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:
I found three journals hidden away behind a stack of books in the bookcases in my home study. These were journals, none of them completed, that recorded the intents of a “writer’s life.” A writer’s life is a complicated condition that can best be explained as a writer living with the acts of writing—researching and thinking and reading and organizing concepts for the purpose of capturing it in some kind of lasting form—becoming the preeminent and dominating activity of his or her days.
I have attempted (and failed) to have a writer’s life all my life. I probably gave up on these journals when I decided that it, for me, was never going to happen.
One section actually records a schedule of what an ideal day from a writer’s life would be (I was taking a memoir writing class at the time—so my thoughts were being channeled in a “writerly” sort of way):
The best day for me is to rise early: [Hah! What has ever kept me from rising early?]
- Do morning pages
- Start coffee and do stretching exercises
- Give an hour to prayer and devotional reading
- Household straightening
- To the desk to write—three, four, five hours
- Exercise break after writing
- Afternoons for study, freelance projects, organizational tasks
- Evenings for reading.
I sigh just thinking about it! When have I ever achieved this schedule for anything longer than two consecutive days? (Real, dedicated and successfully published writers generally roll out of bed and right to their computers, not stopping for a bathroom break, or to brush their teeth, or to change their clothes, or to say hello to their families. Well, it seems this way from their biographies.)
Another entry catches more of what my days were like (still are, sad to say). This entry comes under the heading,“A mind too active is no mind at all.” —Theo. Roethke
This is a morning when my mind is jumbled by too many to-do’s. It’s like the kitchen catch-all drawer—rubber bands & old used batteries, coupons for pizza discounts, note paper with telephone messages & grocery lists, small flashlight bulbs & thermometers to grab for taking temperatures—so many things, so crowded that it’s impossible to find anything.
So yesterday, I did a little thinking about this journal and concluded that though I have never achieved a writer’s life, I have written—maybe not the best work I could have written had I not had so many interferences and responsibilities—but I have published 23 or so books (depending on how you count them), radio broadcasts and video scripts, plus all the uncounted content we’ve developed strictly for ministry products, products designed to help people grow. I needed to conclude that I would never be able to compartmentalize my writing life from my ministry life or from my just living life.
I simply needed to accept the richness of my being and reduce any activity that robbed me of the possibility to enter deeply, thoughtfully, and meaningfully into my days.
I made another list, this one catalogued all the writing projects for which I have done the initial brainstorming, reading and research and that have yet to be birthed:
- A novel tentatively titled Summer Lightning and set in Chicago during 1968.
- The “Speaker’s Circuit” series—about the years I spent on the road and the outrageous circumstances which every itinerant teacher faces. This to be co-written and possibly created for digital publishing.
- A children’s Christmas book sparked by the incident where one grandson, four years old, decided he was being mistreated and was going to run away to our house—some 20 minutes away.
- One more book in the Tales of the Kingdom trilogy, expanding it from three to four (and thus making it a quartet instead of a trilogy).
- A book about the listening-group process, tentatively titled Listen to Me! Listen Well.
- A treatment titled Lisa’s Strata, based on Euripides’ Greek play Lysistrata, in which the women of Athens refuse to have sex with their husbands until they give up going to war.
- “Our Table Is Always Set” (on the benefits and gifts of being hospitable).
- “A Tribute to the Men Who Have Loved Me: Brothers, Fathers, Colleagues, Friends”
Oh well, best get moving with all this—I turned 69 this January, after all—perhaps I’ll settle for a quasi-writer’s life and be happy with the best that is possible under these circumstances:
- An intimate and happy relationship with one engaging and intelligent husband
- Four adult children and four adult in-laws
- Eight grandchildren, soon to be nine
- A church we enjoy
- Work on an international board of directors
- Cultural activities
- Curious intellect
- People who often live with us
- House and office and yard
- An overseas microenterprise project we are nurturing along
All this—ALL THIS!—because I discovered three (incomplete) journals tucked away on a shelf in my home office.
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.