I had this vision. I am standing in a green field and an arrow is placed in my hand. At the end of the arrow is a most unusual quill. The quill is the key. Confidently, I load the arrow in the bow, pull back on my bow strings until they are taut, and shoot quickly. It feels effortless, my form is flawless. I hit the bright yellow bullseye at dead center. I keep shooting these arrows with the special quills over and over and over again, consistently hitting the bullseye. The whoosh of the arrows fills the air. Each previous arrow splits perfectly in half almost infinitely. I am amazed at how easy it is, how natural it feels. It’s as if the arrow is a part of me.
I stop then and look more closely at the incredible quill at the end of my arrow. As I do, the quill morphs into a butterfly. In some sort of odd reverse metamorphosis, the butterfly then transforms into a bug. The bug slowly flies away, the buzz of its wings ringing softly in my ears.
I decide to still try to shoot. I load my arrow as before, pulling the bow strings taut until they stretch and creak into position. But when I let the arrow go this time, I miss the bullseye and hit the outside of the target with a loud thunk. I try to shoot several times more but each time I shoot, I miss center. I hear God whispering to my heart, telling me that He is the special quill that directs my arrow. Without His backing to direct my arrow, I will miss the target every time.
In this life, we are all faced with so many choices, so many paths. We worry and wonder which one to take, which direction to head off in. We get lost sometimes, alone and isolated. We get hurt sometimes, walking into the carefully laid traps of men. We get wounded on the path, dragged down by life’s circumstances. So, we worry and wonder yet again which way we should go.
I feel like perhaps the hardest life lesson is to consistently use God as my quill, allowing Him to direct me on my life’s path. I want to know the next step, the next destination. I want to understand the aerodynamics behind the arrow’s path. Or worse, I start to confuse God’s direction and good outcome as my own skill. I keep shooting with my own effort, at a loss as to why I stop hitting center. It is hard for me to “be still, be calm, see and understand that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10). I’m a problem solver and a planner by nature. I want to have it all figured out ahead of time, yet God rarely works that way.
These days, my focus is simply on walking in step with Him. Whether I’m planning my day or the next hour, I’m checking in and seeking direction. I keep moving forward—after all, God can’t use an arrow that’s tucked safely inside the quiver—but I look for Him to steer me. I still miss the mark sometimes; after all, I am human and there are times I still run ahead or choose not to listen. I can even inject my will and call it “God.” But the more I check in with Him and build our relationship through prayer and reading the word (which is my opportunity to listen as God talks to me), the more I begin to recognize His voice. I become more and more adept at discerning His will and trusting in His supernatural ability to guide me. My life isn’t perfect, but I’m on target and I can tell. And you know what? It feels good.
For Further Thought: Jesus tells us in John 10 that He is the good shepherd who lays down his very life for the sheep under his care (us!), and that, “[The Shepherd] goes before them and they follow him, because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice.” What are some of the voices/paths you tend to follow after that aren’t from God? Are you working to not only listen for but to recognize Jesus’ voice in your life? My prayer and challenge for you this week is that you set aside some time daily to do so. It can be scary sometimes; you won’t always know where He’s leading you. But it will make all the difference and enrich your journey!