From time to time, my husband arrives home and I’ll ask him, “So, is it really hot out there today?” and he’ll respond, “I don’t know. I was in an air conditioned office all day.” This happens surprisingly often. It’s kind of sad that between the two of us we don’t spend enough time outside to know the weather!
I know this isn’t that uncommon, especially where we live, home of the sixty hour workweek (if you’re lucky). Now that the days are getting shorter, many people leave for work while it’s still dark, stay in an office all day, and get home after the sun has set. We are literally insulated from the world around us.
I’d venture to say everyone understands how incredible nature is. That’s why places like the Grand Canyon are packed with tourists year round, all snapping their own inadequate pictures to try and take home that sense of majesty. We know we’re missing out by staying in. The sad part of this, other than being vitamin D deficient, is that the Bible says we’re missing out on something even greater.
1The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens
and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
By remaining insulated from the natural world, we miss out on the chance to see God’s fingerprints all around us. Creation points us to its (our) creator and teaches us about who he is (see Romans 1:20). With that in mind, this week’s flourishing Friday is going to take us outside.
1) Start by setting aside time, a good hour or so, where you can be outdoors. It doesn’t have to be Yosemite [though you should totally go sometime, if you’ve never been]; going for a walk or sitting in a park will work. You can also grab your kids to come along with you. Sometimes seeing the world through their eyes shows us something we would have missed.
2) At the beginning of your time, read Psalm 19:1-6. Take a moment to pray that you would see the glory of the Lord in his creation before you set out.
3) As you walk (or sit), pay attention to the world around you. What do you see? Feel? Smell? Hear? Really take note of creation with your senses [though it goes without saying you should be cautious about putting stuff you find in your mouth 😉 ]. Also, look around. There’s stuff above you, under your feet, on both sides. Take it in!
4) When something in particular stands out to you, stop and pay special attention to it. Why is it standing out to you? If you can, try to experience it with more than one sense. For instance, if you were struck by what you saw, try touching it or smelling it. If you were struck by a scent, find its source and lean in to study it.
5) As you look closely, pray and ask the Holy Spirit why you were drawn to that particular thing. Ask what it reveals about the Lord, our Creator. How does that characteristic of God matter in your life in this season? Take your time with this step and prayerfully listen.
6) As you end your time, pray in response to what you’ve experienced. Read Psalm 148 and join in worshiping the Lord with all of creation.
Note: sometimes we set aside time and nothing happens. No great epiphany. No life-changing revelation. Don’t force it. Just enjoy the time you set aside and continue praying as you go on with your day for eyes to see the glory of the Lord. Check out this post for my experience with this.
May you have eyes to see our Creator and a heart that responds in worship for our Lord and King Jesus.