Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Right on Target

I don't know where I first heard this story, but I thought about it today, so wanted to paraphrase and share it with you.

There was once a king who had great fame, fortune, and power. He was extremely talented and could do just about anything, except shoot a bow and arrow. This caused the king much distress because he thought he should be able to do everything and to do everything well. He summoned all those who were the best in archery and told them that the one who made him improve the most would receive half his kingdom.

Some came and helped him on his form. They taught him to stand a certain way and hold his bow and arrow just right. He improved, but not as much as he would have liked.

Others came and helped him with his aim. He learned about physics and how to aim given the direction and speed of the wind and the distance of the target. He continued to improve, but the king still wasn't satisfied.

Still others came and worked on his concentration and focus. If he could quiet himself, become one with the bow and arrow, he would improve. Once again, the king did improve, but still not as much as he would have liked. The king wanted to be perfect. After all, he was the king. He was looking for someone to help him hit the bullseye every single time.

He was just about to give up when one day, he was riding through the countryside. Everywhere he looked, there were targets painted on everything with the arrow in the exact center of the bullseye. Amazed, the king said, "Bring me the person who has shot these arrows. I must learn to do this also. If so, that person will receive half my kingdom." Word was sent out across the land. The king was dumbfounded when the person brought before him was a little girl.

"Young lady, did you shoot all these arrows?"
"Yes, your majesty."
"Well then, you must teach me at once. If I learn to shoot arrows just like you, you will receive half my kingdom."

The little girl wasted no time. She taught the king how she clears her mind and concentrates. She stands up nice and tall, pulls the arrow back, and then let's go. "Wait!" the king interrupted. "There's no target. Where do you aim?"
"Oh," said the little girl. "I don't paint the target until after I've shot the arrow."

The king laughed. He learned his lesson about trying to do everything and being perfect. He gave half his kingdom to the little girl.

The king thought he should be good at everything, including archery, because after all, he was the king. Do you ever hear yourself or others say, "I should be good at this job already because I've been at it x number of years." "I should be better at my prayer life because I go to church and have read lots of spiritual books." "I should know the direction of my life because I'm xx years old."

What are the "shoulds" we tell ourselves? What are the reasons we give for these "shoulds?"

How about "I should be easy on myself and love myself just as God loves me."
God loves us just because. No reason necessary.

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