“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – John Lubbock
Has relaxation always been considered lazy? This is not everyone’s philosophy, but it seems like American culture is obsessed with time commitments and getting stuff done. Do we need to accomplish half of the tasks we deem completely necessary? I am not convinced we do. Time constraints matter to the majority of Americans. Most everyone I know lives on some sort of schedule. It is the way our world runs – the way we were taught to live.
Without a plan for our time, it would be virtually impossible for some of us to complete anything worthwhile; so, I am not completely against time constraints. Still, I think most of us would benefit from slowing down our engines and spending purposeful time in the nature God gave us to enjoy.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “He created the iPhone, and saw that it was good” or “He created the television, and saw that it was good.” However, He did create nature and said that it was very good. If God created it and called it good, does it not stand to reason that we would benefit from soaking it in just a little bit more than we do now?
This list only scratches the surface, but below are five reasons I believe spending time in nature can benefit you and your relationship:
- Nature Calms Our Hearts – When is the last time a babbling brook stressed you out, or the shade of a willow tree made your heart race? The stillness and smell of trees and flowers quiets our spirits. A calm heart leads to contentment and calm conversations – two ingredients present in healthy relationships.
- Fresh Air Cleanses Our Minds – We breathe in a lot of junk from being inside all day. Though the earth is not as pure as it was in the Garden of Eden, it still does our hearts and minds good to step outside and breathe deeply. The air is cleaner than the dust filled rooms we dwell in daily. When I am overwhelmed, stepping outside and taking in the outdoor oxygen helps me regroup. (Suddenly, I want to put down the laptop and step outside for a while!) A calm heart and a clear mind sound like the perfect foundation for a special night with those we love!
- Time in Nature Changes Our Perspectives and Reminds Us that God is the Master – The quiet stillness of nature is a reminder that God is in control; and if He can care for the universe, He can care for us. Those “important” tasks do not seem quite as life changing when you look up at the majesty of a mountain or gaze over the vast expanse of the ocean. We realize then that we are but a small part of a magnificent universe. When doing so, does your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s annoying flaw (e.g., knuckle cracking, hair biting, etc.) seem as important in the scheme of everything?
- Working Out Our Bodies Releases Energy and Tension – I have nothing against spending hours in the gym or running on a treadmill in the basement. Those forms of exercise are terrific and certainly valid. However, studies have shown that working out our bodies while spending time in nature not only strengthens our physical health, but our mental and emotional health as well. Personally, I love watching TV while I run on our elliptical, but some days I choose to walk outside simply because I know I need to experience nature. There is a different energy I receive from walking outdoors than running indoors. Both are good, but the one from being outdoors is better. ~wink~ And the less tense I am, the less likely I am to snap at my husband!
- Spending Time in Nature Helps Us Escape the Chaos We Endure Every Day in our Technologically Driven World – Stress is everywhere. We need to unplug and detox our brains. All the mental clutter pushes us away from those we love. Do not think so? Next time you are in a restaurant, notice how many people are staring at their phones instead of their dates. From the time we get up and check our emails to the time we lie down and scroll through Facebook, we are bombarding our brains with information. Enough already! Set your mind free. Go for a jog on a trail. Go on a hike. Kick the soccer ball around in the back yard. Go outside, breathe deeply, and let the technology go for a while. It can ONLY bless you. Seriously. If you are worried about missing an important call, leave your phone with someone who can come get you if there is an emergency.
Even though I sound very pro-outside, I actually would not characterize myself as an outdoor person. However, lately I have become more aware of the need for outside time. I notice how much better I feel when I am able to soak in some sun and fresh air. We do not have to be nature junkies to enjoy creation.
Are you tense? Stressed? Overwhelmed? Does your sweetie think you need to chill? Consider adding a bit more nature time to your agenda. In fact, maybe you should lessen your technology time and increase your running and playing time. The kids across the street from us are always outside riding bikes, playing in the sprinkler, or running around the yard – and it is so encouraging! The great outdoors offers a satisfaction no television or video game ever can!
Consider spending some time – even if just half an hour – with your sweetheart in an outdoor activity this weekend. ~smile~
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:31a, ESV
Do you feel a weekend hike or day trip to the lake coming on?