“LORD, I have heard the report about You; LORD, I stand in awe of Your deeds.
Revive Your work in these years; make it known in these years.
In Your wrath remember mercy!”
How to Find More Time in Your Day
We’ve all heard people say, “I’m still trying to wrap my head around that,” when reaching for words to describe their response to an awe-inspiring experience. As it turns out, the idea of wrapping our heads around a new concept, is actually scientific. When we encounter something that, well, blows our minds, our minds literally create new pathways to accommodate and process the event. Crazy, right?
Awe takes place when our minds are stretched beyond what we’ve always believed to be true.
In fact, a study of awe and its effects defines awe as the emotion that arises when one encounters something so strikingly vast that it provokes a need to update one’s mental schemas. In other words, as an article in the Atlantic rephrased it, “awe is an experience of such perceptual expansion that you need new mental maps to deal with its incomprehensibility.”
And, that same study showed, people who experienced awe, “felt they had more time available, were less impatient, were more willing to volunteer their time to help others, and more strongly preferred experiences over material goods.”
All of us are looking for more time in our days, more patience, more of a desire to give to others, and less of a desire for more stuff in our lives.
Not surprisingly, the science (as it often does) points us straight to God.
If we’re looking to experience the benefits of awe, God has exactly what we need. As today’s Scripture reminds us, we only have to look as far as the reports we’ve been given about the God of the universe. In The Message translation of today’s passage from Habakkuk, Eugene Peterson offers this paraphrase of the first line in the prayer:
“God, I’ve heard what our ancestors say about You, and I’m stopped in my tracks, down on my knees.”
That, my sisters, is a perfect example of the experience of awe.
If you’re looking for more time in your day, more compassion for your neighbor, and less dependence on material goods, begin by recalling the things you’ve heard and seen and learned about our God. Allow the truth of God’s magnificence to drench your heart with amazement. Let the Holy Spirit expand your thinking as your mind creates new pathways to absorb the extravagance of God’s grace. Surrender to the transformative power of the Spirit to refocus your attention on the things in this life that matter most. Remember the stories handed down to us about the greatness of our God.
Then, let the sacred experience of awe expand your capacity to love and to worship and to serve, all in praise and honor of our awesome and holy God.
What stories of God stop you in your tracks and send you to your knees in awe?