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Practicing Wonder Individually

Cultivating wonder starts with our individual attitudes and postures toward God, God’s world, God’s Word, and our neighbor. Here are some ideas for approaching all of these with wonder.

Approach God with wonder

Kids approach everything with wonder and a set of questions: Where are we going? Why are you doing that? What makes that work? As you go about your daily living, exercise this kind of childlike curiosity, and wonder to yourself and others about what God is up to in the world. Ask questions like these:

  • As I grow older, what am I learning about God’s character?
  • What does God want me/us to hear?
  • Where is God leading me/us?
  • How is God shaping me/us to be more like Jesus?

Approach God’s creation with wonder

In nature, many people experience awe and wonder and a strong connection with God. But it’s also easy to take the wonders all around us for granted. Here are some ways to reawaken your sense of wonder.

  • Take a strong magnifying glass with you on a walk through the woods. Stop often to take a closeup look at anything that catches your eye. If you’re into photography, experiment with macro photography. You’ll be amazed at what you see when you really stop to look.
  • Grow an edible plant from seed, documenting each stage of its growth with photos, sketches, or journal entries. When it’s ready to eat, plan a beautiful meal around it, savoring every bite and remembering all the care and work that went into its growth. Use this experience to increase your sense of gratitude for your “daily bread.”
  • Learn new things about God’s world by watching amazing documentaries like My Octopus Teacher, David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series, and others.

Approach God’s Word with wonder

  • Read the Bible as if you’re reading it for the very first time. Imagine yourself into the story. What would it be like to be there as an eyewitness? What would you see, hear, feel, touch, or taste? What might be the expression on Jesus’ face as he tells a story?
  • Pray through the psalms, especially those that express awe, reverence, and admiration for the work of God.
  • Try some other new ways to explore God’s Word.

Approach your neighbor with wonder

  • Take a deep and honest look at your habitual reaction when you see or meet strangers. Is your first impulse hospitality? Curiosity? Anxiety? Judgment? Invite the Holy Spirit to help you see every person you meet as a beloved child made in the image of God.
  • Develop your curiosity about what makes people tick, about what life experiences might have shaped them, about what invisible burdens they might be carrying. Ask questions to learn more.
  • If you and a loved one strongly disagree about a topic that’s important to you, have an open and honest conversation with the primary goal of understanding that person’s view, rather than seeking to be understood, as St. Francis of Assisi put it.