Once when 3rd grade students were drawing self-portraits and looking carefully at their eyes in mirrors, I realized they didn’t know the dark pupil was actually the opening that lets in light. I turned off the lights so they could see the opening grow bigger and then on again so it would become smaller. They begged me over and over to turn the lights on and off so they could watch the pupil open and close. I’ll never forget seeing the wonder on their faces and hearing it in their voices.
We writers need that same child-like sense of wonder and curiosity for the world around us. Here are 5 ways that may renew our sense of wonder and curiosity, leading us to God and fueling our creativity.
5 Ways to Renew Your Wonder and Curiosity
1.When we walk in our neighborhoods, let’s take time to really look at plants, birds, animals, the sky, and the weather. Let’s listen to birds singing and feel the bark of different trees. Let’s rediscover our inner child and ask “why?” about something we’ve seen or heard or smelled.
For example: why is the bark of some trees smooth, while the bark on others looks and feels like tiny creatures burrow through it every night? How does a sunflower bud open? Why do bumble bees love purple sage flowers?What kind of bee has an iridescent green body?
2. Let’s listen to our God talking and describing His creation in our Bibles, especially Psalms and Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, Jesus’ parables, and the last 7 or 8 chapters of Job. Notice and dwell on the poetic language and descriptions of the natural world.
Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together? Job 38:37-38 NIV
May we let His words sink in and then take flight in our hearts and minds to even more appreciation of His astounding creativity.
3. Let’s read nonfiction children’s books. These colorful, informative, and usually well-researched books have proliferated in recent years. Check out the sources the author has used to check for accuracy and for further research if the topic catches our attention.
If we do decide to write about a topic, it’s important to know that editors won’t accept children’s books as resources for our writing, but the books can get us started on a journey of discovery.
Recently, while researching geckos for a nature article, a children’s book about geckos led me to the work of Professor Robert J. Full in the Department of Integrated Biology at UC Berkley. He and his team use comparative biomechanics and physiology to study animal performance and locomotion. Sometimes this field is called biomimetics or bio-design.
Dr. Full encourages his team to follow their curiosity, and their research and collaboration with engineers and other scientists have led to advances in robotics and artificial limbs. It even led to their working with Pixar on the animated movie, A Bug’s Life.
4. Lets watch nature and science shows—to sit back, enjoy, and allow ourselves to be mesmerized. Another nature article I worked on for a chapel talk led me to a TV series about the biannual migrations of many animals in Africa. Before I took notes, I let the sweeping vistas transport me across the African savanna to appreciate the adaptions of the animals living there. I was newly amazed by the creativity and power of our awesome God.
5. It’s always great to visit zoos, national parks, and natural history museums, either in person or online. We can see the variety of animals, plants, and natural features. Many parks, zoos and museums have wonderful online resources for educators, with photos, videos, and activities for children that lead to fascinating discoveries.
Warren Wiersbe, a pastor and author of many books, encouraged people to get “lost in the wonder of God”:
“We must recognize the fact that true wonder is not a passing emotion or some kind of shallow excitement. It has depth to it. True wonder reaches right into your heart and mind and shakes you up. It not only has depth, it has value; it enriches your life. Wonder is not cheap amusement that brings a smile to your face. It is an encounter with reality – with God – that brings awe to your heart. You are overwhelmed with an emotion that is a mixture of gratitude, adoration, reverence, fear, –and love. You are not looking for explanation; you are lost in the wonder of God.”
Warren Wiersbi, Real Worship. (Nashville: Oliver Nelson, 1986), pp 44-45. As quoted in One Thing, Developing a Passion for the Beauty of God by Sam Storms.
When have you gotten “lost in the wonder of God?” How has that helped fuel your creativity?
Kathy O’Neill grew up in Maine. She loves the Lord and His gifts of family, pets, and walks on the beach when storms send waves crashing against the rocks. As a teacher, writer, and speaker, she enjoys engaging children’s and adult’s hearts and hands to discover God and their own creativity through art, history, and nature. Kathy has written for The Quiet Hour, Light from the Word, Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Highlights, DevoKids, Clubhouse Jr., Starlight, and Appleseeds. Visit her website http://www.kathy-oneill.com/ for a link to her blog and to discover fun activities and workshops.