“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:7
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One of the most fascinating (and shall I say, nerve-wracking) things I’ve ever watched in the world of sports is the visually-impaired biathlon. Until I started watching the Paralympics a while back, I never knew this even existed, but it’s truly an amazing thing to see.
At first, it seems a little oxymoronic that something which requires acute eyesight could even be available to visually-impaired athletes, but here’s how they do it: Instead of looking through a scope at the given target, the athletes put on headphones and listen for a change in the auditory tone the closer they are to the target. The sound gets louder and the tone goes up as they find the target and then take their laser shot at it. A hit sends a sound back to them that they’ve successfully found their target and can move to the next shot.
After watching several competitions, I’ve come away with two very valuable lessons from the sport:
First, listen to the Holy Spirit, and you will know where your own “target” is. Paul said as much in his letter to the Galatians when he urged them to “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). When you live a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led life, it is easier to determine what your priorities are and how to achieve them. This isn’t to say there aren’t times when it’s hard to sense where God is directing, or to know what the best move is for a given situation. But in general, we have better clarity when we listen for where the Spirit is guiding us, and we are assured that when we follow Him, we will have God’s blessing.
Secondly, don’t second-guess yourself. Some of these visually-impaired athletes will lock in on the target, hear the tone going up and know they’re real close, but end up jumping the trigger, causing their rifle to move even slightly and miss their target. Any miss then costs them time and a penalty loop. So many times I’ve watched this happen and realized that the ones who usually do the best are the ones who trust their instincts and training, and know when to stop thinking so hard and just pull the trigger.
Doubting ourselves in any part of life can sometimes cost us the difference between hitting the intended “target” or missing the shot and suffering the consequences. This is why it’s important not to overthink things when we get that sense from the Spirit that a certain move is right. While it’s always good to be careful, there comes a point where you just have to take the step and let things fall where they may. Just take your shot and see what happens.
Like these athletes, we are (spiritually speaking) visually impaired. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us, and we need to take our shot when it’s time. Maybe, like me, this is the advice you needed this week to get you through and remind you that you’re not in this race blind — you just need a little direction from God and some courage for yourself.
— Katherine Singer
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