When I was a teen my dad and I would go deer hunting in the mountains of Colorado near where we lived. My curiosity drove him crazy. While we sat together for hours on end quietly waiting for a hapless deer to wander our way, I’d imagine what was over the next mountain ridge. I was certain that if we just climbed that to ridge, we’d see a whole herd of deer and antelope frolicking together on the other side. Continually prodding my dad to chase after my imaginings certainly frustrated his inclination to stay put and get his prize buck. Of course, my interest was not really in snagging venison for supper. I wanted to explore; to see—as we say in our family—what the bear saw.
There are explorers, and there are campers. Explorers are curious about their world. They have an active, not idle, curiosity. They push themselves to inquire about how things work, why they work, and, importantly, what that might tell them about the pursuit they are to take. They are restless—in a good way; “striving,” as the apostle Paul put it, “with all God’s energy” (Col 1:29).
Campers on the other hand stay in camp. They attend to the condition of the camp. Do we have enough food? Check. How about water? Check. Comfortable place to sleep? Check. How about the bugs? You get the idea.
Campers might stroll out of camp, but never far. And never for the purpose of leaving it. The safety of the known is always within reach.
When we consider the trajectory of our lives, we can either be explorers or campers. We can rely on the structure of what we’ve already built to sustain us. Or, we can push our own comfort zone to set out to discover something we can bring back to benefit others.
In my next post, I’ll discuss some of the things we can do to get out of camp—out of our zone of comfort. In the meantime, share some of your own.
What are some of the things you’ve done to keep yourself on your toes as learner and explorer?