What ever happened to my sense of awe?
The alarm goes off. It’s waay too early and you groggily head for the kitchen and that pick-me-up cup of joe. The list of to do’s looks endless—and texts already clog your phone face. Your special someone yells from the bedroom, “Where’s my blue-stripe shirt? I put it in the laundry!”
Can this day have moments of wonder?
Nancy Stafford (yes, the recent speaker at the Global Media Summit) describes our heart cry in her book, Wonder of His Love: A Journey into the Heart of God. “I am starved for wonder. I yearn to shake off the mundane and crack open my jaded heart so God can fill it.” Nancy speaks for many (most) of us, when we are honest with ourselves and with our daily journey—the minutes that make up our day and the sometimes feel of slogging through the activities, the conversations, the meetings, the driving, the shopping and the minor irritations.
So we ask: How can we bring wonder back into our day?
Let’s pause, take a deep breath together, and check in on four ways that help us find moments of wonder.
First, admit we are starved. This means confessing to God that we feel a gap. Psalm 9:1 says, “ I will tell of all Thy wonders.” Almost all recovery programs begin with admitting there is a problem. This can be hard—but if we don’t, then we are not admitting we need to change. We see from Psalms that a sense of wonder, in this case of God, is part of a healthy spiritual life. So let’s admit that we want it, we don’t have it and we’re ready to roll in this area! This is step one.
Secondly, act on thankfulness. Before that phrase in Psalm 9:1 is an import precursor: “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart.” The poet Ralf Waldo Emerson phrased it this way. “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Emerson lived long before technology was part of daily life, but he hit the nail on the head.
The Today show reported on a recent study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine. The research found that people who were more thankful felt more connected to their surroundings, which provides the basis for the wonder we’re discussing. “They showed a better well-being, a less depressed mood, less fatigue and they slept better,” said the study’s author, Paul J. Mills. “When I am more grateful, I feel more connected with myself and with my environment.”
So we’ve heard the reminder to be thankful, but have we instituted a plan so it really happens on a daily basis? Why not keep a thankfulness journal—just a tiny wire-bound book will do—and keep one page a day for things that you are thankful for. You and I do it for calories—and this is way more important! Let’s do it!
Thirdly, pause to breath, look and listen regularly. Now that we’ve cued ourselves to keep a thankfulness track going, why not schedule five minutes three times a day—right next to that exercise or break, to just breath, look, listen. Advice in today’s hectic world often centers on pulling away from our phones (yes), computers (yes) and standing up (yes), and perhaps even stepping to a window or going outside. We know it’s all good advice. It’s moving from the mental to the actual. Again, a practical step of scheduling it can help. We might take the step of a check in our thankfulness journal when we took at least one break.
And then, number four: Make God’s love a focus and watch wonder grow! Nancy Stafford has a question in this area for us, again from her book, Wonder of His Love: A Journey into the Heart of God. “What difference would it make in your life if you spent the next month thinking about the love of God?” And she answers, “In some ways it would be like walking along the edge of a vast ocean, for it would take volumes and volumes to exhaust the subject of his great love for us…” This step is the step that keeps the wonder coming, within the little irritations and events of our lives. We feel loved, and we see more clearly the gifts all around us.
This is a start to bringing back the wonder—creating intention, setting the stage, and relying on the presence of God’s love. It’s a topic worth an ongoing conversation!
A final note. Some readers had a unique chance to engage with Nancy Stafford at the Global Media Summit in April 2018. Take her comments to heart. It just might change your everyday journey forever.
Jan Shober is a media analyst, blogger and Vice-president for Strategy for Finney Media, specializing in helping you create experiences that cause your audience to come back for more.
Jan began her media journey as a ten-year old with a neighborhood newspaper—and continued shadowing her love of words to work in radio. She spent time in South America working in international media and about twenty years with Focus on the Family first in creative for audio then in distributing media.
Her big reason for her work? Her life mission to help more people grow in Jesus. See more about Jan’s journey at: http://finneymedia.com/about/our-team/