A few nights ago, as Blake and I were closing up the house to go to bed, Blake peeked out the front door into the darkness and said, "Hey! Check this out!"
As I walked over, he opened the door and started a yipping call into the cold air. I could barely make out a small, dark figure 100 yards away near our gate, slinking into the night. It was a coyote.
We've heard them hunting most nights on our property since we've moved here a few months ago. They've had free reign for a couple years, and the back pasture has been overgrown and untended for far too long.
I feel familiar with coyotes since I grew up watching Looney Tunes and Wile E. Coyote chase around the Road Runner.
Those were always the silliest shows. Every episode, the coyote was so hungry that he would try some ridiculous idea to outsmart the road runner, and it would always backfire. Always.
Simply put: he was stuck in a rut.
He used the same pattern over and over and over. And yet he kept believing (and banking his 29 million lives) on a different outcome. But it never came.
Our untended back pasture got some love last week. We hired a guy to come brush hog it (for those unfamiliar with that term, it means a tractor pulls a heavy-duty mower that will chop down even small trees to clear an area).
When land is cleared like that, it destroys most everything... even rodents' habitats.
Here's where the unusual thing happened:
While this guy is brush hogging... in the middle of the day...out in the open... a desperate coyote shows up to get some of these rodents on the run.
This is clearly a very hungry animal. He is skin and bones and will do whatever it takes to get his next meal - even follow around a guy on a tractor.
This scenario got me thinking. This coyote went against so many of it's natural tendencies because it was desperate:
1. Coyotes are nocturnal. They hunt at night and sleep during the day. Yet, this coyote knows that sleep doesn't feed an empty stomach.
2. Most coyotes that live in the city are people-shy. This one didn't care one bit that there was a human nearby. It was focused on it's goal.
3. Coyotes are pack animals. They hunt in a pack and can be very wily in their deception to catch their prey. Growing up in a somewhat rural area, we would hear of a female coyote calling in a male dog, only to have the pack attack it once it got close enough. This coyote has left the pack behind to do what he needs to do.
Basically, this coyote pushed past many of it's natural instincts and comforts in order to survive and feed his hunger. So, what are you hungry for?
One phrase I keep hearing over and over this year is UNCOMFORTABLE. It comes up multiple times a week - in sermons, in conversations, in books. Comfort is not the end-all goal and will not serve us well if we pursue it.
Am I desperate enough for the Word, for the presence of the Lord, for freedom in areas of my life to get UNCOMFORTABLE?
Am I willing to try new things in order to feed that hunger?
Am I willing to go against my "natural wiring" or "just how I'm made" in order to pursue the things of God?
I challenge you to ask yourself these questions:
1. Are you willing to be a little more nocturnal to grow in ______ area of your life? I LOVE me some sleep. LOVE. But are you willing to push past that comfort in order to pursue some change in a specific area? Get up early and take some steps in the direction you are heading.
2. Are you willing to do what you need to do, regardless of who sees it? Change can be challenging for us for sure, but it can be even more challenging for those around us. People like us to stay the same and meet their expectations. Change can make others uncomfortable. "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!" - US Navy SEALS.
3. If others aren't going to join you in your change, do you want it bad enough to go it alone? I'm a huge believer in community and support, but if you want change bad enough, you may have to step away from the pack for a season. Not everyone will have the same passions and pursuits as you. Lean into your purpose anyway. Step out anyway. The right people who are running the same way will find you at some point.
Embrace your hunger today. It may bring about some good change in your life if you let it. Let the Holy Spirit show you some strategy for growth!