Restoring a sense of wonder

Humans tend to get used to things around them. That can lead to taking good things for granted, including a relationship with God, marriage, friendships and other marvelous blessings. It is possible to restore a sense of wonder, as described in this excerpt from Discipling Muslim Background Believers (you do not have to be an MBB for this to apply to you): When Amazing Becomes Too Familiar, You Should …

When amazing becomes too familiar, tempting you to unbelief, remember and refocus.  I’ll elaborate in a bit, but first a story.  Sometimes I walk in a park that is home to a family of amazing red-tailed hawks.  I always stop and stare at them, completely amazed at how they fly and the way they relate to each other.  My two children and I will often take binoculars to the park to see the hawks a little better.

One day a person walking in the park asked us what we were looking at.  When we told him, he disappointedly said, “Oh, I see those every day.”  He turned and resumed his walk, oblivious to the majestic, breathtaking feats of flying that he had just ignored.  It was all a little too familiar for him.  There was no more amazement.  He had become so used to amazing that it held little or no value for him.

He had lost his focus on the birds’ ways and characteristics, and he could no longer really see them for what they were.  All he would have had to do to see again was to choose to remember what he used to see and value, use that as motivation to look again, refocus on the birds, and he would have been captured again by their majesty, elegance, power and beauty.

How many times do we take things for granted, including God, the Bible, Christianity, our lives, spouses, family friends, jobs and other things?  The tragedy is that the solution is so simple.  We just have to choose to remember and re-focus.  It may in some situations require some repentance (see What Is Repentance?), but then all we have to do is to remember and refocus.

In a way, that is what the Israelites of old did in setting up stones of remembrance.  They purposely choose to remember (see 2.16.6 Making, Marking and Celebrating Memories).  It would not hurt us to do the same – to purposely remember.  Being thankful also helps us not take things for granted. [Parentheticals contain hyperlinks in electronic versions]

Keywords: discipleship, restoring wonder

One Comment on “Restoring a sense of wonder

  1. It often seems to me that we slowly drift into seeing our relationship with God as just one part of our overall reality, one part of life in the big world around us. We drift into losing sight of the big picture: that the “big” world around us is small, a little piece of time and space in the huge reality of eternity and our Creator who lives in and, miraculously, invites us to spends that eternity with Him.

    So we end up focused on this small world, even while the deep parts of ourselves are rather disappointed, and wishing to experience a bigger one.

    I suppose the man who said he saw the birds every day didn’t see anything relevant about the birds that would alter his perception of his current daily reality, but the fact that he stopped to ask what the others were looking at suggests that he was very open to encountering something that would alter his perception of his current daily reality.

    Maybe we don’t lose our sense of wonder … maybe we learn to turn away from it when we learn, through harsh experiences, how painful the consequences of disregarding the small world can be.

    And yet the deep parts of ourselves remain disappointed and dissatisfied with the small world, and yearning for a bigger one. 🙂

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