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:
Since we were home the whole month of December, since it was a Mains family Christmas year (our kids spend the even-numbered years with their in-laws), since this was the first time in nine years when I hadn’t been planning and leading the annual Advent Retreat of Silence, I decided to decorate the house from top to bottom.
Now there is some reason to this madness; I’ve spent the entire year knowing that both my parents died at age 69, which I will turn in January 2012. This is not a morbid consideration for me—I feel prepared to die and don’t fear it (a sign on my household desk reads, “I don’t fear tomorrow. I have seen yesterday and I love today”). It’s more a matter of wondering what my parents would have done differently (what would anyone do differently) if they knew they had only one more year to live.
I do not want to leave behind a mess that my family has to spend weeks wading through in order to settle the estate (such as it is). So, part of my decision to decorate from top to bottom is one that entails a process of purging, reorganizing and relabeling.
“I can’t believe you’re cleaning your attic during the weeks leading up to Christmas,” said a friend. Since I had already organized it three summers back, the task is not so monumental as it sounds. But, I’ve also discovered a lovely secret to tackling onerous tasks. The secret is this: You must learn to love the work.
Do I love filling the house with Christmas beauty, or don’t I? I love it.
Do I love having organized drawers, closets and attics, or not? I love it.
Do I love getting rid of extra strings of lights we no longer use, the old tree that has been in the box unused since 2004 (I always put the date on the label so I know if I am using whatever is in those green and red plastic storage bins)? Yes, I really love ridding the attic of extra boxes.
This year, in case of early forgetfulness setting in, or in case of my children having to sort through the attic, I thought I’d even put together a clipboard explaining that the attic is divided into four seasons: Summer is on the immediate right-hand side, Winter is on the immediate left-hand side, Spring is on the middle right-hand side, and Fall is behind that.
Down the middle of the attic are canning supplies, picnic hampers and fans. I do have one woebegone corner to the far-left back, but I’ll tackle that when the weather warms again.
The strange thing about doing what you do out of love is that everything changes. I’ve put Christmas music on the CD player and listened to the joyful melodies of well-loved hymns. A friend and I had a baking morning together, laughing and sharing recipe secrets. As I’ve decorated, I’ve repaired along the way. The hinge on my sewing box, for instance, had come unscrewed. I found those small screwdrivers with the quarter-inch heads and fixed the brass hinge to the wooden back. I moved the button and clasp on a too-small waistline.
Moreover, because I am choosing to love what I do, I am blissfully happy. An aesthetic being with a demanding eye, I am deeply and sweetly pleasured by harmony of line, by balance of forms, and in this pleasure, I experience God’s love and approval.
Don’t ask me why—I don’t really know. But choosing to love the work this season leading up to Christmas, tearing apart the attic, decorating every room in the house (I think I may pick up one of those small wreaths and fix it to the front of the car), I feel His pleasure. This may be one of the best Christmases ever!
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.