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 every day occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
It has taken a lifetime for me to learn to leave well.
Going on a journey, preparing for a five-day trip, getting ready to take a vacation, heading off for the weekend—any of these are cause for disruption in my equanimity.
Suddenly, it seems as though there is so much to do to get ready to go. Part of this has something to do with the house I want to return to. I want it clean and welcoming. I want the beds made, the laundry done, the work for the ministry caught up. I don’t want to return to face small or large disasters.
So, weird things kick in psychologically before I go. Who cares if the car is vaccumed out, the garage put in order, the garden beds raked?—this is all work that is not crucial—it will wait. Suddenly, when getting ready to leave, I care. I care that I haven’t gotten to the tasks that I’ve neglected to do for days or weeks or months. A frantic-getting-ready-to-leave bunny out of Alice in Wonderland begins to chant, “I’m late. I’m late. For a very important date.” In my case, the very important date is everything in my life that has been left undone—all of which I suddenly see when I’m getting ready to leave home.
A few rules have helped me with this sudden dislocation of priorities.
1. I ask myself the question, “Is this really germane, is it really important to the
process of my leaving?”
If it’s not really important, it can wait—the dirty laundry, the car, the garden, the garage—until I get home, at which time I will promptly forget how urgent it was to get it all done.
2. Then, I work to get everything in the office and house done by late afternoon
before the morning that I leave.
This gives me a whole evening to pack, to go over my notes, to pack my traveling office bag that holds the computer or the papers I want to take with me—and then to also get a good night’s sleep.
Leaving well. I often wonder if the frantic effort that besets me has anything to do with the end of life when I will leave permanently. Maybe this last-minute boost before trips is an acting out, a foreshadowing of an inner desire to leave this life well, to not have regrets (if I have time to consider my life when it does end) that I have not done more to put things in order—in the relational world as well as in the material world.
If so, then I have some work to do—to make the final departure a good departure—not fraught with those anxious examinations, i.e., “Why didn’t I…?” “Why didn’t I…?”
Lord, help me to learn to leave well,
all those little journeys along with my
final departure. Teach me what is necessary
to finish—and what doesn’t matter if I
leave it undone. Help all my departures
to be conducted in peace.
I am improving. For this last journey everything was done that needed to get done. I was packed the evening before our morning departure. Work that staff couldn’t do until I do my part had been completed. The house was in order for a pleasant return. I only forgot my makeup base, a half-slip (I usually forget something crucial). So, we are doing better. I am learning. (I didn’t start on the messy garage.)
May the end of my days be filled with a similar equanimity, these little practice leavings will have helped me to ready myself for the final one.
In helping me to leave well, 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.