I was always on the lookout for something potentially harmful that might be coming my way, so that I might, if at all possible, avoid it. As a ducker, I eluded threatening challenges, avoided dangerous risk and let opportunities pass harmlessly by.
What if I tried—really gave it my all—and failed?
But in mid-life the Spirit began disturbing my spirit and began disrupting my “safe” approach to life. Then came a test. A crisis arose. Harmful things were clearly heading my way. This time, I didn’t duck. I followed the Spirit into danger, and suffered the harm I didn’t try to avoid.
Following the Spirit, I moved 800 miles and looked to make a new start. I confronted dangerous risk, faced threatening challenges, hunted for opportunities, and asked for God’s blessing.
And I failed. Over and over again.
I started out surveying my career options, but I ended up just looking for work. The work I found, I didn’t want. I sold insurance, stocked shelves, answered telephones, vended hot dogs, painted walls, washed windows, unloaded trucks, waited tables, and set up product displays. None of these things came close to meeting my new career goals, my job hopes or my prayerful expectations.
I’ve often questioned God in my perplexity, What am I doing here?
Recently, I saw a book title that stopped me in my tracks. Wild Goose Chase.
Mark Batterson’s book is about the spiritual adventure of pursuing the untamed Holy Spirit as He leads us into the mysterious unknown. The book’s title immediately transported me back to a conversation I had with a spiritual mentor of mine years earlier.
My friend was encouraging me to attend a workshop aimed at clarifying my calling. But I was hesitating. I didn’t want to experience the intense disappointment of another fruitless search. I felt the urge to duck. Before agreeing to attend, I told him, “I don’t want to go on another wild goose chase.”
Looking back on that conversation, I believe that’s exactly where God was leading me—on a Wild Goose chase. He was teaching me to pursue the Wild Goose–to follow the Holy Spirit–wherever He leads me. The Spirit is wild and unpredictable, often leading us to places we would never dream of going, frequently leading us right into danger and uncertainty.
I have been learning not to assume anything with the Spirit. I have been learning to be alert, attentive, sensitive, and receptive to the Spirit, always ready to chase the Wild Goose into the mystery of the future He has prepared for me.
I understand now that chasing the Wild Goose won’t always be comfortable. It won’t always make sense. But we can be confident that He knows where He’s taking us. And no matter where the Spirit leads us, as long as we are following Him, there’s no safer place for us to be.
Are you on a Wild Goose chase?