Have you ever been bow hunting?
There is a lot of skill and strength to it. You must be stealthy and balanced. A close friend of mine told me, “It takes a lot of skill to shoot a bow. You have to have a lot of arm strength in a specific muscle to shoot very far. Bow hunting is harder than hunting with a rifle because you have to be closer to the deer. That opens you up to the deer being able to smell you, which will spook it. That’s also why it’s crucial to know wind patterns. To hold the bow, you pull the string back with your right arm, which is connected to the release, which is connected to the string.”
Now hunting isn’t for everyone, I get that, but there’s a few things you can learn from a bow and arrow that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with hunting.
For the past few months 2 Kings 13:14-19 has been inundating me with so much insight.
The story goes:
“When Elisha was in his last illness, King Jehoash of Israel visited him and wept over him. “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” he cried.
Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows.” And the king did as he was told. Elisha told him, “Put your hand on the bow,” and Elisha laid his own hands on the king’s hands.
Then he commanded, “Open that eastern window,” and he opened it. Then he said, “Shoot!” So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek.”
Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times. But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.'”
It may not seem like it at times, but you play a huge role in determining your future. At times, you may feel stuck or may not have any idea where your life is headed. But there’s something within all of us that is like when you have your arrow pulled all the way back on your bow and it’s just sitting there. Your arrow hasn’t gone anywhere yet, it hasn’t reached its target yet, but it has a lot of potential.
Oh man does it have potential! Potential to go far and do big things.
We sit in the potential of our arrow and one day the time will come when we will have to release our arrows and let it flyyyy! The question is, when that time comes will you be aiming for your target or will you be shooting aimlessly?
Arrows were made to hit their target. What are bow hunters aiming for? They’re aiming for their target, usually a deer. For a bow hunter to hit their target, they have to practice a lot and learn to aim. There are a lot of factors to consider like wind patterns and movement. They might not hit their target the first time or even the second, but they are always aiming at it.
Let me put it this way. If their arrow doesn’t hit their target, they don’t eat, and we gotta eat to survive right?
An arrow, like your potential to go far and do big things, is no good unless you’re aiming for something.
It’s easy to dream, but many of us just stay there, never taking any action. There’s a lot of risk in following a dream and making it into a reality, but when the dream is from God, you should know He already gave you the victory. We just need to get better at taking aim and taking action.
When I was a freshman in college I used to play basketball with my dormmates at the campus rec. I love basketball, but my friends used to love playing against guys who were basically NBA superstars. What I discovered playing against these guys was that I had a lot of potential to get decently good at basketball, but I was probably never going to dunk in the NBA. Why? Because being able to dunk while playing basketball is not my purpose in life.
It’s all right if you don’t know exactly what your purpose is yet. Sometimes potential hasn’t yet matured into purpose. You might have your arrow pulled all the way back, full of potential, but you don’t have to shoot yet. Take your time to figure out what you’re aiming for. Don’t waste your potential on something that isn’t your purpose.
Maybe you’re beating yourself up over the potential you haven’t reached because you are judging yourself against a purpose that isn’t yours.
Elisha told the King he would have victory and to strike the ground. Instead of having complete victory, he only had partial success because he only shot 3 arrows when he could have shot 6. What a horrible place to live in. You should have and you would have.
You should have struck the ground six times, because then you would have had victory. You should have taken action, because then you would be living out your purpose.
If you find your purpose in life, don’t stop at three arrows! Shoot until you meet victory!
What if I told you that the only way to get to where you want to be is to keep shooting even if you miss?
You may not hit your target right away. You may miss a lot. Not only do you need a target to aim at but it takes patience, perseverance, persistence, practice, practice, practice, and repetition.
For whatever reason, the king only shot three arrows, but we can’t completely fault the king because it is human tendency to stop before the risk of failure. Don’t stop short because you’re afraid of falling short. If you fall get back up and keep going. I’d rather fail, then give up. You can only get better the next time.
Here’s the challenging part and I hope that I do not confuse you, but the goal isn’t just to reach your potential.
Once an arrow hits its target, it’s potential is gone and it has achieved its purpose. It’s spent.
But you are not an arrow. You’re a breathing, living person. You were created on purpose for a purpose, and God isn’t just interested in the end goal, he’s interested in your journey.
Reaching your potential means you have arrived, and when you arrive, there’s nothing else for you to do and nowhere else for you to go. But let me tell you something, there’s a lot of things to see and a lot of interesting people to reach and even learn from.
With a bow, the whole system is important, from arm to string to release. They all work together to perform its purpose. Similarly, your potential is related to your purpose, which is connected to your heart. These things all work together for the proper functioning of your life.
Don’t just reach your potential, chase your potential. Live for something that gets you excited to wake up in the morning and jump out of bed. And remember, when you find your aim, don’t stop at three arrows. Fire as many as it takes to claim the victory God already said is yours.