This 1 Thing Slows Life Down When It’s Moving Too Fast2 min read

The demands of life can easily overwhelm us. The sense that life is moving too fast is a common feeling. For me it seems especially more common as I get older.

There are days when I’m constantly busy at something from the time that I get up until I go to bed. On those days I especially feel that life is moving too fast.

Scientists have discovered an emotion that gives us the sense that time is slowing down, even stopping.

That emotion is awe.

Why You Need the Amazing Power of Awe

There are two pieces to awe:

  1. An impression of vastness. This is the feeling you might get listening to an orchestra, looking up at the stars in the sky on a clear night, tasting a ripe apple picked fresh off the tree, or when encountering a new perspective on God.

  2. An expansion or change in your perception of the universe and where you fit in it. This where we take that impression of vastness and say, “Wow!”

Together these two pieces produce the emotion we call awe.

God must have had this in mind when He set aside the seventh day of his creation week as a day of rest.

Adam and Eve were able to start their lives off with a feeling of awe as they looked back over that first week in earth’s history at what God had created by the words of His mouth. And while they would get busy tending the garden paradise on the other six days of the week, each Sabbath would be a day to pause and experience awe, and have the sense that–at least for a day–time was slowing down.

There are three other awesome benefits of awe that scientists have discovered:

  1. Awe increases patience
  2. Awe decreases materialism
  3. Awe increases helpfulness

How to Get More Awe

I’ve discovered that when I allow myself to get wrapped up in busyness, I seldom experience awe. Here are just a few practical ways I add more awe to my life. Some of these I need to do more often:

  1. Enjoy God’s gift of the Sabbath as a day to pause and reflect on the beauty of His creation and the wonder of His saving grace.

  2. Singing and listening to hymns and spiritual songs that tell of God’s love.

  3. Reading Bible stories that reveal God’s continual pursuit of humanity to keep us from destroying ourselves.

  4. Watching documentaries that explore the natural world.

  5. Taking a walk in a forest or visiting a zoo to watch animals.

  6. Spotting rainbows between rain showers.

  7. Standing at the edge of the ocean and watching the waves, or on the peak of a mountain and seeing for
    miles around.

What do you or will you do to experience more awe? Share with a comment below.

Photo Credit: Hubble Heritage via Compfight cc

Jon Beaty

I'm a counselor, writer and believer in the power of God to help you thrive in your marriage and family. I live with my family, a small herd of Boer goats, and thousands of honeybees near Portland, Oregon.

  • Great insights Jon. The older I get, the faster the days seem to go. I love your strategies for rekindling the Awe. I’m reminded of an event, a few years back, when I took my three-year-old daughter to the bay. It was a hot day and since I had brought a change of clothes, I let her splash in the water. Afterward, I was helping her get changed in the restroom stall, when she noticed a breath-mint that someone had dropped on the dirty, bathroom floor. My daughter’s face lit-up. “Daddy, is that from the Easter Bunny?” she asked.

    It’s been years since this happened, but I still remember the look of awe on my daughters face. And no, don’t worry, I most certainly didn’t let her touch the breath-mint. We did go out for ice-cream afterwords though. It’s funny, there is something about a childlike since of awe that makes the world a happier place. And now I know that it makes time slow down too. Love this post 🙂

    • Jon Beaty says:

      Jed, Your comment made me think of Jesus’ comment that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps He was in calling us to develop our sense of awe.

  • That’s an awesome piece, Jon. It feels so good to get out. Sometimes I get stuck inside too much myself and appreciate when I can outside. I read both your blog piece and the article you linked. It’s amazing how God made us to appreciate Him. Why else we would we have a sense of awe? The evolutionary arguments made in the Psychological Science article just seem kind of silly compared to the idea that God gave us a sense of awe so we can know and appreciate Him.

    There is something so special about sitting on the side of a mountain or on the ocean shore. Sadly, most people don’t take the time to go to such places, be in awe and meet with God there.

    • Jon Beaty says:

      Pat,

      Thanks for your comment! I agree that the scientific theories fall short when they don’t recognize the Creator.

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