Alaskan Wilderness Guide and Former U.S. Navy Seal Officer is Living On Purpose at the Speed of Life [INTERVIEW]
Brian Heaphy is a former U.S. Navy SEAL Officer, Federal Officer, and Wilderness Guide who now makes his home in Alaska's remote upper Yukon River Valley.
While practicing a subsistence lifestyle, he photographs God’s Creation and writes about “Living on Purpose At the Speed of Life,” in his book, Crystal Vision. Brian’s work is featured by front-line Christian publications and ministries nationwide and is available for Internet viewing and sales at www.brianheaphy.com
Brian Heaphy Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009717390891
A mutual author friend introduced Brian Heaphy to me and said that he would make a great inspirational guest on Shaped by Faith. She was right! Brian’s photographs of the Alaskan landscape are breath taking. God’s creation! He also photographs wildlife, including a few bears!
I thought you might enjoy reading our Q & A Session!
In your book, “Crystal Vision,” you talk about adopting a “process of elimination lifestyle.” What kinds of things did you feel like you needed to eliminate from your life?
Things that did not honor God, further His purposes, or make a lasting difference for anyone from an eternal point of view. Things that, in the long run, would only prove to be a waste of time and resources when considering the brevity of life and the Great Commission.
You accomplished a great deal early in your life, but you write that you found no satisfaction in many of those accomplishments. Why is that?
Their end was “me” and not God or His glory. I was working for myself and not for Him—and so there was no eternal/lasting value to what I was doing. It was all unremarkable from an eternal point of view— “meaningless” and a “chasing after the wind” as the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes put it.
How does living “in the middle of nowhere” give your life meaning?
It does not give my life meaning—but, rather, it affords me an environment where I can meditate and form uninterrupted thoughts that point me to God’s meaning for my life. By God’s grace, these realizations ground me in the Truth, daily--and they enable me to plan my pursuits accordingly. Scripture clearly supports “get-aways”—but never supports or encourages “stay-aways.” God does allow us time and circumstances that are fertile for drawing nearer to Him for the purpose of revealing His character more fully to us so that we may be better equipped to return to society, family, and friends in order to advance His purposes and offer His solutions to others based upon our understanding of His will and His commands. God calls us to be part of His solution for humanity—not to be separated from it.
It is also valuable from time to time to be placed in a set of circumstances where we realize/are reminded that we must depend entirely upon God for His provision and protection.
What can somebody who is not willing to live in the wilderness gain from the lessons you have learned there?
The lessons that I’ve learned as the result of my lifestyle and of the prolonged periods of time that I’ve spent out in the country, largely form the story line of my book. In a sense, I’ve done the “heavy lifting” so that others don’t have to and, instead, can simply read my narratives concerning how my experiences have validated the inestimable value of God’s wisdom and prescriptions for wise living as they are found in the Bible.
The most powerful life is the most simple, devoted, and undistracted life.
Total or absolute “reduction”
Again, there’s no such thing as a “dream life” or being “independent” for the true believer—regardless of your “freedoms” or geographic location. God’s children are born again into sacrificial service.
The greatest lessons that have resulted from my times alone out in the country: forgiveness, sensitivity to sin, and mis-placed affections.
It is very instructive to find yourself in a set of circumstances or environment that confronts you with the realization of who you really are when no one else is looking. It’s a hard lesson and it reveals just how “real” or “unreal” your faith truly is. It also drives home the point that the ground is indeed level at the foot of the cross. For there is no criminal half has bad as we could choose to be apart from God’s grace.
Likewise, the lesson is driven home that satisfaction comes from disciplining oneself to “do whatever your hand finds to do with all of your might” and to do “all things to the glory of God”—even when no one else is looking or will ever observe the fruits of your labor.
The Bible is the only authoritative word of God. And Jesus Christ is the only Savior for man and the only way to the Father.
When experience circumstances where you find yourself entirely dependent on God→ drives home the point of the brevity of life and the urgency for getting right with God → “the day of salvation is now.”
The law of opposition” // “All of Creation Groans” Proverbs 23:23 (KJV)→ “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also, wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”
What has living in Alaska taught you about preparation? How do those lessons apply spiritually?
Little mistakes can grow rapidly into disabling ones—and this is the same for “little” sins…… Stay ready/prepared to ward off sin—don’t get ready, STAY ready. // . the law of opposition, and “smooth is fast” and “you can’t miss fast enough” ….
Falling into sin is most often a “slow leak” vs. a “blowout”
What is the most satisfying thing about your life today?
By God’s grace, there are a lot of such things to choose from, -but I think that, hands down, the most satisfying thing is to know with all confidence that I have something of currency to offer anyone at any time in the form of my book and my God-honoring work that points people to God’s plan of salvation. To be able to offer people something of eternal value is the greatest ability that anyone can ever hope to achieve and maintain according to God’s commands and His kingdom purposes in this world. Hand in hand with this goes the satisfaction of living a life that makes the Gospel both believable and understandable.