I can still remember the words, “focus, breath slow, & let go.” Grandpa would whisper those words in the ear of an excited little boy who was about to shoot a real arrow for the first time. Real I mean, as opposed to the stick arrows we boys would play with a way back I the good ole 1970’s. Wouldn’t that send a chill down the spine of the dodge ball police today! We played cowboys & Indians, we played hide & seek, we got hurt and we got dirty, ah those were the days! But then there came the day when my Grandpa got out his real bow and arrows as he would from time to time, and I was handed a bow. A real bow, real arrows. Wow! I was taught how to handle the bow, how to place the arrow, along with a great respect for both. Then came the moment of truth, the moment I would let go. Focus, breath slow, and let go. Those were the directions; those were the orders from a seasoned archer no less. One who had many times let fly an arrow himself. One who had learned over many years the ins and outs of placing an arrow right on it’s intended target. Now I can’t say that my first try was a good one, although I don’t believe medical attention was needed, “That’s somewhat of a success eh?” But I will not forget the instruction of my Grandfather.
It was years later that I found myself sitting on the seat of a Ford Ferguson 9-N tractor with plow attached and facing a field of unplowed ground. My instructions were simple. Focus on a stationary point at the other end of the field, a fence post or a tree, drop the plow and don’t take your eye off what you’re aiming for. My first row wasn’t the straightest, but it was an experience I have not forgotten either. A straight arrow, a straight row, all depends on what we find ourselves focusing on doesn’t it? It’s the same in life you know. Each one of us is aiming at something, and eventually if we stay pointed in that direction, we’ll arrive where we have placed our focus. Our focus determines our direction and what better time to take a moment and assess our focus than the beginning of a new year. All this leads me to the question of the day. What is it that you’re aiming for? What ever that may be, you can look past it to where you will probably end up in life and in eternity.
Entering a New Year often precipitates many a resolution, which I am sure we have all made and perhaps even struggled to keep. I love the resolution of one of America’s greatest spiritual influences Jonathan Edwards who said, “Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will!” The book of Proverbs tells us, “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. One paraphrase says it this way… “The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard; fools look for it everywhere but right here.” I don’t think that this only applies to nations but individuals as well.
To have focus we must have vision. Sometimes we struggle because our focus is in the wrong direction. This can be true even of Christ followers. Lynn Anderson writes, “Over 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway? Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision. With a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great. Without it, we rarely move beyond our current boundaries.” Our focus and our vision will ultimately determine the direction our life will take, the path we leave for others to follow and most importantly whether or not we hit the bulls eye at the end of life’s journey. Maybe Grandpa had it right. Focus, breath slow and let go. Focus on the Lord and Him alone, take your time and get a clear understanding of the target He has for your life, and then let go. Let go and trust in the one who has called you and who will guide you. So what are you aiming at, right now? Know this, whatever it is; you’re likely to hit it!