Both during and between recent outdoor adventures, I have caught myself thinking a certain thought. I recognized it creeping in again this past Saturday afternoon while dove hunting with a good friend and his son in a cut corn field in the Northern Neck. It was to the effect of - 'I just need to harvest one or two more doves before we pack up'. And even thought 'it' varies, 'it' has a constant theme - more, bigger, better. 'I need to hold out for a buck bigger than the one I got last year', 'I need to fill that one last turkey tag', 'I need to get back out one more time for those gator trout', 'I need to hook into one more hard-fighting redfish', 'I need to cast to and hook a cobia on my own', 'I need to get offshore one more time before the marlin head east', and so on and so on. One more, one more, one more, and while we're at it, make it bigger and better than last time out. And the culmination of all this causes me to pause and think about the concepts of 'when is enough, enough' and 'what do I honestly consider a good day'? When is it okay to chase after my passions, and when do I need to stop and say 'that is enough for now'?
Philippians 4:11-12 (NASB)
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NASB)
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
In reflecting on this question, I believe it really boils down to a question of contentment. So what does real contentment look like? What does God consider contentment and what does He tell us about it in His Word? I believe the Lord is using these situations to show me where and in what my contentment lies. Scripture clearly indicates that our contentment should be solely placed in Christ Jesus, who is a constant, He is to be 'enough' for us. Because our circumstances, which vary from season to season, determine when we have little and when we have much; therefore, if our contentment is placed in things, experiences or quantities for example, we will wind up being a roller coaster ride emotionally and spiritually. And while my contentment is in the hope and promise of the death, burial, resurrection and ultimate return of Christ to Earth...I would have to confess that it is also in my passion to hunt and fish and in having success doing so.
When it comes to being in the outdoors, I an unsettled with the notions of when and what is enough, because these are the passions that God has put inside of me, these opportunities are what fuel me and provide the revelations that I share each week with my readers. I have heard from many of you how God has spoken to you and affected you through His words in these insights, and that says to me that I need to continue to be His vessel and continue to write. And therefore, I get in the outdoors as often as I can so I can continue to get inside the minds and hearts of sportsmen and relate to their experiences. My family is even extremely supportive of me in seeking after my passions, oftentimes more so than myself. But the more I go and the more I experience, ironically, the more often I seem to take experiences for granted, the more I fail to appreciate the moments at hand, the more that passes me by, and the more I feel as though I miss at home. As I continue to work on seeing my way clear in this, it is evident I still have a ways to go.
I have heard those that I hunt and fish with say similar things, in fact, just today I heard "if I could just get back to this spot in the next couple of weeks, I would try this...". So are you content with the time you spend in the outdoors? What do you consider a 'good day'? Have you been able to determine what and when enough is enough? What is your source or sources of contentment? - GE