When Jimmy found himself at a low point over the years, he testifies that God was always able to pick him up and take him to that next step to where he needed to be.
Let’s start with Bubba’s story.
Bubba: I am Bubba Watson. I am a professional golfer who has a candy shop and a baseball team and a car dealership. And so there are a few things that I like to do. But the kids around here in Pensacola, Florida, know me as the guy with the ice cream shop.
Bubba Finds His Sport
In my household, my family, we were all about sports. My dad always loved sports. He was a big Yankees fan, so he made me watch the Yankees, and Don Mattingly was my favorite player growing up. I rode my bike everywhere. There was a baseball/softball field. And so I would go down there and play baseball with my friends, played baseball with my dad. It was all about sports and we were outside. My dad wouldn’t let me have video games, so we were outside. We were always doing something outdoors.
I started playing golf around my yard at age six, just with plastic golf balls. I went one way around my yard and went back the other way and in my head, I had imaginary golf holes. So I learned to play golf, hitting balls over the bushes, under the bushes, and just learned to shape the golf ball that way. And that’s where I developed my golf skills.
Golf was one of my passions because it was only me. The challenge was on me. The failure was on me instead of somebody else, and I could deal with that—or I thought I could deal with that. That’s why I picked golf, because it’s all me. The penalties are the same. It’s not balls and strikes or foul or not a foul. So I just love that part about golf, and it’s always changing.
As a young high schooler, you always thought you could get better. You take the positives and run with it, but you’re always trying to get better. If you get too positive, you think you don’t need help. And if you get too negative, you think that you can’t get help. So there’s always that balance we’re trying to find.
We All Need Someone To Talk To
Sports in addressing mental health and helping mental health, I think it opens the door for—people are listening now and we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve seen more and more people [speak] out—athletes, celebrities—but I think really we’re just scratching the surface of the true, I’d say, kind of heroes in our world. I think athletes are just bringing it to the forefront where I think where we’re going to get deeper into it, the science behind it, or if there is some science that can help us all.
I felt like when I was at my lowest point, I was losing weight. I wasn’t eating. My bloodwork showed I was good, my heart was good, my lungs were good, all these things. But without voicing it, without sharing it with my wife or with a friend, it was just going to keep eating me inside. I had to go to my wife, look her dead in her eyes and say, “What’s wrong with me? I’m dealing with something in my head that I don’t tell people. I don’t like being famous. I don’t want to be a celebrity. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that.” So I had to voice these things, and then we had to work through it. And without faith, I wouldn’t have gotten off the floor. I would have just sat there and pouted and kept just complaining about things.
“Without faith, I wouldn’t have gotten off the floor.” – Bubba Watson, on his season of depression
And so today, the last couple of years after my lowest point, what I consider my lowest point, I’m learning and I’m trying to learn. I’ve always said the Bible is the beautiful outline for life. I’m trying to walk the outline of the Bible, trying to be as much like Jesus as I can. I found a great group of friends. My beautiful wife of seventeen years now, her leadership in helping me and putting her arms around me and telling me that it’s going to be okay. The team next to me that helped me [in] everyday life, to sort out everyday life. And I can voice my thoughts, my negativity, my positives.
Blow Dryer Devotions
I’m going to let you all in on a secret: one of the things that—I don’t know if you call it a practice, but one of my routines in learning, trying to grow my spiritual faith, every morning we wake up and my mind is always racing. And so I turn on a hair dryer, and I put the hair dryer down on the floor, it blows on my feet. And this is right after I take a shower. So I’m sitting there clothes on, and I’m blowing this on my feet. But the hair dryer noise, it drowns out a lot of my thoughts in my head. And so now I read, I get into the Word, or I get into a book I’m reading.
Jesus Calling, it speaks to me on many levels just because of what it is and the guidance that it’s given us, right? The guidance is given not just to me, but everybody. There’s so many great things, you can’t even listen to them all, right? But every devotion has something, you know, it’s just easy. Sometimes you need it to be easy and it needs to be accessible for those moments. There’s so much information out there. There’s so many different avenues and it helps all walks of life. Whatever moment you’re in, there’s something for you in that.
And so that’s one of my routines. But yeah, it’s pretty funny when you think about it, a hair dryer blowing on my feet, and it helps drown out thoughts so I can truly focus on what I’m reading and what I’m trying to learn that day, trying to get a little tidbit to carry me through the day.
I would share with somebody who’s struggling with different things, I would share that you have to voice it. You have to find people that you truly trust. There’s going to be one to five people that you can truly trust and share with. And they don’t blink an eye. They’re there to hug you. They’re there to give you a high five. They’re there to applaud you for speaking up. What I went through, it’s passed and it might pop up again. But now with my team around me or the people I trust, they can catch it or we can catch it together before it happens again. It was my darkest hour where really all those seeds planted to make this flower and the flower’s still growing, and I’m still learning.
“You have to find people that you truly trust. There’s going to be one to five people that you can truly trust and share with, and they don’t blink an eye. They’re there to hug you. They’re there to give you a high five.” – Bubba Watson
Narrator: You can find Bubba’s book, Up and Down, wherever books are sold.
Stay tuned to Jimmy Houston’s story after a brief message.
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Narrator: Our next guest is legendary fisherman Jimmy Houston, who grew up on the waters of Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma, where his love for fishing grew and blossomed into a full-time career, including television shows on major networks, countless tournaments, and now, a daily devotional called Catch a Better Life. Jimmy shares a bit about his love for the outdoors and fishing, and how God has always been faithful to help him climb that mountain toward a better life.
Jimmy Houston: My name is Jimmy Houston, and I live on a ranch in southern Oklahoma, and I basically have simply fished all my life. We have a television show that was on ESPN for over twenty years. So what we’re good at mostly is having fun and having a great time.
A Passion for Fishing
I grew up actually in the suburbs of Oklahoma City. Between my junior year in high school and my senior year, my dad bought a resort on Lake Tenkiller, which is about a couple of hundred miles away from Oklahoma City. And I moved to the lake and obviously, that changed my life.
Living on a lake allows you to do all the things that you do on a lake: water skiing, skin diving, obviously fishing, and I’ve fished all my life. I don’t remember when I started fishing. I don’t remember the first fish I caught, I certainly don’t remember the first bass I caught—I was probably two or three years old or something. I don’t know. But living on a lake allowed me to fish a lot and all the way through college, I fished probably 200 days a year when I was in college, so I probably spent way more time on the water than I did in class. And that shaped what we have ended up doing for a living. All of our life is fishing and things are built around fishing.
Fishing tournaments—I was there when the tournaments were started—so I was there fishing tournaments before there was a BASS or an FLW or major league fishing or any of that. When I was in college, they had what they called a World Series of Sports Fishing tournament, which is the greatest fish run in the country at that time, was on the lake that I lived on, Lake Tenkiller. Those great fishermen all stayed at my dad’s resort, and they actually hired me to watch their boats at night.
But those guys were practicing on Lake Tenkiller, and they invited me to go fishing with them during practice. At the time, I was just honored to get to go fish with them. They invited me to go fishing with them because I live there, I knew all the good places, they were trying to find out where the good places were. Those early days of being able to fish with the greatest bass fisherman in the nation was obviously not only a great learning tool and knowledge for me, but I saw what it took to be great. I saw what it took to be the very best fisherman in the nation. Those early things shaped what actually ended up being a career in the BASS and FLW and fishing the tournaments that we have nowadays.
A Career on the Water
Becoming a pro fisherman was really not a decision that I had to make at all because when I started fishing tournaments, there was no such animal as a “professional tournament fisherman” or a professional fisherman, period.
When I got out of college, I started an insurance agency. I turned down some good jobs and some bigger companies like Phillips 66 there in Oklahoma because I didn’t want to leave Lake Tenkiller. In doing all of that, though, we were fishing tournaments and we were fishing local tournaments, fished maybe one national tournament a year, and that was all. But we were beginning to acquire some notoriety from our fishing wins and stuff and beginning to start to work in that industry also. And I took a job with a company part-time selling boats.
We’re winning money in fishing tournaments. We’re going out doing personal appearances, making money there. And as it turned out, I was spending more of my time fishing. My wife was spending more of her time running the insurance agency, and we were insuring people’s businesses and doing things that had a lot of stress involved in it. And we kind of got to the point where I could see the stress wearing on her of running an insurance agency. I talked to her, “Why don’t we sell this agency? Why don’t we sell it and just make our living fishing?” And so that’s how I really got fully involved in fishing, and once we saw that, I could see that stress lifts off of her in a big, big way. And we started making our living fishing, and it wasn’t long after that we started the television show—I think it was 1977 or ‘78 we started that television show.
You know, God was just kind of carrying us along during all of that, and we never planned on any of that happening. But here we are forty-five years later on television, fishing national tournaments for fifty-four years. We’ve been at the top of the mountain a lot of times during that, some of those times we were dead broke. So, yeah, God’s had a big hand in all of it throughout the way. We were being led in the correct direction all the time.
And when we stumbled and fell, when we hit those broken roads, when we got in those valleys, God was always able to pick us up and take us to that next step, whatever that next step might be. Being saved at twelve years old, you don’t really fully understand or realize that as you walk through your life. But as you look back on it, you just can’t hardly say anything but, “Wow, thank you, Lord.”
“When we stumbled and fell, when we hit those broken roads, when we got in those valleys, God was always able to pick us up and take us to that next step, whatever that next step might be.” – Jimmy Houston
Seeing God in the Outdoors
Any time you’re breathing, you’ve got God all around you. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re fishing or hunting, obviously, you can see God’s creation. You can relate to life, you can relate to death. It’s hard to be a hunter or a fisherman and not acknowledge God all around you. It’s difficult to do that.
If you’re a tournament fisherman, whether you’re a believer or not, whether you go to church or not, whether you’ve ever professed Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, if you’re in a tournament, you’re going to be asking God for some fish. I mean, you will be praying for fish out there when you’re doing that.
“It’s hard to be a hunter or a fisherman and not acknowledge God all around you.” – Jimmy Houston
As you go through your life out there, you begin to see things that you didn’t think were God things. And when you look back and you have a similar circumstance happen and God will remind you through His spirit how He will take care of that, and then He will also remind you, “Do you remember five years ago, ten years ago, fifty years ago? Do you remember how I handled it? I’ll handle it again.” It gives you a peace and a joy that can be nothing else but God operating in your life.
Why God Loves Fisherman
I know that God loves fishermen. And I know that Jesus Christ Himself when He picked His closest disciples, the guys He was going to hang around with for the last two or three years of His life—these were the guys He was going to build His church upon. And most of them were fishermen. Those are the guys He picked. So He’s got a real love for fishermen. I know that without a doubt.
He actually told them that when He picked them out,, “You spent your lifetime fishing for fish.” These guys fished for a living. They were professional fishermen. They weren’t doing it with a rod and reel. They were doing it with the net.
And I have actually fished on Lake Genesis at the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake. I’ve actually fished right where Peter threw that net and caught fish. I’ve actually fished where Jesus stood on that shore and talked without a sound system and TVs and a microphone, talked to thousands of people.
His closest buddies that He was going to build His kingdom on, when He told them, “I’m going to show you, teach you how to fish for men,” and I think that’s where fishing is so closely involved. And people ask me all the time on social media, “Jimmy, do you think there’s fishing in heaven?” Absolutely. And pretty good fishing, I do believe. I think we’ll have some good high-dollar lures to throw, and we’ll have all we want. We won’t have to go to Bass Pro Shop and buy them.
Jimmy’s Prayer: “Make Me a Blessing”
I continually pray for the things I want God to be doing in my life on a daily basis. I ask God every day for Him to make me a blessing to other people I come in contact with, whomever I come in contact with, whether it’s someone that I know or someone that I don’t know, or someone I just wave at down the highway. And I want to be a blessing even to those people I don’t even say anything to. And so I ask God to let me be a blessing to whomever I come in contact with. That’s a prayer that I pray every single day.
“I continually pray for the things that I want God to be doing in my life on a daily basis. I ask God every day for Him to make me a blessing to other people that I come in contact with.” – Jimmy Houston
I come to You with my gaping neediness—asking You to fill me with the Light of Your Love. I realize that a heart yielded to You doesn’t whine or rebel when the going gets tough. Instead, it musters up the courage to thank You during hard times. Subordinating my will to Yours is ultimately an act of trust. I long to walk peacefully with You through this day, yet I’m distracted by wondering if I can cope with all that’s expected of me. My natural tendency is to mentally rehearse how I will do this or that. Help me instead to keep my mind on Your Presence and on taking the next step.
The more demanding my day, the more I need to depend on Your strength. Teach me to view my neediness as a blessing—believing that You designed me for deep dependence on You. Challenging times wake me up and amplify my awareness of my inadequacy. When I don’t know what to do next, I will wait for You to open the way before me. I want to be ready to follow Your lead—trusting that You know what You are doing. I rejoice in Your promise to give me strength and bless me with Peace.
In Your empowering Name,
Narrator: To learn more about Jimmy Houston, please visit www.jimmyhouston.com, and be sure to check out his new devotional filled with fishing tips, called Catch a Better Life, wherever books are sold.
If you’d like to hear more stories about leaning on God when we’re at a low point in our lives, check out our interview with Ryan Casey Waller.
Next Week: Mark Wahlberg
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we hear from Mark Wahlberg, a top actor in Hollywood. Through every facet of his fame as an actor, rapper, producer, or business owner, Mark credits his faith for keeping his path straight and also relies on a faithful community to be there for him when things get tough.
Mark Wahlberg: Since I was a teenager, I had gotten into some trouble, and the only place to turn was to the Lord. There was really nobody else there. And then once I did that, all of these wonderful people started popping up who were also influenced by the Lord and messengers and people who were serving in various ways, and then all came and touched me. And so when I started focusing my faith, good things started to happen.