Friday, February 27, 2009


That's the sound the gun makes in my head when I pull the trigger. But in real life, it makes an anti-climactic ptttth sound. Which ends up being handy for shooting bullseyes. The big guns have a huge sound that makes my stomach jump, but I can tune the .22s out. The key to bullseye is twofold: holding the gun still enough and pulling the trigger slowly enough. These goals I am told, are accomplished through a combination of breathing, flexing, and relaxing. It's about control and balance.

However, this balance of control is hard to find. I raise the gun to my shoulder, breathe out, and relax. I pull the trigger slowly, and BAM, the gun jumps out of my hand from the recoil. Miss. So I load my next round, this time pulling the gun into my shoulder and clenching my jaw against the stock. I attempt to pull the trigger slowly, but I end up having to snap it because my scopes are trembling from flexed muscle fatigue, and BAM, another miss. 

Now brace yourself for the biblical connection. I think the key to off-hand shooting is similar to our role in relation to the sovereignty of God. When we're thinking about the future, God's plan for our lives, sometimes we get tense. We go crazy, freaking out, trying to plan our lives ourselves, afraid that if we let go for just one second we'll miss our target. And sometimes we think, "Well, God's got it under control, my whole life planned out, so I can do whatever we want." We bring ourselves to a point of reckless relaxation, assuming we'll hit the target regardless of what we do, and so we easily fly off-course when push comes to shove. 

In shooting, the key is to control the gun. When you hold on too tightly or relax too much, you're not in control of the gun. Instead you have to find the perfect balance, carefully relaxing while holding the gun firmly towards its course. Control and balance. I think in a way the same is true of trusting God for our futures. We need to stay the course, but calmly. Seeking God's will but not pulling our hair out of it. A line from a Christina Rossetti poem says, "Love will not mar her peaceful face with cares undue, [but] Love to be love must walk Thy way." We need to be firmly grounded, but never worried or tense. 

In shooting, I haven't learned to do this consistently yet. Sometimes I get perfect bullseyes, but my targets are still peppered with misses. It's frustrating. Some days I waffle between carelessness over my future and stringent planning that stresses me out. But every once in a while you hit the sweet spot, the one where you don't even need to check your scopes to see if you shot a bullseye, because you can feel that you did. It takes practice, but we're getting there. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

1 comment:

Kay said...

Wow, Hayley, this is a beautiful analogy! Very awesome. Thanks for posting it. :)