Spiritual Wellbeing for Leaders - Wonder

March 21, 2024

Have you ever stood on the shore of the ocean and in that moment felt closer to God?  Or maybe you caught a sunrise or sunset that took your breath away.  These are common experiences for many people, and such moments are moments of wonder that God can use to draw us closer to Him.  As leaders, we must be careful to not become so focused on the details of our to-do list that we miss out on the rejuvenation and creativity that can be inspired by these moments.  Author Brian Heasley discusses Wonder as an essential part of our quiet time routine in Session 3 of his five-part Bible study "Be Still: A Simple Guide to Quiet Times.”


Let’s be honest, as leaders we have a lot to do each day.  Whether we are bouncing from meeting to meeting, putting out fires, or simply being present for those we lead, it is not uncommon to reach the end of the day only to realize we never had a moment for anything other than our work. In our activity-filled schedules it is all too easy to brush past, hurry by, or simply not notice the small things that would enrich our lives if only we had the time to stop and behold the world around us for a few minutes. 

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 for her soulful novel The Color Purple.  First adapted as a beloved feature length film in 1985, fans were charmed again when the story was re-envisioned as a musical for the big screen in late 2023.  The obscure sounding title comes from a line in the story when Shug Avery tells the protagonist, Celie, that God must be annoyed when people walk through a field and don’t notice the color purple.  Shug concludes, “People think pleasing God is all God cares about,” but anyone, “living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

The sensation we feel when we see an awe-inspiring sunset or sunrise, or a field painted with nature’s vivid palette, and stop to notice the color purple, is called wonder.  The Oxford dictionary well defines wonder as a feeling of surprise mixed with admiration.  As leaders, moments of wonder can inspire our creativity and refresh us when we feel the day has been too long.  For the believer, the benefit of wonder as author Brian Heasley states, is that “worship is born in wonder.”    In the hope-filled anthem, “I Hope You Dance,” Lee Ann Womack sings, “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.”  Many of us have.  It is the sense of the vastness of the ocean, the soothing rumble of the deep, and the ceaseless motion of the waves that moves us and inspires in us a sense of awe.  In those moments of wonder our senses are overpowered by nature, and we may also be drawn to a sense of the greatness and glory of God who Isaiah declared measured the oceans “in the hollow of his hand.”  (Is. 40:12) 

We don’t have to stand beside the ocean to appreciate the beauty of the world around us, but we do have to stop, take a breath, and look around us.  We will find the world is full of God’s goodness, His love for us, and His presence.  C.S. Lewis wrote, “We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God.  The world is crowded with Him.  He walks everywhere incognito.”  It has been famously said that a God who is small enough to comprehend is not large enough to be worshipped.   The Psalmist captured this sentiment of wonder and awe in Psalm 8:3-4 where it is written, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?”   Heasley teaches that a “practice of wonder leads to a reflective lifestyle that births worship,” and that we should include wonder in our quiet times.  As a leader, give yourself the gift of time to unplug, hit pause, reflect, and as Lee Ann Womack said, “never lose your sense of wonder.”  It is a gift with which the world is trying to please us.


Learn more about incorporating Wonder into your quiet time in Heasley’s third lesson Wonderat RightNowMedia@Work. If you do not have access to RightNowMedia@Work to view the  "Be Still: A Simple Guide to Quiet Times” series, Baylor provides free access to all faculty and staff at: https://app.rightnowmedia.org/join/BaylorUHumanResources.

After viewing session 3, consider using your Spiritual Wellbeing leave to relax and reflect, and to practice “wonder.” 


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