Running on Empty

The wind creaked through the plywood walls of the shooting house. I scanned the tree-line again looking for any movement. Still nothing. My eyes and ears were tired. The shadows of the pines stretched out across the open field as twilight was approaching. I could almost hear my heart beating as the seconds ticked by. Suddenly the wind died down and everything settled. I was in the moment and the whole world seemed to stop.


There is a magical moment every evening that most people never have the opportunity to witness. It’s as if all of nature is in harmony and is responding at the same time. Many outdoorsmen tell amazing tales of the sunrise and when the woods come alive in the morning, but there is something equally as special about the sunset. When you are deep in the woods you rarely get to see the spectacular colors of the clouds as the sun dips below the horizon, but when you are deep in the woods you experience something completely different, but equally just as breathtaking.


There is a moment in time, just before the sun sinks out of view, when everything stops. The birds go quiet. The wind stops blowing. The creatures stand still. It’s as if everything in the woods is taking a long slow breath. There is something eerie about it, and there is something refreshing at the same time. Everything in nature pauses as if to reflect on the day that was.

This has become a powerful moment in my life. There is power in a moment of reflection and exhale. There is power in a moment of thankfulness and gratitude.


In our lives today these moments of quiet have become scarce. The noise of life has grown deafening. So often we are pushing so hard to get to the next appointment or next event that we can blow through these simple, quiet moments that our souls crave. And it’s killing us.


The idea of stopping to reflect is a thought that scares most of us to death. Some of us are running so hard that we’re not even sure how to stop without losing our grip on everything we’ve worked so hard to maintain. Some of us are so afraid that if we stop for a moment to breathe that every plate we have spinning will come crashing down. Some of us have convinced ourselves that if we stop grinding we will lose a sense of who we are. These are all lies.


The truth is that we must find time to rest and reset. The rest I am talking about is not simply taking a few hours off to sleep, or even a week off in the summer to head to the beach. I am talking about soul-refreshing rest. Not simply trading one activity for another, but a true moment of exhaling and reflection. This is a principle that is fundamental to your health, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Whether you believe it or not doesn’t change the fact that it is true.


Why is rest so important? Because it works. It’s one of the biggest draws to being an outdoorsmen that I have found in my life. When I am able to spend time out in creation, despite the effort and work that it takes to track down the target, I am always refreshed by the quiet and tranquility found in nature. Finding time to breathe and reflect is where we are fueled for the fight. Taking a moment to reset yourself brings clarity and new passion to the desire you are chasing.


Can you relate? Does is feel like you’re living from one chaos to another chaos? When is the last time you stopped to breathe. I promise that if you do, your world will not fall apart. You will find a new kind of peace, often the type you’ve been searching for. The best part is you don’t have to run to the woods to find it. Just take thirty seconds right now, close your eyes, take a deep breath, thank God for something in your life and feel peace fill your soul.


The significance you’re chasing is worth the effort, but you won’t get there on an empty tank. Find moments in your day to reflect on the things you’re thankful for and keep pressing forward to be a man who matters.