My current view while writing these few words consists of 2 whitetail deer feeding about 120 yards from me.Birds of all kinds are letting their existence be known. It is unseasonably chilly here in West Texas as we have had some heavy rainstorms and northern winds blow through the past few days. With everything that is going on in the world, this place is truly peaceful.
Undoubtedly you are tired of hearing about the current world news and have been affected by it in some form or fashion. I admit that these current times make me even more impatient for September when I can escape to the mountains to chase after elk. When September comes, I brace myself for the many ups and downs that come with the long season. As soon as I believe that I have everything figured out, something on the mountain changes, and makes me look like a fool. Daily things in life are just the same. Just when we think that we have this whole life thing figured out, it throws a wrench into what we feel are our perfect plans. Our own life goals and plans are so limited to what we are capable of.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways,” declares the Lord. “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”
As plans almost always change, I wanted to share a few habits that separate a bad guide from a good guide when change happens in the field. There are many different times in a person’s life when they have a fight or flight moment. A good guide always fights.
1. A good guide is versatile
To be a good guide, you must be versatile. Able to make changes on the fly and adapt to situational circumstances. Most successful hunts have a few twists and turns that were not expected. When these twists and turns happen, a guide does not just sit down on a log and let the day go on. A guide takes what he is given and makes the best out of it. A guide’s job is to make his hunter successful, or at the very least, provide an opportunity for that hunter to be successful. If there was a known outcome or if there was a 5-step process of where to go and what to do to kill an elk, the hunt would be much less enjoyable.
2. A good guide takes action
A good guide can look at a mountain and form a plan of action. That plan changes with different wind directions, changes in weather, changes in animal location, and many other factors. Once the plan is in place, and the guide has made progress, everything that he was confident in can be thrown out the door as a new situation presents itself. Any moment where a guide doesn’t take action is a failure on his part. To be successful, you must take the initiative and know-how to carry out a plan. If there were a verse that was meant for hunting guides, it would be this one:
Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope;be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.”
3. A good guide recognizes what he has
The one thing that I love about being a hunting guide is that even on the worst of days in the field, I am still a hunting guide. What I consider as one of the best jobs on the planet is what I can do. I can say the same about having a relationship with Christ. At the end of even the worst days, I know that all things work together for His good. As I move through my many seasons, questions arise about what my purpose is and how I am supposed to fulfill that purpose with my current circumstances. Yet, with all of this uncertainty, I know I have the greatest gift that anyone could receive. The gift of love, forgiveness, and eternal salvation, and I have the ability to spread those gifts with everyone.
4. A good guide is comfortable in uncomfortable situations
While I am “on the clock” with my guiding jobs, I really could care less about what kind of weather or what other circumstances are going on that could affect my comfort in the field. I am aware of what my job is and know what I must do to accomplish that job. A good guide must make it a habit of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. As we all go into this season of discomfort, many of us will decide to be stagnant and just ride it out. That is not what we are made to do because if we aren’t moving forward, we are going backward. There is no middle ground. You know what areas you are lacking in and have the available time and resources to work on those areas. Netflix and Disney+ won’t fix any of your issues. Perhaps what we all need is to face a little discomfort to appreciate those times of real comfort. Even the best guides get tired and need rest. There is no shame in struggling to find purpose or the encouragement required to fight on. At some point in our lives, we will need to find peace and rest, and there is only one way to do that:
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”