Duck, Duck, Goose

WILD_GOOSEAt a very early age I learned that life is always throwing something at you, so you’d better learn to duck.

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?

11 thoughts on “Duck, Duck, Goose

  1. I love the honesty of this post, Dave — and the hope woven through it too, even as you admit that life hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to. I love how you always, always, always bring your posts back around to God. “But God …”
    It’s as if your pen is a homing device, set on faith … You’ll write of a struggle or a disappointment or a question you’re wrestling with, and you’ll always end with, “But here’s where I found God in the midst of all this.”
    It’s one of the reasons I read your blog: You help me stay focused on God.

    • Well, my goodness, thank you for taking the time to share all of that. The pen is a homing device. I like that. You know, everything I write about I have to first receive from God and actively embrace through faith. I can’t share with others what I don’t believe. Sometimes there’s a struggle in the post process and I have to ask myself, “Am I really believing this right now?” I’m glad that this vehicle helps you stay focused upon God because writing and then meditating with you on the truth helps me greatly, too 🙂

  2. Dave, I love this post. I hadn’t thought about it, but I’m a ducker too, by nature. God is showing me, though, that to truly know Him and to walk on the paths He has for me, I’m going to have to be willing to follow with my head up, not ducking down. I can’t avoid the pain in this life (at least, not for very long), but I can embrace Him in the midst of it.

    And I agree with Beth. I LOVE how you always bring your posts back around to God. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jeanne, for your good encouragement! You’re right that life’s not about avoiding pain, but embracing God in the midst of the struggle and the pain. Here’s to following God with our heads up 🙂 I love that line.

  3. I sure have missed your blog, Dave. I’ve been on a wild goose chase. 🙂

    I’m happy to be back and reading this one in particular. I went to lunch with friends yesterday and one of them gave each of us the gift of a keychain with a quote on it. Mine said, “All who wander are not lost.” It’s always been one of my favorite sayings because I’ve wandered a lot. Your post made me feel especially empowered to stop wandering aimlessly and take on some tough tasks that I think God saved just for me (and yes, I am very afraid).

    • Welcome back! Thanks to the mysterious leading of the sovereign Spirit, some of us who wander are not really lost, but under divine direction. I am so encouraged that you’ve been led to take on those tough tasks that have been appointed just for you. Be of good courage, Kim, and take on this work in your gifting and in His strength.

      • I like the phrase “divine direction,” Dave. I have to admit, though, I’d like it a whole lot better if God and I agreed on the direction part, but I happen to know he knows best so here we go.

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