The Wilderness Series: The Unknown

The Wilderness Series: The Unknown

What happens when you first come face to face with a challenge or a goal that you are unfamiliar with? Time seems to slow down as you move through the various procedures that lead to either set you up for success or failure. The unknown brings about an added sense of adrenaline along with a concentrated focus.

This challenge of conquering the unknown is quite an overwhelming task to take on. It takes minimal effort to get comfortable in the simple things that don’t necessarily challenge our status quo of regular everyday life.

One of the things that I most enjoy about exploring wild places is the fact that most things don’t happen twice. There is always an added element to every typical situation. You have to remain vigilant and on point as your surroundings are ever-changing. The days spent out in these places feel much longer because of this added focus. 

The challenge that hunting brings to these wild environments is very worthy whether you are familiar with the country or have never stepped foot in it. Honestly, the thought of just doing the same routine over and over and expecting the same mediocrity that many times follow with this type of lifestyle sounds like a waste.

The wild places are meant to push you. You are supposed to struggle and have second thoughts when you are pursuing something of great value. If you don’t have these types of pains and struggles, then you may want to sit down and reevaluate your current situation.

Heading off into the unknown brings about satisfaction in a person. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in knowing that you made that initial step means quite a bit. Now, the steps to follow are crucial on your path to an unknown situation.

There is short term satisfaction in knowing that you gave an effort in your field, but then due to underlying circumstances, your progress was stopped. When you go back and look at this memory, you will find regret in knowing that you gave up so early or that you gave up when an obstacle arrived. Pushing through these hardships that are most certainly to come on a difficult path is why you should take the path of resistance in the first place.

At the end of an excursion, many thoughts go through my head. Almost immediately, when I am back in the comfort of civilization, I begin to regret the decisions I made while out in the wilderness. Whether it was not checking a distance ridge or choosing sleep over further progress, many things seem uncomfortable in the moment but lead to regret when we look back and evaluate our decisions.

This thinking and mindset carries into everything we do in a day. Did we give our best effort? Did we use all of our available resources? Questions like this pop into our head with every little thing we do, and many times our lack of effort has us answering these questions in a negative light.

If we decide to embrace the fear of the unknown with an active, decision-making mindset, we can minimize the feelings of regret because of a lack of effort. The unknown is out there and is meant to be explored. Are you willing to go out and find it?    

The Wilderness Series: The Early Years

I have been writing on and off since 2014. Some of my “work” if you want to call it that was done in my school notebooks. I was very skilled at playing the part of an avid note-taker when I was actually thinking about being in the mountains. I found some of my old notebooks and wanted to put some of these ideas into a more formalized writing format. As part of the Wilderness Series, I want to have some early memories involved in my first few years of exploring the mountains. So, here is an unedited piece that I wrote on January 24, 2015. I believe I was in some type of History class at Angelo State University when I wrote out these few sentences.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

I quite often turn to Scriptures while hunting. I confess that I don’t read as much as I should, but I feel like nature brings out Christ in me. I have this Scripture, Deut. 31:6, written on my bow. I wrote it on there last August and truthfully forgot what it said. I now know exactly why I put it there, but I also see how there is so much more to be absorbed from this chapter in the Bible. Moses spoke this verse over the Israelites as they were about to enter the Jordan. Moses, being 120 years old, was forbidden to go to the promised land. So many times in life, I feel that if I can’t do something, then I should feel bad for myself and my lack of success. But Moses teaches me a lesson here. He says, ”The Lord, your God will go over before you.” The God who spoke to Moses and guided him his whole life is watching over YOU. Moses trusted God. He had faith in what was going to happen. Doubt will always creep in on any situation you encounter, no matter how well you handle that scenario. You will either fail, succeed, survive, or die at everything you attempt to do in your life. The outcome will never be known beforehand. Scary stuff to think about. But the Lord says, “Do not fear, I will not leave you.” In the middle of a hail storm at 12,000 feet elevation, I will not fear. The Lord is watching over me and is presence is oh so welcoming. Moses also shows me that I need to help others prepare. What do I really miss out on if I miss a chance to chase elk next fall? I can be selfish and somberly express my displeasure with my current circumstances, or I can use my knowledge and skills to help others prepare for their own journey. Whether they are chasing after elk, pursuing a job, or riding out a hard season in life, I will tell them the exact same words Moses told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” You and I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I do know Who holds tomorrow. Do you?

I can assure you that I do not remember what I learned on January 24, 2015, there in that History class. But I do know that my mind was in the right place if just for a few minutes. I have learned much since I wrote down these few sentences you have just read and have been through many seasons of life. I have come to find that you will begin to have a clearer picture of what your purpose is in the season you are presently enduring when you realize this:

Everything you go through in life is sharpening you in some form or fashion so that you may use these experiences as your own tools to encourage those who are broken and need mending. God gives us these tools throughout our life. We do not know when this happens or why but they are there for a reason. We must have faith and run with endurance the race that this life brings us so that we can make great work with these tools that have been so graciously given to us.

I did end up making an A in that class despite my extra-curricular activities.