With so many people against guns, it must perplex some that many people enjoy using guns to “play” cowboy. When my husband and I first married, we were ballroom dancers. We were not the kind that competed, but we spent hours at the studio trying our best to emulate our professionals. Age took its toll and with aching knees and hips we decided to find another hobby we could do together.
A few months later, my husband found this new sport called single action cowboy shooting and asked me if I was willing to try it. I had never shot a gun or even liked guns but I missed our special times so I said, “Yes.” The beginning was rocky. I liked my pistols and rifle, but I was not fond of my shotgun. I missed a lot and it hurt my shoulder to shoot it. After some further research my husband, Steve, modified my gun, which helped, but I still missed shotgun, most of the time. I enjoyed practice. Shooting my pistols and especially my rifle was fun. But going to the matches were a challenge. Not only were we not welcome at one of our clubs, but my shooting abilities were abysmal. Steve did much better and soon discovered another club that was welcoming and helpful.
Little by little, we improved and after taking a class with the famous Half-A -Hand Henry, I was finally able to break the curse with my shotgun and actually started hitting shotgun targets! I wish I could say that it was easy after that, but I had a curse worse than my inability to shoot shotgun. It was my attitude and temper. When I successfully shot a stage (there are usually 6 per match), I was moderately satisfied. But, when I missed too many targets, had a procedural (shooting in the wrong order), or made some other dumb mistake, I became sullen, teary eyed, and went off to sulk, by myself, until I could regain my composure. This was a challenge for years, even though I learned to hide it, somewhat, as I became more experienced. Holding on to self-condemning thoughts and feelings led to more misses and more train wrecks on the range. It took several more years to learn to let go of the mistakes I make on a stage and move forward to the next, with a clear head and a positive attitude. Satan still tries to break my spirit by tempting me to brood over a bad performance, but I am learning to reject those feelings and get back in the game, more easily.
Maybe you can relate to how Satan tries to defeat us by reminding us of our failures, our sins, and our mistakes. He would like nothing better than to see us not accomplish our goals or our divine missions. He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he comes to steal, kill, and destroy but we have an advocate who works for us, when we choose to put our trust in Jesus Christ (John 10:10). Not that everything will work out the way we may want it to, but with the right attitude we can be a shining light for others to see and follow. A silent prayer and a shifting of attention helps me regain a positive focus and steers me on the right track. Do you struggle with self esteem issues, feelings of failure, wanting to give up? Go to the cross. Leave the discouragement, the failure, and the brokenness at his feet. Let Jesus comfort, heal, and deliver you.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17