When Mike asked me to go deer hunting a few weekends ago, I was indifferent about it. I’ve never had the thought or desire to have a weekend away at a deer camp. But you know, marriage is about sacrifice, right? I figured it was a wifely thing to do to sacrifice a couple of weekends here and there to appease my husband’s love for weekends at the camp. Well, fast forward to today, and I am here to tell you that the tide has turned. I have fallen in love with the experience deer hunting can give me. Let me try to quickly explain…

Although I absolutely love waking up at the crack of dawn, watching the sunrise, getting bundled up and drinking several cups of coffee, a quiet weekend hunting is a lot more than that for me. The anticipation of deer walking out is such a peaceful rush. Almost like a calm anticipation. I thought my competitive nature would be the only spark I needed to wake up and get decked out in hunting gear, but that wasn’t the case. I mean the competitive thrill was definitely my initial motivation but that wasn’t what sealed the deal. My tipping point, and biggest lesson, was what I discovered sitting in that tiny little deer stand on our last day.

Every so often Mike would tell me to “Shhh” because he heard something in the woods.  I started to get frustrated because I couldn’t hear whatever it was he was hearing. I felt like I was failing because I couldn’t listen the way he listened. He would claim he heard a deer walking up and then boom! Five minutes later there it was. I was baffled at how he could hear these faint, subtle footsteps approaching the field. How did he hear something that I didn’t hear? This routine carried on through each hunt. I got to the point where I stopped looking for the deer and waited for his “Shhh” as my cue that one was close.

When it came time for our last hunt, I was ready to finish off the weekend right. It was an afternoon hunt and the sun was just about to set. The setting was tranquil. At first I tried to listen carefully to the outside noises. I thought nature would give me my answer. I heard the howling wind, the trickling stream behind us, and the leaves rustling. My first thought was, “How the heck does he hear footsteps when nature is so noisy?”

That’s when it hit me. I was listening to the wrong things. The outside, unimportant noises. I forced myself to block out the sounds that surrounded me… all of the wind, the leaves and the water. I stopped my movement and tried to listen for what I was striving to hear… deer footsteps. You’ll never guess what happened. It only took seconds of this, and I began to hear the slightest noise coming from the woods to the left of me. I couldn’t believe that after consciously blocking out all of the noise from outside, I could hear the faint sound clear as day. Ah, success!

Once I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking back to all of the fun from the weekend. Especially my experience during that final hunt. That’s when I think it really hit me. God used hunting to teach me a lesson about my communication with him. I haven’t been listening to the right noise! I can say my prayers day and night, and state my petitions, but if I don’t focus on what I am trying to hear, which is God’s voice, I will only hear outside clamor.

The worldly noise around us is drowning out God’s voice.  If we could block out the noise of society, television, opinions of others, and especially our toxic thoughts, we would be able to hear what He is trying to tell us. It’s not that God doesn’t hear us; it is that we are not listening to his answers.

My challenge to you is next time you sit down and pray, focus on blocking out all of the noise that surrounds you. Concentrate on the prayer at hand, ignoring the cluttered voices around you. Stop listening for the screams, and focus on the whispers. That is where your answer awaits!

Until next hunting season,