There’s a certain way of life you grow accustomed to when living in southern Indiana. Strangers waving at each other in passing cars along country roads. The smell in the air during harvest. And your husband pulling out his hunting gear in preparation for Saturday morning.
The other week, my husband asked me if I wanted to go hunting with him. It was a sweet gesture, as I know his reason for asking was to show me kindness and to ensure I didn’t feel left out more so than him actually wanting me to tag along.
To his surprise, I pondered his question for a few minutes. I thought about sitting in a tree, in the dark, with a gun in my hands for hours upon hours. I thought about what the moment would feel like if I actually saw a deer within range of taking a shot. And I wondered, if the stars aligned and I actually killed Bambi’s relative, what it would smell like to gut the poor thing (or is field dress the proper term?).
If I’m being honest, my gut reaction (no pun intended) when asked the question if I wanted to go hunting was no. But you see, I have this competitive streak in me that whispered over my no and brought the image to my mind of being able to tell people I had gone hunting.
I know hunting isn’t out of the ordinary for many women. If you know me, though, you know my idea of a good time does not include sitting in dark woods by myself waiting to kill an animal. I have nothing against those who love to hunt, it’s just not my thing. So my competitive streak kicked in when I pictured accomplishing something people would never expect of me.
It wasn’t all competitive, though. I thought it would be fun to have this connection with my husband. I grew excited thinking of experiencing something completely new and different.
When I think about all the reasons I hesitated in my decision-making, I realize this fact: None of my reasons came back to actually wanting to hunt. They revolved around what other people would think, how I would feel accomplished and the connections I could make. Basically, my gut reaction was what could I get out of it? What would I gain from doing this even if I don’t really want to do it?
And then I wonder how often I go through this same process with God. How often does He ask me to do something, and my gut reaction is wondering what I can get out of it? Sure, we like to think our motives are pure and all for God’s glory, but our pride and our selfishness sneak into our motives more often than we care to admit.
When God asks something of me, I often think through the scenario playing out, just like I did with hunting. I wonder how much it will cost me. I think about how good I would feel knowing I’ve done something for God. And yes, sometimes without even realizing it, I picture what other people might say to me when they find out what I did for Him.
It’s a little sickening to think about, isn’t it?
How do we combat our pride and selfishness? For starters, by calling that thought-process out immediately instead of shying away from it. By asking God to create in us pure hearts. And by picturing the One who asks this of us.
If God once again took on human flesh and stood before me, or if He allowed me to experience a vision of Him on His throne, I know my response would look vastly different from selfishly pondering what earthly value I would achieve before answering Him.
This difference should not exist. The Spirit who speaks to my heart is the same God who took on my sins and accepted me into His family. And yet when He asks something of me, my first thought is not of Him but of me.
My prayer is that my heart will look more like His each day. I desire to rid myself of pride and selfishness and do all things with an eternal perspective. I wish there were easier answers, and I wish I would fully rely on the power of the Spirit within me. But I know the more I seek Him in the ordinary days and in my routine, the more I will desire to accomplish things for His glory and not my own.
And I pray that God will continue to use ordinary conversations like going hunting to spark conviction in my soul.
Also, to answer the question you’re probably thinking, no, I did not go hunting with him.