Most of us have heard the platitude about an arrow being pulled back before it can go forward, as an illustration for managing the tough things in life. But I want to extend this. Not only does an arrow have to be pulled back, but the chord holding the arrow must be pulled taught. It strains and tightens, building up great energy. Then, when that arrow is released, it plows ahead with terrific force.
I believe that the things in life that cause tension and strain, also cause great momentum when that tension is released and returned to a normal state. The direction of that momentum however, is up to the archer and the direction the arrow is facing. Will it plow into the dirt, or will it soar directly at the target?
When we face tough times we have a choice. We can continue to zero in on our trajectory, even if for that season we don’t make any forward progress. We can continue realigning and focusing on the end goal all as the tension and difficulty grows and grows.
We can live in depression, feel sorry for ourselves, blame others for everything going wrong. We can mourn our lot in life and lament that others don’t deal with this stuff (spoiler alert: your struggle isn’t unique and you give it way more power when you pretend it is. Others have overcome similar, and wisdom can be found when we don’t push others away ). Then when tension is over, you’ll plow right into the dirt. The place you’ve been aiming for all along. And you’ll be picking emotional, financial, mental and spiritual mud out of your hair for a long time.
We can live in distraction. Ignore the situation and live for momentary pleasure. We can pursue numbing agents to ignore the current reality. And then when that tension is released we’ll head in any direction but forward. Off course, far from where we want to be, and spending a long time finding ourselves.
Or, we can remind ourselves of the truth. We can surround ourselves with mentors that will counsel and encourage us. We can focus on self development, time with God, time with community. We can live open hearted and focused on our promises. And then, when that tension is released, we will fly straight at our goals. The stress of life will propel us directly towards the best things in life. Our trauma will become our testimony, and our stress our speed at which we race towards the promises.
Where is your arrow pointed today?