Sometimes you hit a patch of life when things are hectic and challenging. You hardly have time to move from one activity to the next while navigating unexpected crises. Fears and anxiety crowd your thoughts, jockeying for position, and stringing together coherent sentences is as difficult as smiling and acting interested while someone tells you what a bad day they’ve had because of some insignificant thing.
When life comes at you hard and fast, take a look out the window. Go for a walk. Spend 30 minutes on your deck or porch. Look. Listen. Observe. Allow nature to soothe and calm.
Here are six significant takeaways from nature:
Expect Periods of Ebb and Flow
Tides rise and recede. The moon waxes and wanes. Seasons change. Nature is fluid with periods of growth and change, and times of dormancy. Like nature, life has periods of ebb and flow, times when your emotions are heightened, happiness is elusive, and sorrow overshadows. But there are also seasons of growth, accomplishment, health, wealth, and joy. Learn to move with the flow of life.
Harsh Realities Exist
Early morning finds hawks circling our backyard, landing on branches, calling to each other, perhaps with instructions on which unsuspecting creature to target next. In the street carrion birds clean the pavement of recent road-kill. Unpleasant to observe and think about, yet it is the way of nature.
Harsh realities exist in life. We aren’t promised Utopia, and are, in fact, told in scripture to expect difficulties and trials. Maintaining forward motion depends on your response and your ability to look for, and see, positives in your situation.
Nourishment is Required for Growth
Everyone knows water and food are required to sustain life—both plant and animal. But what many fail to realize is the need to nourish creativity and spiritual growth. While you can exist without feeding these areas of life, you are much less equipped to cope with life challenges when these areas are undernourished. Make it a priority to do something that feeds your creativity, whether engaging in art, music, writing, or crafts. Make spiritual growth an even greater priority through Bible study and prayer. Answers often come during times of creative engagement or quiet contemplation and prayer.
Storms Come, but Calm Follows
Often storms build over a period of time. You hear a distant rumble of thunder, but then question if it was something like engine noise because the sun is still shining. As time goes on, a haze dampens the light. Clouds roll in. The wind picks up and intermittent rain drops fall. Then, the heavens open, and a deluge ensues.
Some storms brew at the edge of awareness, yet never reach us. If you allow anxiety and fear to take over, they will overwhelm, paralyzing with needless worry. Be prepared. Don’t ignore a coming storm, but also don’t allow a potential disturbance to consume you. It may end up blowing over.
Sometimes in life storms pop up out of nowhere. The day starts out in a normal pattern, but then you get a phone call, text message, or experience a health event and everything changes. You want to go back to the normalcy of before, but the storm is there, intense, unrelenting. Hang on. Don’t give up. The storm you are in the middle of now will dissipate. Clearing and calm are ahead. Normal may be new and different, but God is the whisper amid the storm and afterwards in the calm.
Stillness and Quiet are Beneficial
Years ago, my husband and I went to Scotland. We stayed at a bed and breakfast on the shore of Loch Lomond. I’ll never forget the serenity of waking up to the view of sunrise on the glassy expanse that filled the whole window, so close it almost touched the back of the building. The tranquility was mesmerizing, sweeping away any thoughts of urgency or anxiety with a soul-calming balm.
Perhaps nothing is more serene than still water—a lake at sunrise or the ocean on those rare occasions when there is a waveless, noiseless incoming tide. Great benefit exists in periods of stillness and quiet, yet they must be fought for in today’s world. Make the effort. Factor in periods of quiet stillness to refresh and recharge.
Some Things Remain Constant
When life brings challenges, it hard to avoid feeling everything have been turned upside down. But some things remain constant in nature, and in life, no matter what comes. Gravity never takes a vacation, allowing you to float instead of our feet staying firmly planted on the ground. You can count on the sun rising and setting as it has since the beginning of time. Likewise, you can always count on God’s love. While circumstances and satan may tempt you to believe God has abandoned you, rest in the knowledge that He is eternal, unchanging, and will faithfully see your through seasons of uncertainty and challenge.
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4 NLT)