Learning to Love the OutdoorsStephanie Sims |
We live in some crazy times, don’t we?
We have witnessed so much, experienced so much, and have felt so many emotions. We are not the same people that we were three years ago whether we want to admit it or not, or just haven’t paused long enough to think about it. There is an invisible weight that seems to try to follow us everyday as we read one headline after the next about what could possibly be the next thing we need to concern ourselves with. We have the power of prayer to get us through moment by moment. We have God’s perfect Word, The Bible to encourage us in all things. It says that His grace is sufficient for us:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
What else has our God provided to help keep us focused on Him? What else can we pay attention to that shows His glory and how small we really are in comparison to our Almighty Father?
Getting in the outdoors is a way that I have learned to love to calm myself down when I am stressed or overwhelmed. I grew to love it so much, it is pure enjoyment for me now, regardless of how I am feeling. Some of us live where you get to have all four seasons, some of us can count on hot and cold, wet or dry. We see the cycle of trees and plants, budding, changing colors, and withering away; then the cycle repeats itself. In our vast country of mountain ranges, valleys, peaks, oceans, beaches, and lakes, we are blessed to be able to walk or run or hike freely through God’s creation and admire His breathtaking work. There is a grounding that can happen in our souls if we would just take moments as we are able to get outside and soak it all in.
Personally, I am a hiker. I absolutely love going in the woods by myself or with my family and getting away from the busyness and noise of daily life. I notice a difference in my capacity to handle my responsibilities or overcome challenges when I spend time in nature talking to The Lord, and feeling gratefulness in my spirit for all He has done versus when I don’t prioritize it. If you are able to take a walk alone through some trees, in the hills, or simply a walk in a quiet park, not only will you feel better because of the amazing effects being outside has on your mental health; being in nature may help reignite or deepen your relationship with God. Think of all He has made for us to enjoy! Think of the senses that we have been blessed with to testify about all He has created!
Being in nature more often does not have to be complicated at all. I know it may seem like you can’t do it because you don’t like camping or hunting or fishing, or even bugs. I can’t stand bugs, and I love being outside! But start small. Just take walks in your neighborhood when you can. Sometimes if your kids are playing outside, go with them. Feel the dirt in your fingers right along with them. Take a journal with you and write down what you see, and research it together with them when you come inside. There is no right or wrong way to do this. A bonus about nature activities is that they can be completely free! There is no cost to walk around your apartment complex, down your long driveway in the country, or the outdoor kids’ playscape in your city. No matter where you live, just be sure to prioritize safety for yourself and your loved ones, and get outside. You will not regret it!