Last week I wrote a post entitled “For Those Who Don’t Know It All.” (Go ahead and read that post if you haven’t already done so. It will help this post make more sense.)
In it, I posed a simple question: “What if _______?” When you or I ask those 2 words followed by a specific instance in our own lives, it causes us to begin to wonder about the possibility of it actually happening or being true.
But the catch is this: we cannot simply stay at wonder. We have to move into wander.
I had some pushback on this idea of “wander,” so let’s look at this word for a second.
Here are a few definitions from Merriam-Webster: “to move around or go to different places usually without having a particular purpose or direction;” “to move about without a fixed course, aim, or goal;” “to go idly about;” “to ramble.”
Now maybe you are saying to yourself, “I don’t want to be purposeless or ramble, so why would I wander?”
But here’s another question to consider that I posed in last week’s blog post:
“What if instead of thinking you had to have the perfect idea and plan of action, you allowed the wonder of your idea to compel you to wander into action?”
See, after having multiple conversations with various groups of people I’m convinced that those who are struggling with some aspect of their life are at one of two places. They’ve either never begun to wonder or they’re paralyzed by thinking they have to have all the answers or have a perfect plan of action.
If you’ve never asked the “What if____?” question, start there.
But if you have and you’re sitting still. If you’re paralyzed by not having all the answers or having a plan of action. Then start to wander.
Start trying out certain things that your wonder is calling you towards.
Let’s take two common examples: diet and faith.
“What if I went on a diet?” By asking that question, you are beginning to think about what your life could be like if you were healthier. You are compelled to do something about it. But then, the mountain seems too tall. The temptation is too real. The diet seems too rigid. So you don’t even try. But what if you just started wandering through different diets to find one that worked for you? What if you tried a few different ones for a couple weeks?
“What if there is a God?” By asking that question, you are beginning to think about the possibilities and implications of there being a higher power. You are compelled by it. But then, the countless number of world religions overwhelm you. The hypocrites that claim to be “religious” disappoint you. Bad things happen all around you making you angry at that potential God or at least causing you to doubt even more. But what if you started wandering through the claims of the major world religions? What if you began to examine whether or not they contradicted each other and if there was some historical reliability of certain faith’s claims?
See, wouldn’t you rather wander about and risk being called aimless, purposeless, a rambler, etc. instead of sitting still, becoming apathetic and doing nothing with your wonder? Doing nothing with your life?
I know I would.
Actually, I did.
And my wife, Rachel, did too. Maybe you can relate to her story.
If I can say so myself as her husband, Rachel is a very talented graphic designer. She didn’t major in graphic design in college and she sure didn’t have a plan for how she was going to get to where she is now before starting. But one day while volunteering at her local church, someone was talking about how they needed a design done. And Rachel must have said to herself, “What if I tried?” So you know what she did? She said to that staff person, “I’ll give it try.” Wonder led to wander. Her first design wasn’t that great. But it was the start of something. She loved it and was compelled to keep trying. More wonder led to more wandering which eventually led to a sustained plan of action. She now stays quite busy with clients doing graphic design work and absolutely loves it.
I can’t promise your wandering will lead to success. Characteristics like discipline and determination matter. And I’m not, nor would I ever, advocate a constant state of wandering. Certainly, you need to eventually figure out a sustained plan of action for your life and commit. But to get started, all you need to do is wander. And by wandering, you will find that sustained plan of action. But by sitting still, you never will.
Start wondering your way into wander today!