In archery, the goal is to simply hit the mark at the center of the target with an arrow shot from a bow. In order to do this one must be firmly planted, keep their focus, and have the strength to pull back the bowstring to propel the arrow toward their intended mark.
What is your “mark” in life? What dreams to you have, and what do you love? What do you want to be when you ‘grow up’? What inspires you, and ignites a passion in your life? We all have greater purposes for our lives than what we can dream up on our own. And still, God has plans to use the desires and dreams in your heart to reach that goal, purpose, or target that He has for you.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God tells us, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
For some of you college may be the path you are going to take, and others you may have a great career making your own mark in the world. Some join the army, and find their purpose in serving this great country we live in, and others are called to the mission field to help bring the Word of God to the lost, dying, and hurting. But no matter what the end goal is that you have in your mind or in your heart, no matter what you are called to do, God will help you to hit your mark and see those dreams come to pass.
But we also must be diligent in doing our part to work towards hitting the intended mark for our life. The first thing we must do is to accept the call on our lives and be willing to hit the mark. We must be willing to do whatever it takes to see our dreams and goals come to pass, we must be willing to go wherever God calls us to go. We must be willing to be stretched and pulled, and we must be willing to stand tall in the midst of each storm we’ll go through.
Once we are willing to hit the mark, and willing to go towards our dreams we must be sure to aim away from temptations, blindness, and distractions. Just like in archery, the target we are aiming towards has more to hit than just the mark at the center. As we aim to hit our intended mark, we must aim to stay away from the temptations of giving up, giving into sin, giving into lies, and giving into the darkness of the world. As we aim to hit our intended mark, we must aim to stay away from the blindness in our lives. What I mean is, we cannot loose vision of what our mark is. We cannot be blind to what we are working to accomplish. And as we aim to hit our intended mark, we must aim away from the distractions of life that will take our time and mind and joy away from our dreams. We cannot let the trials of life distract us from what we set out to do to hit our mark.
And finally, and most importantly, in order to hit our mark we must stand firmly on the Word of God, keep our focus on Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit give you’re the strength, direction, and wisdom you need to do what God has called you to do. There is power in the Word of God, and power in the name of Jesus. By keeping our focus on Jesus, keeping the Word of God in our hearts, and allowing the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives it will help you to accomplish your calling, and hit your mark.
But remember, you are not in this alone! God is with you, and will help you to hit your mark! As you obey Him, and do your part to reach your goals, God will be right there beside you strengthening you, encouraging you, and providing for you.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
In our society we have been raised to be completely self aware, self-conscious and people conscious.
“How do I look today? Did I say the right thing? I hope that those people don’t thing less of me. Am I doing things right? What if no one likes me? What if I fail at being myself? Who am I? Am I tall enough? Am I smart enough? Am I skinny enough…”
These thoughts of self-consciousness and people consciousness have the power to bind you into living a life that is completely miserable.
How freeing would it be if instead we were raised in a way that lifted ourselves up, and wasn’t so focused on what other people think about us.
If you are someone who struggles with these thoughts of comparison, measurements, and self-doubting or loathing let me encourage you to start thinking in a new way.
Instead of being self-conscious or people-conscious in your thinking, live in a way that is God conscious in your thinking.
Instead of thinking about all the ways you measure up according to man, think of all the ways you measure up in God’s Word and what God says about you.
In God’s Word He tells us that we were made in His image.
In God’s Word He tells us that we are children of God and heirs of Christ.
In God’s Word He tells us that He formed us in our mother’s womb, and created us for a purpose.
That purpose was not to go around pleasing other people, but rather to please Him by living a life glorifying and in worship to God.
The next time you feel the next to compare yourself, or you don’t feel enough, think in a God-conscious way and remind yourself of what God thinks of you.
Because in His eyes, you are perfect. You are beautiful. You are complete. You are priceless.
Never let any of your other thoughts convince you otherwise.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~ Ephesians 4:29
Living in such a critical society, it can be very easy to be quick to judge one another, and especially easy to judge ourselves. We talk badly about ourselves, our actions, and go around living in constant guilt, shame, or embarrassment and yet God specifically tells us to avoid such words. The Bible tells us to only speak words that build up, and give grace to those who hear.
When the Bible tells us to speak kindly, God isn’t just referring to talking to or about everybody else.
God wants us to speak kindly to and about ourselves as well!
As many parents know, whenever your children talk down about themselves, or bad about themselves it can’t help but hurt your heart. After all, you made them! They are your children who you love and adore above all else! How can they not see how amazing they are, as you see them through your eyes?
God is our Father. If we see our children in such a high regard, God sees us as His children in an even greater way.
He loves us so much that He sent His most prized love, His one and only Son, to save us. We are priceless to God.
So as God’s priceless children, we must treat ourselves kindly as we would anyone else. You wouldn’t go around beating up your best friend every chance you got about every bad thing they’ve ever done. No! So why would you beat yourself up for the exact same actions?
Instead of talking down to yourself, talk yourself up! Uplift yourself. Encourage yourself. Bless yourself with your own words.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, because after all you are human. Instead, whenever you are feeling insecure or ashamed build yourself up on the Word of God and what God says about you!
“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
~ Psalm 73: 26
Here in Oklahoma it seems like winter will never end. We finally made it to March, with promises of a warm spring and hot summer to come, and the first thing that happens instead of a sunny day is a couple of snowy days. Some days in the midst of a cold winter, it can be especially hard to get out of bed. I know I for one did not want to leave the warmth and comfort of my own bed this morning.
On those days when it seems especially hard to do anything let God be your strength! Even when your own body fails, God never will!
Don’t let yourself be stuck in the cold blues,
let God’s fire warm your spirit and be your strength!
Here are my top three tips on how to keep your heart, spirit, body, and mind warm and uplifted during the moments of cold blues:
Take time on your own to get into the Word of God and in prayer. Whether you decide to do this indoors by a cozy fire, or outside in the great winter weather, God’s love and Spirit will keep your heart, spirit and mind warm and empowered.
Family, friends, and other people God has placed in our lives are so important to maintaining a healthy heart and thought life. Laugh, make memories, and spend time with those closest to you.
There’s more to winter than cold days. God created all seasons, even the coldest one. Enjoy the beauty of the snow, or morning frost. Enjoy the wintertime activities, and the moments where even strangers come together to help those in need.
Instead of focusing on the hard parts of the season you’re in, focus on the beauty of it instead.