Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why I love Archery

I've written to you in the past about archery and our boys.  Truth is, I love to shoot my bow.  A few years ago, the Big Dog got me a used bow that I can shoot.  It's nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.  Now, when Daddy and the boys go to shoot their bows, I get mine out and shoot it as well.  Actually, Big Mac doesn't like it too much when I shoot because I get very quiet.  If you ask my family, they will tell you that I don't get quiet too often.  But shooting my bow makes me quiet, and contemplative.  When I'm finished shooting, I am always very much at peace.  Here's why:

Shooting a compound bow at a 14x14 paper target 20 yards away takes quite a bit of concentration and focus.  At any other time, my mind does not concentrate or focus on one thing.  If I am doing laundry, I am thinking about the lessons I need to prepare for the boys, or the spreadsheet I need to work on for work, or the meal I need to begin cooking, or the cobwebs that need swept from the ceiling, or the floor that needs swiffered, oh wait, was that the puppy whining?  Does he need to go out?  What am I going to give the boys for afternoon snack?  I didn't make anything over the weekend for a treat.  Did I remember to RSVP to that wedding shower?  I need to get the music ready to play for my neice's wedding.  I haven't talked to my girlfriend in a while, maybe I should give her a call... and on and on and on.


When shooting, the only thing I can think of in order to shoot well is my form and that target.  My mind clears and I am focusing on the yellow circle at the center of the bull's eye.  I am focusing on the form my body is taking as I pull back the bow.  I am thinking about the steps I've learned to make an accurate shot.  All those other thoughts, work, homeschooling, housekeeping, are pushed out of the way as I focus on the things most important for that moment.

And when I come away from shooting my bow, I am totally at peace.  My mind isn't racing.  I am relaxed.  It's hard to describe, but it is this attitude that creeps out our oldest son.  I'm quiet.

So, how does that translate into real life?  Well, I'm sure you can make the translation just as well as I can.  Where are we focusing?  Are we focusing on the one true thing, Jesus Christ?  Or is our focus all over the place.  When our hearts are pointed straight at the target of the Lord, then maybe we can find that peace that we all seek.  If everything that we are, our hands, our heads, our backs, our legs, are focused on that one thing, serving and worshiping our creator, then maybe we can come away with that same quiet soul that I have after spending time on the archery range.

I want to lead that quiet life that Timothy talked about in chapter 2.  But I so often find my body and mind at odds with that quiet peaceful life.  I can totally relate to Paul when he says, "That which I do not want to do I do."  Romans 7:15.  I want to live this peaceful, focused life.  But I find my mind in turmoil more often than not.  I found a line in The Valley of Vision that so aptly describes what I feel, "The thought of Thine infinite serenity cheers me, for I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but Thou art for ever at perfect peace."  (Resting on God, page 234) So when you struggle for peace, what's a girl to do?

Well, in archery, I'm learning all the proper steps to pulling back and holding my bow.  I have to stand a certain way and hold my arms a certain way.  I have to focus on my form.  And then, when I'm ready to aim and shoot, my sole focus is the yellow center of the target.  All other thoughts are pushed out as I keep my eye trained on that yellow spot with the black x. 

So what are the proper steps for living a life of peace.  Well, we need to spend time daily in the Word, and in prayer and worship.  We need to be sure that those things are the spine of our day.  I've been thoroughly enjoying Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.  This book is a treasure and it reminds the reader that one of our focuses HAS to be gratitude.  Let's add that to the spine of our day:  prayer, worship, The Word, and gratitude.  With those in place, then we can put all of our focus for the rest of the day on the Lord as our bullseye.  I like to call Him the Lord because it reminds me that He is in charge.  He is Lord over my life..not me.

I'm not saying, at all, that I am able to focus each day like I should.  But I think I can learn a lesson from archery and begin to carry it over into my every day life.  So let's get out those prayer journals, bibles, gratitude journals, and worship CDs. And let's get our focus on!  Let's find that focused peace

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