Hit the Stationary Target

You’ve heard the phrases and maybe said them yourself, “You make me so mad!” “What do you want for me?” “Do what you want.” “Just leave me alone.” “That’s not what you said last time.” “What’s with you today?” If it weren’t for people, how easy life would be.

When you are frustrated in a relationship, my suggestion is, hit the stationary target.

I have served on pastoral staffs with two excellent deer hunters, Pastor Tom Olney of Faith Baptist Church in Godfrey, Illinois, and Pastor Chris Juvinall of Wausau Bible Church in Wausau, Wisconsin. I’ve hunted with both and watched as each took a large buck with his bow. These guys are good, really good. They have a natural skill with a compound bow and put in the necessary work to increase their chances of a successful hunt.

Most deer hunters know the pounding beat of their hearts when a large buck enters a field or snaps a twig as the brute walks the trail near the hunter’s stand. As the animal comes into range, the archer readies his bow and nocks his arrow waiting for the shot. With bow in hand and nerves at the peak, he needs the deer to come to a stop to ensure a clean shot. Sometimes when a deer in range will not stop, a hunter will make a sound with his mouth to cause the deer to pause just long enough for the hunter to release his arrow. No matter how skilled the archer may be, every hunter knows the potential for success increases dramatically when the target is stationary and not moving. Similarly, your potential for relationship success increases when you hit the stationary target not the moving one. Therein lays the problem.

Because of remaining sin, we all have periods of moodiness, irritation, disinterest, anger, and other detractors to righteous relationships. When others interact with us in these moments, they face difficulty because we are different now than we were previously. We are a moving target, and they struggle to hit the target. There are two solutions – get better at hitting a moving target or change the target altogether. I suggest the latter.

The stationary target is our God. To say God is immutable is to say “God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations.” In relationship struggles, stop trying to please the other person and start pleasing God. In other words, hit the stationary target. What will please God in your interaction with your husband or wife? What words can you say to your children that will please God when your children are driving you nuts? What actions can you perform for your work supervisor that will please God when your boss is at his worst? God clearly spells out for us in His Word His expectations for our relationships.

When we take dead aim on the stationary target, we please God as we submit ourselves to His desires for us in those various relationships. Missing moving targets is frustrating. Deer hunters tell sad stories of the “biggest buck ever who never game me a shot.” Far more serious are the stories of people who are frustrated in relationships where every day they take aim at a moving target. Every now and then, they hit the mark. More often than not, it is a clean miss.

The NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament tips later this week. Could you imagine the chaos, not to mention stupidity, if the basket moved randomly as a player took a shot? The Masters golf tournament is weeks ago at the historic and gorgeous Augusta National golf course. What would the scores be if the hole suddenly moved when Phil Mickelson or Rory McIlroy was about to strike the ball? How successful would a gymnast be if the vault moved from side to side as the athlete sprinted toward it?

Stationary targets lead to successful outcomes. The only stationary target among cognitive beings is God. Hit that target to know blessings. Aim at moving targets and know frustrations.

My friend, Dr. Dave Buckley, taught me, “You have nothing to prove, only Someone to please.” You will find it is much easier to hit the stationary target of pleasing God than it is to hit the moving target of pleasing people.

Hit the stationary target.

As always I welcome your feedback and any ideas you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.