Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Robert Emmons, an author and psychology professor at University of California Davis, wrote the book Thanks! How the Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Emmons insists there is more to cultivating a lifestyle of gratitude that just the power of positive thinking. “Gratitude,” he writes “is literally one of the few things that can measurably improve peoples’ lives.”
Emmons talks about research he conducted in 2007 that asked a group of organ-transplant patients to keep a daily journal. Part of the group recorded what they were grateful for; the other control group just listed the daily events of their recovery. The group that regularly listed their thanks scored significantly higher on measures of both physical and mental health.
This reminds me: Years ago I was convicted not to use my prayer journal as a record for only prayer requests, and I went on a six-month discipline where I only recorded thanks. I thanked God for everything—for blue skies and hard days, for my children when they were sweet and when they were cranky, for the small and large gifts of the days, for my husband when I loved him and also when he aggravated me. I thanked God for the things I took for granted—a roof over our heads, enough money to buy groceries, warm clothes and laughter in the family.
This exercise totally reconstructed my frame of living and pointed me in the direction of becoming a healthier and happier woman. It strikes me, however, that I could use a refresher course. So I’m going to take the month of December and just live in gratitude and appreciation. I’ll put a parenthesis in the normal architecture of my prayer journal work and give to God the exclusive gift of my thanksgiving.
Who knows what this will work in me at this stage of my life—I may even become a radiant old lady! According to Emmons, grateful people “feel more alert, alive, interested, enthusiastic,” and are also “less likely to experience envy, anger, resentment, regret and other unpleasant states that produce stress.”
Yep. I can use a dose of that medicine.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.