Can Work and Wonder Coexist… for You?

Mt Hood photo courtesy

I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below. Acts 2:19

Can wonder be a part of our work lives?

You know wonder… Awe. Surprising delight. A moment you just didn’t expect and can’t repeat but which stays with you for a long time.

But for real, what is wonder to you? Some of us may have to go way back to remember, but try. Is it…

  • A two year old bursting into laughter for no apparent reason.
  • Or a puppy frolicking in a yard with grass so high she nearly disappears until she jumps. (We just got a puppy so I can’t help but mention that one.)
  • How about a mountaintop view that goes on for hazy miles in every direction.

Just as importantly, when do you experience wonder? On the weekend when you take a hike? At home playing with your kids? Never?

What about during the 40, 50, 60 hours a week you are at work?

Do you ever experience wonder then?

Is that a dumb question? Or just a naive, idealistic one?

Isn’t our work time for shuffling papers? For grinning through our gritted teeth as we say “yes” to our rotten boss? Or for paying the bills, and hanging on till the weekend?

I don’t claim all the answers here. I know there are some work situations where surviving another day is a pretty good day. I’m not trying to make light of your struggles at work.

I’m just here to get you thinking. To get you uncomfortable with less than God’s best for your work and life.

Here is what I do know. Wonder is not only important to a happy life but also an integral part of the fabric of eternity. Work too, is a big part of our lives (and i could argue a part of eternity also) . Therefore, shouldn’t the two, work and wonder, overlap occasionally… even often?

But how might wonder at work show up? Certainly it depends on who you are, what kind of things bring you wonder. But if what brings you wonder, could combine with what you do for work 50 hrs a week then, Wow!
It might look like:

  • Keeping the office environment so neat and orderly that the entire staff feels at home, at work.
  • Feeling the satisfaction of taking an old, beat-up piece of furniture (maybe leather ;) ) and restoring it to beautiful, like new condition.
  • Seeing women marred by poverty and prostitution set free to live healthy productive lives
  • Treating each customer so great that everybody asks for you when they come in to the restaurant
  • Saving lives by discovering life-saving brain surgery techniques
  • Bringing hope and life to disabled people all around the world, as a quadriplegic yourself!

Can you imagine work where you’d experience wonder often? Work where you are so good that your customers experience it through your work? Do you know anyone who seems to have wonder in their work? What would it look like to you? More importantly, what can you do to make it happen. I should say to make the opportunity for wonder, happen?

The appearance of wonder itself, we can’t manufacture that. For wonder creation is God’s department. We can only position ourselves to be ready for it. But don’t worry, our God “will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below”.

  • Andy Traub

    Wonder happens to me when I am reading books by Seth Godin or Steven Pressfield (Do the work). I experience wonder when I stop and dream about what I’m capable of. It’s beautiful.

  • Scott

    Great post Chris – I love it!

  • Anonymous

    Getting notes from readers and listeners fills me with wonder every day as I hear about dreams being released and hear the amazement of people who are discovering they had the resources to bring those dreams to life all along.

  • ChrisR

    Wonder sure is beautiful Andy. Thanks for posting your wonder and for your help with this blog set up. Your tech help at has been great.

  • ChrisR

    Thanks Scott.

  • ChrisR

    Thanks Dan. Your wonder and passion definitely come through as you podcast. Honored to have your input here. I owe much of my passion for this subject to your influence.

  • John Bergquist

    This made me think of a post I saw yesterday via @momwithanikon:twitter . @billcoffey:twitter wrote about a woman who taught him to stop and never miss the wonders that are all around us. I am fortunate to have lots of wonder in my life, but I can still easily miss it.

  • Kevin Miller

    You have a gift Chris. God’s gifted you with a heart that cares and ‘wonders’ and you express it so well in your writing.

    For me in my work, I think I most experience ‘wonder’ when I get an open door to influence someone’s life. It’s the most humbling, daunting, honoring and exhilirationg thing I do in my ‘vocation.’

  • ChrisR

    @twitter-71077000:disqus  Thanks for the encouragement. If it weren’t for you and FAA, I wouldn’t have the clarity to seek and see so much wonder in my work.  I hear wonder from you when you talk about the balance… your family, home, time in nature on a run, faith and work.  It’s a great example for all of us.

  • ChrisR

    @johnflurry:disqus Thanks John.  True.  We all miss wonder far too often.  C.S. Lewis talks about remembering the things like our 5 senses which “when we have them we pay them no mind, but if we lost them we’d pay millions to recover them”.  He ends the section encouraging us to marvel/wonder at something simple like “the wetness of water “

  • Deb Ingino

     Chris this is an important reminder for each of us.  There is indeed wonder all around us all of the time and we merely need to tune in to see it!Deb Ingino

  • ChrisR

    Thanks Deb. I’m pretty pleased to get a no-nonsense New Yorker to admit the importance of wonder ha, ha. No, no just like I said to Dan, I hear the passion in your voice when you are helping people use their wired style to live more full lives. That’s wonder-full to all of us.

  • Melodie

    Thoughtful post, Chris, with a thought-provoking question.

    I experience wonder at the dentist’s office.  
    It used to be that the whirring sound of the instruments made me want to run; I didn’t go at all one year, after having been tortured at two separate practices.  But now, I no longer dread going to the dentist. 

    My new dentist is always smiling, happy in her work, wants to help. That’s probably her motive for providing the “gentle dentistry” that keeps me in her chair. The woman clearly loves what she does for a living. That spills over into the family life she shares with the husband and twin daughters she is so obviously crazy about. And the effect of her attitude on all of her staff members? They, too, are punctual, professional, and consistently pleasant – - even the receptionist who calls ahead of time to confirm my appointments.  I can hear her smiling through the phone. It’s a mellow office.

    My dentist doesn’t accept dental plans. Yet, I’m one of many who have coverage and choose to pay the extra for her services that we would not have to pay elsewhere. Because she has WONDER in her work, and other dentists do not.   

  • Jimi

    Hi Chris,

    You’ve got a great discussion going here. Without wonder in our work and in our lives, we’re cheating the One who put us here. I get wonder when I look at my beautiful wife and know were meant to walk together. I get wonder professionally when I see eyes opened to pursuing their talents for a greater good. We all need to stop and read your post with a humble attitude. Thanks for that.

  • Justin Lukasavige

     I love going above and beyond so it’s not just another workplace, Chris. Where you do, what you do, matters, and I’ve always designed my workplaces around that.

    But not just the workplace, where I live as well.

  • ChrisR

    Thanks @jlukasavige:disqus Going above and beyond by design is a sure way to bring wonder into life.  I imagine the wall full of client reminders you had at your old office stirred up the wonder from time to time.  Thanks for helping so many of us.

  • ChrisR

    @58e5037e87062a02688b95ebb706ac5f:disqus  Life without wonder is “cheating”.  I like that one.  Wonder is all around us for sure.  Little kids seem to get it naturally.  Too bad our wonder detector seems to dull after a certain age. 

    How about “Wonderman” for a brand?  Too close to Wonderwoman?  Maybe i could wear those wristbands that deflect bullets too? :)

  • Chris Peek

    Great post Chris. It’s a concept that I think about often, but am still working to put into practice on a consistent basis. Wonder for me involves exploring and basking in the majesty of the mountains, exploring God’s creation while hiking. Unfortunately, I think too many other people accept mediocre lives, and the idea of a life of wonder is completely off the radar. You have a gift through writing, encouraging, and coaching to help awaken that in others.  

  • ChrisR

    Thanks @facebook-612739327:disqus I think we are all working on practicing wonder discovery… as we should be and will be forever.  I appreciate your encouragement.

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