Four Ways You Can Create a Life of Awe and Wonder

Have you ever sat in wonder at a full moon in the midnight sky? Have you ever had an experience of awe that left you speechless, humbled, inspired?

 

In 1989, I was a student travelling in Vienna with my professor. It was December and it was bitterly cold. Covered in every layer we could find from our small suitcases, we drifted in and out of the stalls at the Christmas Market, marveling at the beautiful treasures and ornaments that surrounded us. The smell of roasted chestnuts meandered up and down the winsome streets.

 

Every once in a while, we would stop in a café, to get a coffee and warm our hands as best we could. The cathedrals, museums, operas were mesmerizing in their ability to captivate and enliven the unguarded and welcoming souls.

 

Early Sunday morning, after we savored our rolls and sipped our chocolate, we walked to a nearby cathedral. A small cathedral – not the majestic St. Stephen’s Cathedral. No, this one was situated in the shadows of St. Stephens. Few tourists. Mostly locals.

 

It had a cavernous and regal beauty. Stone walls, stone pews, stone altar. The stained glass windows balanced with their brilliance, the severe, dull edges that surrounded us.

 

As we entered, and found a vacant seat, I noticed that it was no warmer inside this building than it was on the street. I could see my breath. There was no heat and yet, the mass was completely packed.

 

The music, a Schubert mass, was billowing from the orchestra in the balcony overhead. It was tender. It was powerful. Serene. Majestic. Holy.

 

The priests filed in, waving incense, back and forth, as they offered the liturgy in Latin.

 

I am a born and bred Southern Baptist at heart, now a hand-raising, worship-loving non-denominational girl. But in that moment, as I sat shivering in my stone pew, listening to a language I did not know, listening to this music descend as if from heaven and color every wall and soul with joy and anguish, with wonder and reverence, tears began to stream down my face.

 

Something happened. I was captured by awe. I saw God. I felt Him. I was moved by Him. It was a supernatural gift that drew me closer to Him. That moment cemented my fierce and desperate need for Him.

 

Moments of awe and wonder don’t always come in large, dramatic ways. We can be undone by the miracle of holding a newborn baby, of wandering aimlessly through a meadow, of becoming lost in the beauty of an ocean sunset.

 

We were not meant to merely exist in the mundane. Scriptures states that creation sings His praise. (Rev 19:1-8, ESV)  We were meant to experience. We were meant to thrive. To drink it all in. To capture moments of the Divine within the dull and ordinary moments of the day. To embrace the gift of being touched by God.

 

Isn’t that what awe is?

 

There are four ways we can create a life of awe and wonder.

 

Look up.

 

We spend our days being distracted, pre-occupied. We are attached to gadgets and tend to see only that which is on a screen. We are so busy with what’s right in front of us, that we miss the wonder of what’s on display all around us.

 

Sometimes I wonder how much of life we actually miss because we are looking down? Busy with work. Consumed with our children. Content to be filled by a game, a television show, or perhaps a conversation with someone we may or may not know on Facebook.

 

Put the gadgets down. Look up. Soak it all in. Enjoy the moment that God created just for you. Be mesmerized by it. Delight in it.

 

Listen.

 

We hear, but are we really listening? We move through our days, chained to deadlines, dragged along by duties. Life becomes mere white noise, a soundtrack of mere nothingness.

 

Stop. Actually turn on your ears. Lean in. Listen for the sounds around you. Listen for the music of life that anchors us, connects us to something human, perhaps something divine.

 

Feel.

 

We have become masters at distance. We are well-versed in the skill of subtle disconnect. We keep ourselves safe from being too close. From being hurt. Bruised. As long as everything stays in its place and is ordered just the way we like it, we are okay.

 

Reach out. Touch what is around you. Actually feel it. Feel the textures and shapes. Feel the coolness of the grass between your toes as you run barefoot through your backyard. Feel the softness of a newborn baby’s skin as you caress their tiny cheeks and ears and finger and toes. Feel the rhythms of your favorite music reverberate against your soul. Feel it wash over you. Feel it move you deep inside you. Allow yourself to be undone. Linger. Memorize. Rejoice.

 

Believe.

 

We want to reduce the heavens to something small, contained, observable. We want to dismiss God as unscientific, as outdated, unsophisticated. We long to relegate the divine to a corner in the basement, where we don’t have to be bothered with things that could shake the foundation of our existence.

 

If you want to experience a life of awe and wonder, spread your arms open wide and believe. Believe in the majesty of a God who painted every flower and field with watercolor perfection. Who designed the human body with such precision and brilliance, that science cannot even fully fathom. Who created a way for us broken, condemned, shameful sinners to be reconciled to Him through Jesus’ compassionate cross.

 

Dance into all that is unknown and believe. Open your heart. Celebrate. Give thanks.

 

'Dance into all that is unknown and believe. Open your heart. Celebrate. Give thanks.'Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

Moments of awe and wonder catch us unaware. They capture us. They connect us to God. They unite us together with humanity.

 

Moments of awe and wonder catch us unaware. They capture us. They connect us to God. They unite us together with humanity.Click To Tweet

 

Be moved today. Be inspired.

 

How are you creating a life of awe and wonder?

 

Are you too busy to notice moments where you are touched by God?

 

Look up. Hear. Feel. Believe!

 

 

One of the best parts of writing a book nowadays is having a group of friends come around and support you and the written words. You could call it a posse but most refer to it as their “book launch team.” Want to be on mine?! 
 
It’s going to be a blast and it would mean so much to have your support!
 
 
Just follow this link and fill out the form: http://goo.gl/forms/f7Q8dxoiUY.
Application deadline is December 8, 2015. 
Blessings,
Lisa

 

In-text photos courtesy of Patrick Berger : https://www.facebook.com/patrick.berger.7583?fref=ts

64 Comments

  1. Linda@Creekside

    April 21, 2015 at 6:54 AM

    Good morning, Lisa, from your next-door-neighbor at Kelly’s!

    Well, I’ll probably never get to Vienna, but you’ve taken me there.

    And your images are a beautiful wake-up call this morning.

    And it’s so cool to meet another people-helper who’s blogging.

    What a treat to start the day with you!

  2. Absolutely inspiring. Yes, we can make our lives extraordinarily beautiful by these simple steps. It’s a choice to make. 🙂

    Have a wonderful day, Lisa!

    • lisamurray

      April 22, 2015 at 6:17 AM

      Lux,

      Thank you for stopping by! You are right – how we experience our lives is our choice. Let’s choose to experience God and be touched by Him today! Blessings!

  3. Samantha Landrus

    April 21, 2015 at 4:40 PM

    Lisa,

    I recall a similar moment at a church in Mexico. It was our first morning of missions and we walked into the church. They were singing, “Set a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain, that I can’t control. I want more of you God, I want more of you.” It was in spanish- and I don’t speak a lick of it, but I was so overcome by the spirit in that moment. This is a song we sang regularly in this season. The worship pastor learned the song in spanish and took it back to our congregation with message that was so profound among our team. God is everywhere. Even in a little church in the middle of Mexico.

    I am looking foward to being overwhelmed by the little wonders of God today! Thank you!

    Samantha

    • lisamurray

      April 22, 2015 at 6:16 AM

      Samantha,

      Thank you for sharing your story of awe and wonder! God is waiting to reveal Himself to us in a thousand little ways each day. May we look up, hear, feel and believe! Blessings to you!

  4. Beautiful, beautiful post, Lisa!

    “Dance into all that is unknown and believe. Open your heart. Celebrate. Give thanks.” <— Love, love, love this!

    Thank you so much for sharing, sweet friend! Infinite blessings to you, Love! 🙂

    • lisamurray

      April 22, 2015 at 6:14 AM

      Tai,

      Thank you for your kind words! I wonder how life would be different if we danced a little more into the unknown, instead of being so afraid of it? God is present even in the unknown. We can open our hearts. We can celebrate!!! Blessings to you this week, friend!

  5. Look UP, Listen, Feel – – and Believe – I like those thoughts and the expansion of each. Yes, we can enjoy God in a strange (to us) place of worship, and we can hear his voice there also. I love to “Feel” his presence and I am believing for greater things in our city and in our world (and in us too.) Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a True Story.

  6. Lisa,

    Thank you so much for writing and sharing this! The setting you create is lovely and brings back some fantastic “The Lord really is here” memories. I love your phrase “undone by,” because that’s so much what awe is about -witnessing something so much more and better and beyond you that you are humbled and changed.

    Thanks for this point and these great tips : ) Happy to have found you through Woman to Woman Wednesday! Blessings!

    • lisamurray

      April 22, 2015 at 7:50 AM

      Thank Bethany for stopping by today! Moments of awe truly do humble us. They remind us that our God is so much bigger and stronger and greater than we could ever think or imagine. Blessings to you today!

  7. So inspiring! I love the line “Dance into all that is unknown and believe. Open your heart. Celebrate. Give thanks.” Your neighbor at woman2woman.

  8. Lisa, what a powerful reminder to set it all aside and be awed by the awesomeness of our great God. You have inspired me to go out and “Listen for the music of life that anchors us, connects us to something human, perhaps something divine.” Tuning my ear to God’s song. : )

    Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

    • lisamurray

      April 22, 2015 at 3:51 PM

      Crystal,
      Thanks for stopping by! Sometimes we all need to be reminded to listen to the music of life, the heartbeat of God! Blessings!

  9. Ah! I’ve walked through the Christmas market in Vienna in the winter and gone into a little cathedral to enjoy warmth (I don’t remember the name of it, though–I was there in 1985). I’ve also enjoyed a holy, awe-inspiring experience in a cathedral in a foreign land (Scotland). Most of the time, my moments of awe and wonder come from creation. Beautiful photographs and story–I’m glad I stopped by from Holley’s place :).

    • lisamurray

      April 22, 2015 at 3:50 PM

      So happy to have you share, Anita! Creation does provide the best moments and encounters with God! Blessings to you today!

  10. Beautiful words. We just studied in our Bible study this morning Hebrews 12:28. “Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire.” It just seemed to fit with your post. So glad to meet you today. I found you on Juana’s link up. Blessings! ~andy

    • lisamurray

      April 22, 2015 at 5:59 PM

      Andy,
      Thank you so much for sharing today! I love how the Hebrews passage beautifully that encourages us to worship God with reverence and awe. He is indeed a consuming fire. Blessings to you today!

  11. Julie Lefebure

    April 22, 2015 at 9:51 PM

    Lisa, this is a beautiful place, and a beautiful post! I’m following you at #RaRaLinkup. Thank you for helping me put my focus where it needs to be today. Awe and wonder. I loved reading your story. Keep telling your story. All of them. God bless you as you do!

    • lisamurray

      April 23, 2015 at 6:33 AM

      Your words are so encouraging to me today! Thanks for stopping by. The girls at #RaRaLinkup are awesome!

  12. You just took my breath away with your description of your experience and the pictures. We really do miss so much that God wants us to see!

    • lisamurray

      April 23, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      Sarah,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! God does want us to experience the awe and wonder that He creates for us each day. Blessings today!

  13. Good morning from Holley’s link up! Beautifully said. I love the line you wrote, “We are not meant to merely exist in the mundane.” Totally sums it all up.

  14. Beautiful Lisa. You call all of me – all of my senses – to experience the power of God. Yes! There is power in this place. There is beauty here. Thank you for bringing wonder in! Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

    • lisamurray

      April 25, 2015 at 8:04 AM

      Kelly,

      I always value and appreciate your encouragement! It truly is a gift from God. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Blessings to you today!

  15. Hi Lisa! I’m your neighbor at Stacey’s Linkup.

    I just love old churches…I think of all the prayers and songs that bounced off the walls down through the ages. It’s such a support and comfort. I am Catholic, so I was ‘right there’ with your descriptions.

    Your thoughts on getting in touch with our souls, and what God is doing there is so relatable. I don’t think God wants it to be hard for us, we just have to pay attention. If we’re willing to do that, He’ll meet us every time!
    Nice to meet you 🙂
    Ceil

    • lisamurray

      April 27, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      Ceil,

      Great to meet you as well! It amazes me how faithful God is to meet us right where we are and show us His glory, His love, His peace! Blessings!

  16. “Content to be filled by a game, a television show, or perhaps a conversation with someone we may or may not know on Facebook.” A fitting description of our culture today – oh how we get sucked in to things that matter so little! Thank you for this reminder. Lovely words.

    Found you on Sue Detweiler’s link up today. 🙂

  17. How fitting that I visit your post today because I just ordered Paul David Tripp’s new book, “Awe.” 🙂 God is sending me a message to notice His spectacular ways more and more! Thanks for sharing this.

  18. Lisa, I’ve read this once before and your words have captivated me yet again— even more so than the first time. Thank you so very much for sharing such a wonderful message! GOD bless you, beautiful friend! 🙂

  19. You’re bringing back memories to me of our visit to Vienna last spring. It was so wonderful. Thanks for the encouragement here to look up, look around, and listen!! We need that. As you say, it’s so easy to get stuck in focusing only on what’s RIGHT IN FRONT of us, and we lose perspective, don’t we?

    • lisamurray

      December 5, 2015 at 8:18 AM

      Betsy,

      Vienna is beautiful and sometimes it takes experiences like that to remind us of the beauty God places all around us. We must look up, listen, and believe! Blessings, friend!

  20. Lisa,
    I just love the story of your visit overseas and your soul touched with beauty and grandeur of God in a church far from home. I agree with you that we miss so much of the awe and wonder of God in the everyday busyness of our lives. It’s there but sometimes we just don’t see it! Enjoyed this post!

    • lisamurray

      December 5, 2015 at 8:20 AM

      Valerie,
      I wonder how much I miss in my everyday life because I get so consumed with the tasks, while completely ignoring God’s beauty and majesty. Thanks for stopping by today!

  21. What a great post. YES. Looking up is sometimes hard when life wears you down. Thank you so much for this encouragement!
    Sarah (www.sarahefrazer.com)

    • lisamurray

      December 5, 2015 at 8:20 AM

      So glad to have you stop by today! Yes, looking up can be hard, but that’s where the awe is! Blessings, friend!

  22. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful post. I was quickly reminded of a two week Bible study trip I took to Israel a few years ago. There were so many breath taking, awe inspiring moments.

    • lisamurray

      December 5, 2015 at 8:22 AM

      Michelle,
      I hope to travel to Israel one day! I’m so thankful that God blesses us with these gems of experiences and memories that we hide in our hearts and that give us hope and meaning in our everyday lives. Blessings to you, friend!

  23. Inspiring, Lisa , I could see the cathedral and feel the cold air as you wrote the words and I wanted to cry with you at the awe and the wonder. This is a sweet offering of grace, today, and a gentle reminder to look up and take in the grandeur of His handiwork because it is awe-inspiring.

    Blessings!
    Dawn

  24. Congratulations Lisa!! I’m reading Voskamp’s Greatest Gift this season and it’s really helped me to hone in on His coming. No rushing, just steeping in the love of God. Your words today are equally beautiful. Thanks for sharing them on #coffeeforyourheart. Have a wonderful week!

    • lisamurray

      December 5, 2015 at 8:33 AM

      Meg,
      I love that concept – steeping in the love of God. How I need that more and more! You have a wonderful week as well!

  25. I read this on another link up this week and loved it so much I added it to my “resources” for my post today, then “just happened” to link up a few posts away from you today in Faith-Filled Friday. Loved this and it goes right along with what God is teaching me, so thanks for letting yourself be used by Him to bless others!;-)

    • lisamurray

      December 5, 2015 at 8:34 AM

      So glad God was able to speak to you through these humble words. I love how He knows exactly what I need to hear! Blessings, Leslie!

  26. Oh, I love the story of the Catholic church and your moment of awe!

    It is so easy to lose the wonder and the awe. Thank you for the reminder today to look, listen, feel, & experience Him in reality and in sweetness.

    I found your post on Grace and Truth.

    Hope you have a blessed weekend~
    Melanie

  27. Loved your post! I have been studying the people of the Old Testament, and I am learning that we find true peace when we are doing exactly what God has asked of us. Even when what he asks of us seems crazy. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  28. I love this Lisa! Your experience reminded me of a similar one I had at a church in France I went to for a summer. With a minimal grasp of the language I couldn’t quite join in with the worship but found God moved in my heart in all new ways as I just allowed myself to absorb the worship being lifted all around me and my heart cried out in worship, not in song, but in love and adoration 🙂

    • lisamurray

      December 5, 2015 at 8:36 AM

      Love this, Sarah! Traveling captures my soul and worshipping allows me to experience God in whole new ways! I love your story. Blessings, friend!

  29. Hi Lisa!
    I discovered you as a neighbor on Missional Women Linkup. Your post created such a vivid picture of the time in the small cathedral that I felt I was almost there with you. I resonate what you have written and have visited places that seemed to create a similar feeling. (A large older Catholic church in Savannah last fall had a similar effect.) I very much agreed with the need to let go of the electronics and get rid of distraction to be able to sense the Lord’s presence.
    I have a bit more time for that now. I retired about a year ago from my position as an MFT and Licensed Professional Supervising Clinical Counselor.
    I am intrigued that you are in Franklin, TN. We were there over Thanksgiving because our son and his family live there. We actually come there fairly often. We love Franklin and all the shops there and the atmosphere of a bygone era.
    Blessings on you and your book launch!
    Pam

    • lisamurray

      December 6, 2015 at 8:49 AM

      Pam,
      Such a small world! Sometime when you are in town, we’ll have to have a coffee together:) Blessings to you today!

  30. I love all of these and I love how Our God wants us to live an abundant life here. How Great is Our God!

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:14 AM

      Yes, how great is our God!! Yes, He wants us to experience an abundant life here. So glad to have you join us today!

  31. Thank you for this beautiful depiction of a life that Gd created us for. So Inspired by your words and would love for you to be our friend and share with us at Sitting Among Friends as we share our lives together. Blog Party posts every Wednesday. http://youresewtrendy.blogspot.com

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:17 AM

      Jaime,
      So glad to have you here. Would love to join your community on Wednesdays. Blessings, friend!

  32. A beautiful post! “Embrace the gift of being touched by God.” I’ll be thinking of that today as I work. It’s only by His grace that we serve and love one another. Thank you! Visiting from Mommy Moments.

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:20 AM

      Angela,
      Thanks for your encouragement! Yes, we need to embrace the gift of being touched by God. It is a gift. It is all around us. We only have to look up and see. Blessings, friend!

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