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How to Cultivate a Regular Sense of Wonder

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“The sky is purple! Why are you just sitting there?!”

Last night I was reading on the couch when my husband came running into the living room proclaiming excitedly the color of the sky.

I’ve always been a bit envious of his easy ability to find wonder in the most mundane things.

His wonderment was contagious though as I abandoned my book on the coffee table and followed him with bare feet into the front yard.

I quickly discovered that the sky was, in fact, purple — casting a lavender hue over everything it touched.

So there we stood, two young kids again in our pajamas and bare feet gazing enchantedly at a purple sky.

Within minutes, the lavender twilight turned to deep blue and I could’ve all but missed it if I hadn’t abandoned my routine to chase the wonder waiting for me outside the front door.

The words of Sally Clarkson come to me now in a whisper,

“Own your sense of wonder, and the unseen blessings of your life will always bring you a secret delight.”

What secret delights does God tuck within a moment that we all but miss because we’re hell-bent on sticking to a routine?

What if we chose to commit ourselves to seeking wonder instead?

It might just be waiting for us if we would dare to break the rules.

Chasing Wonder in the Mundane 

If you’re anything like me though, breaking the rules is a lot easier said than done. Slipping in and out of routines is not my specialty, friend, and I can plainly tell you that I am a creature of habit. 

My mind naturally bends toward perfectionistic, routine ways, but in this season of my life, I’m finding that my soul is craving to break free. 

Maybe you can relate. Maybe the mundane is beginning to feel a little bit too… mundane; boring, lackluster, dull. Maybe your routines are starting to feel like chains suffocating you rather than anchors, holding you steady. 

Well, I can tell you that as I stared at that purple sky and allowed its lavender hue to settle in around me, there was nothing lackluster about it. 

In that seemingly simple, short moment, time stopped and I was enraptured by the beauty of a God-painted sky. But I must admit, those wonder-filled moments are far and in between if I’m not intentionally chasing them down. 

Beholding God is an invitation to behold the unseen blessings and secret delights that He plants throughout our lives – harvesting them as a way to commune deeper with Christ. 

Those moments may look like a night sky canvas, or the early morning quiet. Maybe for you, it’s the smell of coffee drifting upstairs as you wake from sleep, or an “I love you, mom” from one of your kiddos. 

It’s amazing the wonder we’ll find if we are just attuned to its presence. 

So, how exactly are we supposed to do that? Attune ourselves to the presence of wonder? 

That’s what I would like to explore today if you’d join me, friend. Maybe along the way, we can learn to behold more of God’s presence in the form of secret delights and unseen blessings. 

Defining Wonder 

I believe the first step towards cultivating a regular sense of wonder in our lives is defining what wonder is. 

I  mentioned earlier that the feeling of wonder is different for each person, and can be as simple as stopping to catch the beauty of a peony bush as you take your morning walk. 

But I really love the way writer and editor, Rae Oliver describes what wonder actually is. She says,

“A sense of wonder is a feeling of child-like delight, amazement, and admiration at the natural state of the world. It refers to that feeling of grateful awe in the smaller things in life. It drives that natural feeling of wanting to know more about the world around you, like a young child with a curious mind. Wonder gives you a positive feeling and makes you pause in appreciation for those things like nature that are greater than you are.”

I love the ending of that definition, “Wonder… makes you pause in appreciation for those things like nature that are greater than you are.”

Wonderment and beholding go hand in hand, as we seek – like children – to be enraptured by God’s details in the simplest of things in our everyday, mundane lives. 

Cultivating a regular sense of wonder begins with understanding what it looks like so we can intentionally grasp for it throughout each day. 

How to Cultivate a Regular Sense of Wonder

Now that we have a better idea of what wonder is, I want to share with you four things that I believe would help us cultivate a regular sense of wonder in our everyday, mundane lives. 

1. Become like a child

Rae Oliver describes wonder as a “child-like delight”. And I can attest that my husband’s reaction to the lavender sky fit that description. If he hadn’t come running like a child filled with wonder to tell me about the night sky, I probably wouldn’t have ventured out with him. 

In fact, the Bible tells us to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked,

“Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-3, NIV)

I don’t think becoming like a child means that we lower our maturity levels. I think it means that we allow the Holy Spirit to chip away at the walls we sometimes build as adults. Walls formed by years of resilience and life that block our view and make us a little hard-hearted. 

I think becoming like a child means blindly trusting God in all things; in His leading, His refining, His transforming, and even in His giving. 

I wholeheartedly believe that the Lord leaves traces of His glory in the blessings He wants to give us each day, and I believe that we were created to receive those blessings. 

Cultivating a regular sense of wonder begins with humbling ourselves, surrendering our hearts, and entering into child-like wonderment. 

2. Loosen the reigns on routine

I believe the second thing we must do in order to cultivate a regular sense of wonder is to let go and loosen the reigns on our routines. 

Now, listen, here. I shared earlier that I am a creature of habit! I totally believe that routines can be life-giving and help us create a sense of structure and responsibility in our lives. Honestly, I struggle to get outside of my routines, and don’t even get me started on the topic of change! I might just break out in hives. 

But in all seriousness, getting outside of my routine when my husband invited me to stare in wonder with him at the sky was a moment I would’ve missed if I had remained stuck to what I was already comfortable with. 

Sometimes, the Lord calls us to step out and get a little uncomfortable because He knows there’s a lavender sky waiting on the other side. 

I guess what I’m really trying to say, is that allowing ourselves to remain flexible and fluid to where the Holy Spirit may want to lead us is essential to cultivating a regular sense of wonder. I’ve been reading the book of Ruth recently, and I’ve noticed that it’s filled with all sorts of transitions and changes. 

The book of Ruth begins with a woman named Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons venturing out of Israel to Moab due to a severe famine. While they’re there, the two sons meet and marry two Moabite women named Ruth and Orpah. 

Years go by and then suddenly Naomi loses her husband and her two sons, meaning that all three of the women have been tragically widowed. With nothing and no one left, Naomi decides to return to her hometown of Bethlehem. 

Pierced with bitterness and sorrow, naturally so, Naomi urges her daughters-in-law to remain in their home country and return to their families. Orpah eventually decides to leave and do as Naomi says, but Ruth remains. 

Actually, she doesn’t just remain, she insists on going back with Naomi,

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” (Ruth 1:16-18, NIV)

How much easier it would’ve been for Ruth to just be like Orpah and return to what she knew, what she was comfortable with. Instead, she was willing to trust the Lord – to make Him her God – and follow wherever He led her and Naomi. 

Ruth’s steadfast loyalty, and her desire to follow God’s leading no matter how uncomfortable it might be, led to her being one of the few women named in the lineage of Jesus. 

Having the same attitude as Ruth by listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives will help us get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Breaking routine and saying, “where you go, I’ll go, Lord” is essential to cultivating a regular sense of wonder. 

3. Develop a regular practice of reflection

A third way to cultivate a regular sense of wonder is to develop a regular practice of reflection. Reflection is the act of looking behind us as a way to propel us forward. The practice of reflection is a tool that helps us discover a plethora of what lies beneath the surface of our souls and our lives. 

Reflection helps us to slow down, notice God’s faithfulness, and behold His presence with us in the everyday. 

Developing a regular practice of reflection helps us cultivate a sense of wonder because it calls us to look back on how we saw God move or speak. Maybe a regular practice of reflection for you looks like writing down a list of things at the end of the day that cultivated wonder within you. 

One way that I personally practice reflection is by keeping what I call a Beholding Journal. It’s where I ask myself these three reflection questions at the end of each day as a way to look back and behold God:

  1. Where did I notice God’s presence with me today?
  2. How did I hear God speak? 
  3. What did I carry with me today and what do I need to release?

By asking myself these three questions, I’m cultivating a sense of wonder because I’m intentionally looking for how God’s presence touched my day. And I’m convinced that when we begin to look for God’s presence within all things, we’ll find Him within all things, therefore cultivating a regular sense of wonder. 

If you want to read more about how to keep a Beholding Journal, check out this blog post here

4. Make your relationship with God a priority

The fourth and final thing that we can do to cultivate a regular sense of wonder – and in my opinion, the most important thing – is to make our relationship with God a priority. Our earthly relationships must be tended to by spending time with one another and listening to each other, and our relationship with God is much the same!

God desires to have a relationship with each of us. He didn’t send His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins so that we could spend the rest of our lives alone and on our own terms. He came so that we could be free; so that we could live in His love. 

Revelation 3:20 shows us God’s heart for relationship by saying,

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (NIV) 

God stands at the doors of our hearts and knocks gently. Not forcefully; He doesn’t come rushing in with guilt and shame, demanding He take up presence in our lives. No, He wants to be invited in. 

He wants to be wanted just as He so unconditionally wants and loves us.

Christianity is not rooted in religion, it’s rooted in relationship with Jesus. That’s the whole point of his painful, agonizing death. He tore the veil that separated God from humanity so that we could walk with His Spirit every single day. 

Tending to our relationship with God by spending daily, intentional time with Him, in His Word, practicing His presence, and familiarizing ourselves with the sound of His voice will ultimately cultivate a regular sense of wonder. 

In Him, all things were created, and all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17). He is the creator of all that we find wonder in, so why would we look anywhere else but to Him to cultivate that regular sense of wonder?

As you attune yourself to the movements of the Spirit, He will begin to open your eyes to joy and wonderment in places that you may have been overlooking. 

If you’re wanting to prioritize time with God but you’re not sure where to begin, I wrote a blog post titled, “A Complete Guide to Creating a Quiet Time Routine” and you can check it out here

Lavender Skies 

Albert Einstein was once quoted saying,

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” 

This stance on wonder coming from one of the most famous physicists to ever walk the earth reiterates how powerfully cultivating a regular sense of wonder can impact our lives.

Wonder opens our eyes. 

It opens our eyes to lavender skies and all the secret, yet delightful, ways God chooses to make Himself known to us. Without wonderment, I don’t think beholding God in the everyday mundane is even possible. 

That’s why I pray that we could each walk away today with the desire to be unraveled by the wonder and awe of God. Friend, we can find Him anywhere and in all things; like a cup of really good coffee or a kind smile from a stranger in the grocery store. 

God and everything about Him – His peace, love, joy, wisdom, faithfulness, and goodness – are limitless. And that’s why you’ll never be short of finding your own kind of lavender sky. 

I’ll leave you with the sacred words of David from Psalm 139:7-10,

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (NIV)