Did you know about 30% of junior campers take riflery as one of their activities every summer? And teen campers get the opportunity to shoot on the rifle range or practice some trap shooting during their time here? While I’ve never had a chance to participate in any rifle range activities at Frontier Camp, I did get to break in my shotgun shooting skeet over what is now Lake Maverick during a teen week back in 2013.
My grandfather taught me how to shoot a gun when I was a kid, aiming for scraps of metal he had hung in the trees. There was a lot to learn. You have to line the sight up with the right target. Once you think you’ve lined up the barrel of the gun with what you’re trying to hit, you have to be able to hold the gun steady when you pull the trigger in spite of the kick back. And if it’s a moving target, like skeet, you have to have quick reaction time and be able to trace the target, anticipating where it will be when your shotgun pellets reach that distance.
When I tried my shotgun out for the first time at Frontier Camp, Eric Olson was leading the activity. I tried to hit one flying clay disc after another when I finally concluded that something was wrong with my gun and it wasn’t aligned well, needed to be cleaned, or something! Surely the problem wasn’t me! Eric offered to help by trying it out and he must’ve hit five in a row! Dusty tried out my gun and he didn’t seem to have any issue with shattering the skeet mid-air either. Clearly, the problem wasn’t the gun.
The problem was me and my aim. The problem was that I was focusing on the wrong thing when I was trying to shoot and wasn’t holding steady. I wasn’t aiming well for the target.
In the same way that I wasn’t aiming for the right target while shooting skeet, we can sometimes aim for the wrong target in life.
What you are aiming for in life could be one or multiple things. Are you aiming for the biggest and best decorated house? Is the target you’re trying to hit some amount of success in your career or having a powerful position? Is all your focus on ensuring your children “turn out” well or that your marriage looks perfect?
Providing a warm, loving home is not a bad thing to work towards. Earning respect and trust in the workplace as a result of strong work ethic can actually be a great witness to the Lord. Training your children in the way they should go and fighting for your marriage are great things to be doing. The question is, do you live for these things and only these things? Do you value these things more than anything else in life? Do you aim for success in only these areas?
The most important thing we should be aiming for is the success of God’s work in and through our lives. God offers eternally valuable gifts that are near impossible to measure here on earth: grace, mercy, forgiveness, hope, peace through His presence, an eternal home, and so much more. We should strive daily to see these things grow and manifest in our lives. While this process of sanctification doesn’t happen overnight, it’s something we should continually be aiming for as we live our day-to-day lives.
Some concrete steps to make sure your aim is on the right target are:
- Know your target: I had to be able to follow the moving skeet as it flew through the air. In your life, above all other successes (riches, relationships, etc.), define success as God’s continual work in you. It’s a life-long process of behavior change that’s only possible through the redemptive work of Christ.
- Use the right equipment: It was important for me to have a clean, working gun that had been adjusted correctly in order for me to be successful. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about your equipment needing any adjusting! Grab your Bible and spend some time in the Word!
- Find someone who can teach you: As soon as Eric tried out my gun and realized it was a user error, he demonstrated proper technique, spent a few minutes coaching me, and provided tips each time I tried. While I didn’t become an expert right away, my shot did improve, and I walked away that day having hit at least a few clay pigeons! It’s important to surround yourself with people who can teach, correct, and encourage you in your walk with the Lord.
The more time I spend shooting my shotgun, the better I get at it. The more time you spend aiming for God’s grace to do its work, the easier heart-change will become. The question to ask yourself at the end of the day is this: Am I aiming for the success of God’s agenda of grace? If not, what are you aiming for, and how can you make God’s work a priority?