Living with a Sense of Awe

“I think this is how we are supposed to be in this world – present and in awe.” – Anne Lamott

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

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

“The wiser you get, the more awe you feel with simple things.” – Maxime Lagacé

“That breath you just took….that’s a gift.” – Rob Bell

Our journey through life is filled with a plethora of emotions – generally dictated by our immediate circumstances or the current set of issues we face.  Some of us have been affected by a significant emotional event from our past – one that continues to dominate our thoughts and feelings even in the present moment.

It can seem quite normal for our emotional state to ebb and flow with the positive and negative events of life, but when you think about it; most people tend to possess a consistent attitude or a general emotional approach to their life overall – one that dominates a majority of their reactions or responses to the events or situations they encounter.

Each of us has met someone who lives their life with a general sense of fear or pessimism.  As well, I’m confident we have each encountered individuals who approach their life with optimism, hope, and adaptability for the most part.

How about you?  Do you find your emotions continually changing – dependant and driven by each positive or negative event of life?

If you had to identify a dominant emotion – one you generally carry with you through most of life’s experiences – which one would it be?

Lately, I have made a conscious effort to approach life with a sense of awe – focusing on the emotions that come with wonder, amazement, and admiration for the parts of our world we often take for granted or ignore.  I have found that if I simply take time each day to stand in awe of the miracles continually happening around me, I experience more peace and satisfaction, more contentment regardless of my circumstances, and a stronger God-awareness that’s essential to living a life filled with purpose and meaning.

Take a moment to think about how you woke up this morning.  Think about the neurological miracle associated with falling into a state of unconsciousness and awakening from that state.  What causes only a part of the brain to shut down while another part of it subconsciously continues to operate and monitor all the functions of our body necessary for sustaining our life while we sleep?

As you crawl out of bed and look out the window at the morning sky, think about the perfect rotation of the earth creating the synchronicity of day and night – never delayed by hours one day and only minutes the next, but arriving each morning on schedule.  That rotation, that turning of the earth that has been going on since the beginning of time, never speeds up or slows down.  As the millenniums pass, it just keeps rotating in perfect fashion.

As you look at the sun, think about how our world just happens to be a perfect distance from it – not too close to burn up or too far away from the warmth it provides.  What keeps the earth suspended in space at this perfect distance from the sun – perfectly orbiting and rotating in order to support and nurture life?

As you leave your bedroom greeting your family and children, think about the miracle associated with the emotion of love.  What is it that stirs these emotions and feelings within the human heart – causing you to fall in love with a spouse or be willing to die for your children and their well-being?  We each have a physical brain, heart, lungs, etc., yet the emotion of love is different, unique, and individual to each of us.

Think of the miracle associated with the birth of your children.  Think about the miracle of conception – the creation of a unique human being unlike any other on the face of the planet – a special human being the world has never seen or will never experience again.  Think of the billions of people born throughout history and not one of them is the same.   

Now, I just described the first few minutes of your day – from awakening, looking out the window, to greeting your family. Look at the amazing miracles surrounding you!  But too many of us (myself included) run right past them each morning, begrudgingly starting our day with dread and uncertainty instead of awe and wonder.

When we choose to be amazed, we begin to acknowledge God’s presence in this world – coming to the obvious conclusion that these miracles we witness or experience daily aren’t just a coincidence, driven by fate, or haphazard in their occurrence.  God, the Creator, controls and sustains His creation.  The same God who creates life within the womb, who holds the earth in perfect rotation, feeds the birds (Matthew 6:26) and knows when a single one falls to the ground (Matthew 10:29).  The God who forged the mountains and seas is the same God who knows you intimately – down to the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30) and the amount of tears you have cried through the years (Psalm 56:8).

Think of miracles vast in size and scope – happening around us in each moment of life.  Yet at the same time, God is involved in the smallest and most trivial details of each life He has created – even the lives of sparrows 🙂  When we pause and stand in reverence of this fact, we begin to realize how insignificant it is to hold a grudge against a friend, to worry about our checking account, or to waste the moments of life in regret or self-degradation.  We begin to realize there must be more to the story – more to this life than we can comprehend or understand.   

How can you begin to live with a greater sense of awe and wonder about your life?  What miracles are you ignoring or discounting?  Which ones have you written off as fate or simply take for granted?

As Thanksgiving approaches, think hard about your current emotional state and the feelings that drive your attitudes and behaviors in this life.  As you awaken tomorrow, make a conscious choice to stand amazed at all that surrounds you.  Stand in awe of the miracles you come face to face with throughout your day.  Look for God in each one – admiring His presence within the vast and large as well as the small and seemingly insignificant.  Embrace the peace and contentment that comes from living with a sense of awe 🙂

“O Lord my God, you have done many miracles for us.  Your plans for us are too numerous to list.  If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.” – Psalm 40:5 NLT

“Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.” – Isaiah 40: 26 and 28 NIV

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens – what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave – what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.” – Job 11: 7-9 NIV

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