ARROW WARS! (and Choosing Sides)

The three Grands arrived for a sleepover, armed with bows and arrows and a quiver full of competitive energy. “Granny sent them to us,” Caer-Bear announced, as she set her backpack into the pink storage cube in her room, and held up a pink bow for me to admire. “Look, they even light up!”

Soon suction-tipped arrows were flying through the house, followed closely by squeals of laughter. One of the greatest joys of grandparenting is the opportunity to engage in child play. Singing and dancing to “It’s Raining Tacos,” playing Hide-n-Seek and The Floor is Lava, coloring, tossing frisbees, building magnetic towers and lego creations, have all been part of this delightful new stage in life.

But the gift from Granny Kay brought things to a whole new level.

“Can I try?” I asked later that evening. Caer-Bear handed over her pink bow, Theo shoved a handful of his arrows at me, and we hung a target from the bulletin board in their room. At first, the kids were doubled over in laughter as they attempted to show me the correct way to release the arrows. I eventually caught on and we decided to get competitive.

“Let’s have Arrow Wars!” Mason’s excitement was evident by the the way he bounced up and down with his words. “Let’s see who can get to 100 points first.”

“You’re on!” I told him. “And you are going DOWN, Buddy!”

“No, YOU are going down!” He shouted. His enthusiasm was contagious and the laughter, shouts, and cheers, flew like the arrows.

During my first battle against Mason, my arrows hit the wall, fell into a toy box, and landed everywhere except on the target. He whooped me with a score of 100 to 30. By this time, the kids’ mom (my daughter, Alyssa), and Grandpa (The Silver Fox) had come to check out what all the ruckus was about. Uncle Josh wasn’t far behind. Soon it was Grandma versus Grandpa in Arrow Wars and the grandkids were trying to decide who to cheer for, which team they wanted to be on.

“I’m cheering for Grandma!” Caeris’ loyalty made my heart grin, and her mom nodded in agreement. “Me too.”

“Well, we are cheering for Grandpa, right, Mase?” Theo immediately made himself captain of Team Grandpa. “Whoever is cheering for Grandpa stays on this side of the room and whoever is cheering for Grandma can be on Caeris’ bed” he instructed with the authority of a CEO.

Game on.

Taunts and cheers ricocheted and turned into laughter that left tears streaming down our faces.

(I not-so-humbly share that I soundly defeated The Silver Fox, much to the astonishment of Theo and Mason – and everyone else in the room. My victory HOORAH could be heard next door. )

Next up, was Alyssa and Josh, followed by Josh vs. Mason.

It became tougher to choose sides, to figure out where loyalties lay. “I’m cheering for both of you,” I eventually announced and soon there was a chorus of agreement. We all cheered for everyone, shouting whenever an arrow stuck to the target. Of course there was only one winner, and at the end of the night the reigning champion was Mason.

At times like Friday Night Arrow Wars, it is okay to be double-minded and cheer for both sides. It’s okay to have split loyalties when there really isn’t anything at stake. Sometimes the wisest decision is to remain neutral.

But many times when we strive to be in alliance with opposing sides, the double- mindedness makes us unstable. We lack peace and joy because we are constantly suffering whiplash from the frantic back and forth jolts, and we can’t seem to find firm footing.

Sometimes, we have to choose a side.

To be double-minded is to have two minds, two beliefs, and to go back and forth between the two. Often this is what holds us back from getting to a place of peace or progress, because it is impossible to move forward when we go one way and then back in the other direction.

This is true for believers and unbelievers alike – divided loyalties can cause a great deal of trouble in our lives.

But we believers are warned of the particular sorrow that comes from trying to follow both God and the world.

James in the Bible talks about the dangers of trying to be on Team The World and Team Faith at the same time.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. Let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:2-8 (emphasis mine)

If we divide ourselves between faith and the world, we are left in dire straits. We are tossed about and end up with a bad case of seasickness or vertigo at the very least; plunged overboard and drowning at the worst.

As believers, we are to follow God’s greatest commandments:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22: 37-40

It all begins with choosing – choosing a side and being all in. Heart, soul and mind on one team.

As you and I examine strife in our lives, we can ask ourselves if double-mindedness could be at the root. Which side am I on? Faith or fear? The world or the Word? I challenge you (and me) to take each situation and really ponder this. In my own life, I have been struggling over a book I am writing, a book that both other people and the Holy Spirit have confirmed I need to complete. But I also have had conflicting thoughts “What if people don’t like me after they read this?” If I choose this “team,” I am choosing to worry what the world thinks rather than walking in obedience, or being on Team Faith. When I struggled over whether to quit my job or not – which I also felt called to – I had similar conflicting thoughts – “What if we don’t have enough money? What if something “big” comes up, financially? What if people think I’m weird? ” (ha- they think that anyways?!) Again, I had to choose faith over fear, the Word over the world.

I have never – not once – regretted being on Team Faith. But there have been plenty of sorrows when I’ve opted to divide my loyalties and follow the shouts of the world over the whispers of the Spirit.

Today, and every day, I will remind myself that I choose to be linked to Team Jesus, as a forever follower. I choose Team Joy. I choose the abundant life.

*****

To ponder: What are your biggest struggles and conflicts right now? Do you have a double-mind in these areas? What does it look like to choose Team The World? Team Fear? What does it look like to choose Team Faith?

*****

On Saturday morning, the competition continued. It was girls (Grandma and Caer-Bear) against the boys (Mason and Theo). Guess who won?

The Cutest Competitors
The Winning Team

Grateful for this abundant life,

Marie with a 🙂

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