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:
After two weeks of hospitality, new friends from the church invited for dinner, a young couple in ministry from Capetown, South Africa, and the Henry’s from Midland, Michigan, I experienced two “collapse days”—those icky hours when you drag aching around the house, see your schedule of to-do’s blasted by a physical ennui, waste hours watching videos because your mind is too tired to read or do anything productive, putz around—hang the guest-room sheets to dry on the line, for instance, drop into the office, run an errand for milk at Aldi’s—because you feel like you have to get something done so you can say to your husband (who’s not asking), “This is what I accomplished today.”
I wish I could remember when I am in the middle of a collapse day what I always remember after collapsing: My body is my best friend and when it feels like I’ve been going on a high-functioning roll too long with all the adrenals functioning full blast, it says, “OK. Enough. Now, I’m going to have to take you down. Your health is not going to allow for any more abuse—pushing and not stopping, few hours of sleep, over-stimulation blasting the brain neurons—I’m going to make sure you take care of yourself since you don’t seem to have learned how to do that yet.”
Why don’t I just go ahead and schedule in two quiet, non-productive days where I do nothing more but sleep and listen? My neurological system seems to require that I totally recalibrate the psychosomatic infrastructure of my being. Planning on it, scheduling it in as part of the calendar, seems to me to be a growth scheme in which I have not as yet achieved efficiency.
So yesterday, after two collapse days, I cooperated with this inner demand that I shift out of a frenetic pace and I recalibrated myself. I had a full day, but it was nothing I had to do, just everything I wanted to do. I turned on the fountain in the hidden patio by the front door and read my Bible and wrote in my journal. I read the next chapter in How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day; I noticed the chickadees (call: chee-chee che-che) had discovered the new feeder filled with sunflower seeds; I took a nap in the hammock; I ran to the resale shop and found more clay pots, two round carts with wheels for heavy garden pots and procured one free bag of bagels and one wheat grain bread (unsliced) for company coming.
I watered the garden, filled all the bottles I’ve saved, washed the labels off some, then filled them with water to stick in the dirt of the flower pots which dry out faster in hot weather such as we’re having in Chicago land. I remade the guest-room bed with the summer sheets that have that wondrous outdoor smell from drying in the sun on the clothesline. I finished a couple of articles that I only had to read partway, sitting on the glider I junked from someone’s roadside garbage pickup. I saw the red flash in the trees, pulled out my binoculars a son gave me for my birthday and sure enough—spotted a male scarlet tanager. Beside him was a red-headed woodpecker and a black and white and grey nuthatch climbing upside down along the bark of the next tree. Suddenly, I realized the little stand of wood beside our house was filled with unfamiliar bird song, so I abandoned any plans and sat in the grass with my bird-watching field guide and became enthralled with the swoop and soar of the feathers, wings and beaks in my own yard.
I hopped in the car, parked and with warning lights flashing, dashed to the pond with its encircling stands of tall grass. Here I clipped the brown beaded dock and the fat early cattails to add to the dried hydrangea heads and the allium spheres that are in the summer gnarled wood basket by the front door.
Explaining to David that I had clipped cattails on the way to pick him up from work, he said, “So you’ve had a happy day.” After 51 years of marriage, my husband knows me. Indeed, I had spent a blissful, happy day. After two days of collapse, my body had recalibrated itself and I eased out of the draggy, benumbed mental state that is a symptom of collapse absolutely loving all around me—amore mundi, love for the world—without a schedule to keep, without having to keep up my end of the conversation, with nothing to do but what I wanted to do.
Often, I am guilty of thinking that God is only interested in my “productive” activities. I am beginning to learn that He is the designer of the sinking, do-nothing, wasted/blasted days also. We need to learn to love the collapsing days because they do for us things we can’t possibly know. I just need to learn to calendar them in after two weeks of completely crazy (but productive) activity. In that useless quiet and physical languish, healthy things happen in my body and mind and soul that I will never know.
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.