The tempo of her tiny feet steadily grew as we got closer and closer to the beach. Once she leaped off the wooden bridge, she collapsed onto her hands and knees and began to dig into the sand. The look on her face and her absolute joyful abandon cascaded over me. It is effortless to be ambushed by awe with my granddaughter. A three-year-old sees the world through a lens of wonder, and I love to share the view.
Awe and wonder boost well-being.
“Awe is awfully beneficial… Now they believe awe offers a range of benefits when practiced regularly, calming our nervous systems and relieving stress.”Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR News.
Calming my nervous system is a beautiful remedy for anxiety plaguing so many of us over the last few years. What would it look like to nourish awe daily?
It begins with curiosity and taking time to notice what is before me.
- walking barefoot in the sand or on a freshly mowed lawn
- watching the waves crash onto a beach
- forest bathing– walking in the woods
- observing the height and width of the trees, mountains, rock formations, waterfalls
- listening to creation- turn off any electronics so you can hear the bird’s song, the insect’s buzz, and the wind blowing
In the second half of Psalm 118 (see my previous post to learn all about the first half https://antheakotlan.com/2022/04/27/where-do-i-look-for-certainty-in-difficult-times/ ), the psalmist points to opportunities to cultivate awe in my everyday life. God places wonder before me every single day.
How often do I miss it?
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. Psalm 118:19-21 ESV
Jesus is my key card access into God’s presence. He paid the debt I owed, so I have the freedom to come close to God. May I never grow weary of giving thanks for this!
22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 ESV
Jesus is my foundation. He stands by me and gives me strength in all situations. When was the last time I marveled at Jesus’ provision for me? He is not only the one who provides me with all I need. But, he does it marvelously, in an extraordinary manner.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. Psalm 118:24-26 ESV
The Lord makes my days, and each one is a personalized gift. Why would I take a single minute for granted? And yet I do. Does it mean that every single day I live will be perfect? Nope, they will each have moments of pain and celebration. How often am I entirely too focused on the disappointments and not the joyful surprises?
God’s mercies are new every morning and announced with spectacular sunrises. At the end of the day, a sunset displays God’s majesty. I have 365 days every year to rejoice in.
The Lord provides any success in my life. I could work hard all the days of my life and end up with nothing that lasts without the Lord.
God blesses me in more ways than I can count. How can I possibly bless the Lord (vs 26)? We are to bless the Lord with our thanksgiving and praise. In moments of praise and worship, I often find awe and wonder. Blessing God blesses us.
27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:27-29 ESV
In the darkest times of uncertainty, Jesus lights my way. God illuminates the way He wants me to go. Darkness, chaos, and confusion signal the work of the enemy of our souls. In those moments in the dark, I need to look up and seek Him.
The Lord encourages us to feast and celebrate because it is good for us and honors Him. Times of joyful remembrance, events showcasing God’s gifts, and covenantal ceremonies give me an opportunity for awe and wonder. Wow, look what God has done!
The next time you are at a wedding and witness the covenant before you, take a moment to be in awe. God is starting a new family to live for His glory. As a wedding guest, you are there on day one of this new adventure.
Finally, going back to the beach scene with my granddaughter, seeing the world from a toddler’s perspective, teaches me about awe and wonder again. She notices so much I can miss. Her eyes and heart are wide open to see and feel the wonders of God’s creation. I may have quite a bit to learn from her.
Lord, thank you for making all my days. Today is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it because it is good for me and honors you. Please open my eyes to see the awe and wonder You display on all of my days.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.