A couple of weekends ago, I did something I had only done one time before in my entire life — fire a gun.
The first time I fired a gun was when I was about 11 or 12 years old.
My stepfather, Tim, and my step-grandfather, Ralph, drove me to a forest up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and let me shoot a shotgun.
I don’t know a whole lot about guns but as I remember, this shotgun was one of the biggest.
I took one shot and immediately admitted that was more than enough.
The sound it made was like a nuclear bomb exploding, and the kickback made my shoulder sore for days. I don’t really remember what we used as a target but I’m sure I was nowhere near the mark.
So as a kid, I was traumatized and had no desire to shoot a gun ever again. I did not want to relive that experience, and really did not trust myself enough to even be near a gun.
But as I’ve become a husband and a homeowner, the thought of household protection has since crossed my mind.
So about a month ago, I asked my in-laws if they would like to show my wife, Carmen, and I how to use a gun.
See, my mother-in-law, Linda, and her friend, Donnie, love to go hunting. And my brother-in-law, Wade, is in law enforcement.
Knowing how much experience they’ve had with guns, I finally felt safe enough to be shown the ropes.
On a sunny afternoon, Donnie took all of us to his parents’ property which has several acres of open land. There were no homes anywhere around, making it an ideal place for setting up targets.
However, on the entire drive to the property, I kept reliving that one time in my head over and over again.
I wondered and wondered if this experience was going to be like the last time I fired a gun many years ago.
After everything was set up, Linda, Donnie and Wade showed us how to load and unload several different guns, including a .38 Special revolver, a Glock 22 and a .410 shotgun. They also provided us with headsets to block out the explosion-like noise which immediately made me feel more at ease.
So first I fired the revolver and the Glock 22, and to my surprise, it wasn’t bad at all.
But then came the shotgun.
I’m pretty sure the .410 was not as powerful as the gun I fired as a youngster, but I still had the worry that it might rip my shoulder off.
At any rate, I got into position with the shotgun. I made sure my hands were all in the proper places and the back of the gun was resting where it should be.
And just as quickly as the shot was fired, I realized that firing the shotgun wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I remembered.
In fact, it was pretty fun.
I now feel much more at ease around guns, and I am actually looking forward to getting back out there again with the targets.
Most amazingly, I overcame that fear I had been carrying around for about 17 years.
I was also reminded of an important lesson God teaches us.
He is going to ask us all to do certain jobs in life. And those jobs may be something we’ve failed at before, or had a really bad experience with.
Perhaps, God may ask you to witness to a lost loved one. You know you’ve tried it before and maybe it didn’t go so well.
The easy thing to do would be to tell God, “I’ve already been down that road, and it didn’t work out. I’m not going to put myself in that position again.”
But if it’s something God wants you to do, then you need to let go of your own fears and put your trust in Him.
James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
When we have trials that God brings us to, that verse should be all we need to know to endure those trials. We will be rewarded when we step out of our comfort zones and do the work the Lord has called us to do.
I faced a fear of shooting guns, but felt rewarded and accomplished after I realized I could do it.
So, too, can we all be rewarded when we face whatever God brings our way.
Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit his blog at hallthingsconsidered.blogspot.com