These are the things I prize
And hold of dearest worth:
Light of the sapphire skies,
Peace of the silent hills,
Shelter of the forest, comfort of the grass,
Music of birds, murmur of little rills,
Shadows of clouds that swiftly pass,
And, after showers,
The smell of flowers
And of the good brown earth –
And best of all, along the way, friendship and mirth.
– Henry Van Dyke
Have you ever wondered why the Lord placed Adam and Eve in a garden instead of building them a nice little home in which to dwell? Perhaps it’s because He knew just how much our human souls would need the beauty of His creation.
There is nothing like walking along the ocean shore at sunset to put all of life’s problems in perspective. And there is nothing like looking out over a majestic mountain range in the autumn, viewing the gorgeous colored foliage to make your soul thrill! Or what about standing at the top of a gorge or canyon as your heart flutters and your toes tingle? Or the awe you feel near the base of an immense waterfall? Or the smallness of being lost in a dark and tangled forest?
So often in life we are faced with problems and trials, and unfortunately, we can get so caught up in ourselves and our own little world, that we forget there is an enormous world out there, created by an omnipotent and mighty God who knows just how to solve those problems.
In the cultivating of your soul, be sure to get out of doors and remind yourself of the One who created your soul, the One who created the huge, expansive universe and everything within it.
Nature can awaken your soul and stimulate your senses, making you feel more alive. Then on the other hand, it can quiet and still your soul, bringing you immense comfort, tranquility and peace.
You need the beauty of the natural world and God has generously given it to you.
As Psychology professor, Richard Ryan, wrote, “Nature is fuel for the soul…We have a natural connection with living things. Nature is something within which we flourish, so having it be more a part of our lives is critical, especially when we live and work in built environments.” (Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2012)
Nature nourishes the soul, increasing your energy and giving you a heightened sense of awareness. Just spending a little bit of time outdoors each day will enhance your sense of well-being and satisfaction.
So, find some way to connect with the Lord’s creation as often as you can:
- Go on a nature hike into the hills or mountains with your family and enjoy a picnic afterwards.
- Bask in the sunshine of a local park while you take your lunch break.
- Plant and cultivate a garden.
- Take the dog for a walk on a daily basis.
- Stroll along the beach squishing wet sand between your toes or better yet, play in the ocean with your kids.
- Lie under big, puffy clouds imagining all sorts of creatures from their shapes, or under a starry sky watching for shooting stars.
- Chase butterflies in the springtime or lightning bugs on warm summer nights
Do whatever you can to take in the natural beauty that surrounds you. It will work wonders for your soul!
This post is excerpted from my book, A Life That Flourishes. Click on image below to purchase.