I eased the truck door open in the moonlight. The stillness of the pre-dawn air created an eerie quiet as I loaded up my gear. There was just enough light to make my way to the stand about 150 yards down a cutover road, through the hardwoods, to the edge of the field.
I started to walking down the dimly lit path trying to avoid the dead leaves and sticks. Stealth is one of the greatest assets you have as a hunter. It’s amazing how much louder everything sounds in the dark. We’ve all been there. When you’re walking through the woods in the dark, even the slightest sound in the brush sounds like a giant.
From a young age I have always been uneasy in woods at night. That’s when your imagination can really start acting up. There’s just something about the unknown that creates chaos in the mind. I’ve never actually encountered a bear while hunting but I’m almost certain I’ve been stalked by one on my way to the stand in the dark… at least that’s what my mind was telling me in the moment.
The way the human mind works is amazing, but still somewhat of a mystery. Whenever we encounter a scenario where we don’t have all the information we are almost programmed to fill in the blanks with negative things. Why is that?
Like it or not, it’s true. Generally speaking, we never assume positively. When we face circumstances where the facts are lacking we almost always assume the worst. Even if what our imagination is telling us has no factual basis. When we are in a place of darkness or unknown we create an image of what “may be” based on how we feel, not based on truth.
This type of negative assumption can certainly play mind games with you while you’re hunting, but it can also creep into your life in other places as well.
Maybe you’ve lived through a tough season in a relationship where you didn’t have all the facts about how the other person felt; isn’t it true that there were moments you thought “surely it’s over?” Perhaps you’ve faced an unknown medical issue, and while you were waiting for the diagnosis, your mind raced with all the worst possibilities. Or maybe you’ve been trying to overcome something in your past but it’s too early to tell if you’ll be haunted forever by your past choices; and now the unknown about your future has led to you building a list of all the reasons you’ll never reach the goal or dream you once had.
As men who are designated for great impact and significance we have to start winning the war in our minds. We’ve got to make a stand against the unrealistic, unknown, unfounded things that we’ve started to believe may be lurking in the bushes, just out of our eyesight. We’ve got to reclaim the dreams and goals we once had that have been derailed by the lies of our imagination.
The truth that I’ve learned over many years in the woods is the creature making the sound is never as big as I think it is. The “threat” that I can’t see is always bigger in my mind than in reality. Often times I’m left laughing at myself because I let the “what ifs” get out of control instead of staking my ground on what I know.
If you’re facing an unknown today, or if it’s too dark to see what’s going on in the distance, stand firm in what you do know. God created you for something. He’s prepared and equipped you for your purpose. No matter what mistakes you’ve made up to this point, His plan for you is still in place. Stand on what you know, and not what you assume.