I lost something in the mountains. I suppose I could find it if I really wanted it. But to be honest with you, I don’t really want to. Beauty is more beautiful without it. Life is more living, colors more exciting….
Although it is hard to put words to it, I think I’ve lost my fear of not being able to change what is in front of me. At least a good part of it has left.
When I stare up at the magnificent mountains, it seems silly to be so easily worried. And as I’ve mediated on their beauty, I’ve realized something unique about them: I can’t change the mountains. Not that I would. But me, little ant sized me, doesn’t have to, doesn’t need to, isn’t asked to. I get to just…see them.
And as I look up, a friend that I so easily forget begins to creep back into my life. Wonder.
When I was a child, wonder was my best friend. I think she is for most. I didn’t go very long without feeling her rush up inside of me and spill out in curiosity, adventuring, experimenting, and asking endless questions. I didn’t experience wonder just when I saw something exciting through my tinted and often smudge-covered car window. Oh no. I was always struck by people. By their faces, their clothes, their stories, and their words.
But as I’ve grown older, it seems to take more to bring me back to wonder. I can see something beautiful, in fact far more beautiful than anything I ever saw as a kid, and still forget to stop and take the time to wonder. Over the last few days I’ve asked myself, why? The stars haven’t grown dimmer. The sand beneath my bare toes hasn’t grown coarser. The ocean waves haven’t lost their melody. The mountains aren’t smaller, the autumn leaves aren’t less colorful, the birds haven’t gone quiet. And neither have people become less complex or beautiful.
I want to wonder. When I see beauty, I want to lose my breath again. I want to just look at it. Without having to tell a story about another place more beautiful. Without having to rank it, change it, or photograph it. I want to see it. Really see it.
God spoke to me as I drove through the glowing land of eastern Utah. He told me that sometimes–I don’t think every time, but sometimes–I need to simply look at beauty. That I don’t always have to find a way to fix it, add to it, change it, or really “do” anything about it. We were looking at the rugged mountain range and suddenly it became so clear. I can’t change the mountains.
If I can’t change them, why did God bring me to them?
I think he brought me to wonder.
As I stared at the mountains in front of me, I began to play out this simple revelation. Surely this bigger than just nature. Beauty isn’t just found in lofty landscapes or starry skies. Beauty is everywhere. I see it in paintings, fashion trends, coffee and more. But more than “things”, I see beauty in people.
I don’t know if it’s a gifting, my gender, or a personality trait, but I like to fix people. When I meet someone, I starting asking God how I can speak into their life and encourage them. I try, maybe too hard, to be constantly encouraging and supportive. I challenge people I disagree with, somehow hoping to change their point of view. And when someone says, “thank you for pushing me out of my comfort shell Tim (which I do get fairly often)”, my day is made and the mission is accomplished.
Okay. For you all who have said that to me, please hear what I’m about to say: I am glad that I can be a part of stretching you and helping you see ways to grow. I genuinely don’t see you as projects even though it might sound like that. I’m actually just processing a subtle and very sub-conscious pattern that I’ve become ever so slightly aware of. I think some of you might be able to see the same pattern in some of your relationships and that’s why I’m sharing this.
You see, I’m realizing that if God brought me to the mountains just to teach me how to say wow, than maybe he has brought me into my friends lives for that, too. Yes, I know “iron sharpens iron.” I think most of us have gotten pretty good at that. Especially in church. But that cannot be the only reason he designed the beauty of friendships, families, and communities. Maybe it isn’t even the primary reason.
Maybe–and though I say maybe, I do feel quite sure–he designed us to wonder. We were created in his image. We! You and me and everyone you could possibly see. Made in his image.
I know we need to share the gospel so that all who are willing can wash themselves in Jesus and begin to represent the image of God rightly. I know we need to encourage each other and share concerns we have over certain behaviors and habits. I know that true friends don’t let each other walk into harms way. But before we begin to pick through the mistakes of those around us, before we try to remove the speck from our brother’s eye, before we tell each other how to do it the right way, or who to vote for—
—let us take time to forget to breathe. To wonder at the intricacies of our bodies. To be amazed at the creativity God invest into each shape, color, size, smell, and sound within each other. To be awed by the splendor of redemption, healing, and restoration in all those who have chosen to follow Jesus. To really see others when we look at them.
I don’t want to miss beauty because I’ve tried so hard to perfect it or understand it or use it. I don’t want to forget how to wonder.
The mountains taught me a lesson and I don’t want the pursuit of knowledge to steal my wonder anymore. Who cares how much I know if I have forgotten how to care?
I hope you listen to the beauty around you. All of those who follow Jesus are commanded to love with the same kind of love he loved us with. His love saw our beauty in the midst of our ugly messes. He took time to choose us before we could choose him.
Oh this love is beautiful and it fills me with wonder.
Thank you for reading! My desire is to inspire you to live as a child of God in a world of orphans longing for true family. As you discover his goodness, you will find your purpose. You can read my most recent blog articles below. You can also follow me on social media using the icons below. Much love,