Fishing, hiking, hardcore camping. These vivid memories with my brother and Dad comprise most of my happier childhood moments. Awed by majestic mountains, rivers rife with spring run-off, and billions of twinkling nightlights—we fished, swam and sat around the campfire eating freeze-dried or river-caught meals, relishing the sights, sounds and textures of the untainted beauty around us. These were my peak wonder years.
As children, we are born with a God-inspired sense of wonder. But life lays down its cold, calculated hand, and we often throw down our best hands in exasperation. Slowly, cynicism seeps into our soul.
Harris III, author of the best-selling book, The Wonder Switch, says it well:
“Our wonder dimmed as we bumped into trauma, shame, cynicism, bitterness, self-limiting beliefs, and ultimately a cynical mindset telling us to “grow up”…But we don’t have to stay stuck there…Instead, we can grow. We can change.”
Devastating wonder and awe—two vital emotions not only for creativity and productivity but health, wellbeing, longevity and healthy relationships—cynicism leaves us incapacitated to discover our divine purpose.
But our Creator, Jesus, recognizes:
- Every cynic is brimming with slumbering belief.
- Every mystery is bursting with the miraculous.
- Every pain is full of possibility.
- Every soul has a divine destiny.
The architect of wonder, Jesus embodies its very nature. Embracing the fullness of its mystery, He inspired wonder everywhere He went.
“As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him,” Mark 9:15.
Jesus championed wonder and awe wherever He went, for He knew they play an essential role in discovery and destiny. He is also keenly aware of their enemies—distraction, cynicism, and the stories we tell ourselves.
Distraction is the enemy of destiny.
We can’t forget we have a cunning, strategic enemy luring us, through distraction, into deception.
The enemy will claim our conscience, then crucify it.
These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death, James 1:15.
The destination of distraction is ultimately death—of dreams, relationships and hope—becoming the breeding ground for compromise, outrage and cynicism.
Distractions don’t just ransack our time, killing creativity, productivity and joy, they plunder our wonder.
Ultimately, distractions are meant to derail the most important relationship: with Jesus.
So what are typical 21st-century distractions?
- Alcohol, food, relationships
Anything usurping Jesus’ place in our lives or numbing the pain of our present reality takes us farther from His truth.
Then lies and limiting beliefs arrest our thoughts—
- I can’t stop.
- I’m not worthy.
- I don’t have time.
- They have it better.
- I’ll never be enough.
- Someone else is already doing it.
However, God’s Word has the final say; it’s the truth our souls need to restore wonder, awe, perspective and hope.
I understand how hard it is. Unknowingly, I dove headfirst into the sea of distraction due to past and present pain; before I knew it, a coup was mounted leaving me captive to a new master covertly calling the shots—I was fearful, numb and deceived:
- Look good at any cost.
- Don’t let people in.
- Never show weakness.
“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein
Fear and numbing the pain through distraction plundered my wonder, and cynicism began its crafty work. But through counseling, soul-searching, and doing the work, Jesus showed me a better way. Working through my unresolved past and present pain, I was able to minimize distraction-seeking behavior and curtail cynicism, allowing me to rediscover my sense of curiosity and wonder. This set me on course towards a life of purpose with God.
Tobymac said it brilliantly in his song, Everything,
From the sparkle in her eyes to the starlit open skies, you bring my heart to life, fill me with wonder.
Becoming aware of the soul-swindlers hijacking our moments, days and even years is vital to reclaiming purpose, joy and wonder. So why not grab a journal, begin taking inventory of any undealt with past or present pain, and notice any negative thoughts or unnamed emotions stealing precious time, energy and joy. Be present in your present, and observe how you spend time over the next few days. You may be surprised. I sure was!
Information does not equal transformation. Dear one, this process is critical for rekindling wonder.
Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!” Luke 5:26
With renewed child-like curiosity, let’s look for the amazing things Jesus brings to each day, so we can be gripped with great wonder and awe!