Seen on Facebook recently,
“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.”i
As I watch the Olympics, stories of how individual athletes reach their goal of participating in this event always inspire me.
- overcoming career-threatening injuries
- performing while injured
- breaking through financial barriers
- transcending personal tragedies
- being the first to ever compete for your country
- battling through emotional and mental challenges
- rising up from a fall and finishing despite your placement
- celebrating with a competitor who knocked you off the podium
- giving an opposing team member a ski to replace his broken one so he can complete the race with dignity
- fighting to improve on a disappointing first run or program
…such athletes are heroes and truly reflect the spirit of the Olympic games.
In the quest for gold medals, or medals of any colour, what is often overlooked is the sheer achievement of being chosen to represent one’s country in the games…period!
These athletes motivate me to face my fears and challenges with determination, resolve to finish what I have started, and to end well – knowing I gave it everything I had and didn’t give up no matter what obstacles lie in the road that is my life.
I don’t know much about archery, but what I’ve readii reveals important principles that I can apply while seeking direction for my journey.
First of all, proper stance is crucial to keep the body in proper alignment, maintain good posture, and provide stability. As a Christian, I am to “Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (I Corinthians 16:13, GNT) My faith is built on a solid foundation, Jesus Christ, and when I stand firm in who He is and what He has done for me, I will be aligned with God’s perfect will for my future.
Second, an archer’s grip on the bow must not be too tight but more relaxed which goes contrary to what we would naturally think. Often I prefer to hold on tightly to that which comes instinctively to me or within my comfort zone. However, I’m learning that when I relax my grip and surrender my apprehensions and uncertainty to God, I am better able to willingly consider what I sense may be God’s leading.
Third, sometimes the archer is too focused simply on aiming the arrow. Instead, she should quickly transfer her attention to her overall posture, evaluating it to ensure she is standing firm. Many times I have been so focused on where I want to go I overlook the importance of assessing my spiritual readiness to move forward. Am I daily seeking to know God more? How much time do I spend searching His Word for principles that will guide me? When was I last obedient to His instruction?
Fourth, in the release step the archer must be completely committed to following through in shooting the arrow. It is imperative she has full confidence the shot can be taken. There must be a level of comfort that she is wholly prepared to complete the task. There have been occasions when I have been too quick to rush on ahead even when I felt inadequate or unprepared. Sometimes the results are not pretty and I’ve wondered why. Only when I look back and realize I hastily got ahead of God do I learn to wait for His timing.
Fifth, as the archer pulls back the bowstring, a tension is created. It is necessary in order for the arrow to thrust forward and hit the target. Then, take a deep breath, relax, and clear the mind before letting the arrow go. Also, the archer is to apply this tension on the bow until the arrow reaches the mark. Every occasion in which I’ve made an important decision or taken on a new role God had for me, those moments…days…weeks…months of tension may have drained my energy, resulted in pain or tears, caused frustration as I waited, but they were worth it! Looking back, those were the instances when God did the greatest and most rewarding work in my life! They help me face the future with more serenity and clarity knowing that He will be faithful to see me through!
Until next time,