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We returned from the shooting range. My brother-in-law, proud of the design he’d put in his target, whipped out his smartphone to show my great-grandmother. She peered at the image, smiled sweetly, then patted his knee. “That’s alright, sugar. Just keep practicing and you’ll get it.”

At first glance, guns and dreams have little in common. Oddly, however, I walked away from my first try at the shooting range aware of how the principles of shooting were applicable to the journey of pursuing ones dreams.

Ready:
For a moment all I could do was stare at the gun. I know what they’re capable of and the knowledge was intimidating. But after a while I had to  show fear who’s boss and pick that gun up.

Likewise the fear of failure has sidelined many a dream. While you don’t know whether or not your dream will succeed if you try, you know for sure it won’t if you don’t. Ready yourself to take risks, acknowledge your fear of failure is present, then give it a firm and final dismissal.

Aim:
Call it rookie shooting. My target was close enough for the fan blowing behind me to make it sway, yet my first several shots only kissed air. My hands were shaking and my shoulders jumped every time I pulled the trigger. I was shooting all over the place. I took a deep breath, locked my muscles, focused on a direct location on the target instead of just its general direction, then resumed shooting. The first bullet pierced paper. By the time I emptied the clip I was shooting close enough to my mark to be taken seriously.

We were all designed with a specific purpose; and given gifts or talents that make us unique and useful. When pursuing your dreams, make sure it’s the right dream. Do a little soul-searching to uncover what you were made to do. What are you passionate about? What can you not stop thinking about? What, despite the hard work and long road ahead, keeps calling to you? Aim for it.

Fire:
You’ve evicted fear, narrowed your focus on your calling. Alright then. FIRE! Give it all you’ve got, wipe the sweat from your brow, then give even more. Don’t shrink back. Don’t doubt, pout, take breaks to throw pity parties, and most of all, don’t quit! Rejected? Take whatever feedback you’ve received and improve on your craft. Tired? Take a nap, then get back at it. If you’re on the path God set for you, it’s good. Don’t grow weary in doing good. Think back to that time when you felt more than ever that this was your purpose, your calling, your dream. Renew that passion and forge ahead.

Keep Firing:
Finally, the advice my ninety-four-year-old great-grandmother gave to my brother-in-law applies to you and I. Keep practicing. Keep firing. Keep shooting for your dreams. Even after you’ve achieved some success, you’ve never arrived. Get better with each new work. And give thanks in the journey. Now get out there and get at it!

God’s best to you as you shoot for your dreams.