Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

7 Ways Being in Nature Helps You Reconnect with God

deer in beautiful nature landscape by river - Genesis 1 creation story

Sometimes, it takes getting outdoors to clear the mind and get back in touch with ourselves. But it can also be a wonderful place to reconnect with God, too.

Here are seven ways spending time in nature can help your soul refresh and get back on track with the Lord of all creation:

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1. Breath of Life

When we spend time in nature, it gives us a chance to breathe fresh, clean air into our lungs. This reminds us of the beautiful and holy connection we have with God, our Father and our Creator, who knew us before time began and who knitted us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14).

Fresh air often helps us breathe better and deeper. Indeed, breath itself is a gift from God. In Genesis, we are told that God breathed the “breath of life” into our nostrils (Genesis 2:7). Breathing in and out slowly, basking in the pure, clean, fresh, rhythmic flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide, helps center us and relax us. It helps us to simply be in the presence of the Lord and have gratitude for that breath in the life that He gives us.

Allowing ourselves to breathe this way nourishes our bodies—and the whole environment around us.

2. Light of the World

The sunlight on our bodies is another chance to draw closer to God. The Bible tells us that God is the God of all things, and he is most certainly the God of light. In Genesis 1:3-4, we’re told, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”

God established light when there was nothing but darkness; it was formless and empty. He is the light that shines through all space and time, driving out the darkness and bringing love and beauty and truth wherever he is.

As John 1:1-5 declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Sunlight on our skin—whether it is warm or cold outside, whether a cloudless day or filled with damp and gloom—can remind us that we were handcrafted by him. God designed us in his image (Genesis 1:27).

Feeling that life and light upon our bodies is like feeling the touch of God upon us.

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man looking up at night sky stars

3. Among the Multitude

If we’re outside in the evening, often we are able to bask in the cool moonlight and the shimmer of thousands upon thousands of stars all around. The nighttime heavens are another glorious reminder of the vast wonder of all creation.

God made the stars in the heavens and everything surrounding us. The fact that we are one of his many, many creations is a humbling truth we can remember when we are standing beneath the dark cover at night with the stars all around us. We are part of a great multitude, and all of us together celebrate the glory that is the Lord

“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes,” James 4:14 offers.

Given this, how lucky and blessed we are that God loves us. Indeed, he loved us so much that he sent his one and only son to offer us a path to salvation so that we can be with him forever (John 3:16).

4. Our Job as Stewards

Being outside in nature gets us up close and personal with wilderness. So often, we humans crave control, and indeed we do have control over so many things. We create neighborhoods and skyscrapers, roads and shopping plazas. We try our best to tame the earth as though it is just another thing we can control, and we forget that God gives us a special job: to be stewards of the land.

When we are in nature, we’re given a taste of that wilderness, which reminds us that’s what we are — caregivers trying to tend God‘s creation for him. We are his managers, but he is the CEO and the founder and everything else all rolled into one.

We see our place in the world in a better perspective.

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Tiny frog sitting in a person's hand

5. Depend on God

Being surrounded by animals, bugs, and birds, not to mention plants and trees, rivers, streams, and mountains, is another humbling experience. But it’s also an opportunity to take a lesson from these things. They have a beautiful, wholesome, symbiotic relationship with each other. There is an ebb and flow of life and death, give and take, all part of a never-ending circle.

In Matthew 6:25-27, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

We should be like the birds, or as much as we can be—they just depend on God to provide. Being surrounded by these creatures reminds us that we are at our best when we are in true and utter dependence on God.

6. Our Wondrous Bodies

When we are outside in nature, many times we are doing something physical. Perhaps we are hiking, canoeing, or fishing. Perhaps we are simply reclining in a lawn chair outside a tent or RV. And in being more physical, we often become more conscious of our body, our skin, our muscles, the way everything works together.

Sometimes in life we get focused on notions like having the perfect body or being the perfect weight, and we forget to be grateful for what we do have. We forget about all the really wonderful things our bodies can do, even when they’re sick or have so-called flaws or disabilities. Our bodies are just right exactly as they are.

This also reminds us of our mortality—and that this frame we inhabit is merely a shell for the soul. It is here now, but eventually our bodies will die and our souls will be with God in heaven forever and ever. Our bodies are a temple. We should treat ourselves well, with respect, because God created us. We are precious, cherished, and special to him.

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christian love quotes,

7. Listening Well

Lastly, when we are outside, the noise level is different. Often in nature, things are far quieter than they are in a city or suburb or other populated environment. There might be the sound of people talking and playing and laughing, maybe the sound of vehicles and excitement, but there is also the sound of animals scurrying, birds flying, rivers rushing, waves lapping, mountains crumbling, rocks rolling—all the things of life at work all around us.

The noises of creation are different and interesting. We might find ourselves becoming more silent as we open our ears to these new sounds. We learn to listen better, and we learn to listen for God in the big noises and the small.

Just like Elijah when he listened for God and found him not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire but in the gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13), we too might find God in unexpected places, in the silence, in the sounds of nature, wherever we are.

Being in nature is a special gift. Perhaps these reminders will help you draw closer to God whether you spend a lot of time in nature or just an afternoon.

More from this author
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Jessica Brodie author photo headshotJessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at jessicabrodie.com. She has a weekly YouTube devotional, too. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.

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