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As I sit down to write this article, I am tired.  Not physically tired so much as mentally tired.  My mind is overloaded with things I need to do, problems I need to solve, things in the world that are not as they should be.  My enneagram personality type is enneagram 1, which is often called the “Reformer” or “Perfectionist.” Both of those names fit me well, because I am constantly aware of how things could be improved at home, at church, in myself, and in the world.  And I not only see the need, I also feel compelled to do all the improving - perfectly!  It is exhausting.

Whether or not you can relate to my version of tiredness, I’m sure you have your own.  We all experience getting mentally and spiritually run down.  Whether from busy family schedules, the fatigue of worrying about someone you love, being worn down from negative news cycles, or even loneliness…we all get tired.  In my life, one of the best treatments for this type of spiritual fatigue is to go outside and observe nature.  Taking some time to watch the clouds, listen to the birds, watch the leaves blowing in the wind, or take in a sunset can clear away the clutter in my mind and fill up my soul. 

This week my family is taking a vacation to Colorado and we will spend most of our time hiking, sitting by mountain streams, or just marveling at the beauty of the Rocky Mountain skyline.  This is a life-giving time that feels holy - communing with God in nature.  Anytime I sit and observe God’s creation, my breathing changes, my shoulders relax, and my thoughts slow down and untangle.  Observing the beauty of God’s creation restores and feeds my spirit in a way that nothing else can.

Time away on vacation is a gift for which I am very grateful, but it is not the only time I experience the holiness of God in nature.  I also experience glimpses of this holiness when I find moments or minutes to stop and notice nature wherever I am - taking a walk, sitting at a park, noticing the birds singing on my way to the mailbox, stopping to watch the trees out my window, or taking a phone call outside where I can look at the sky.  Especially when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed or tired, these small moments of paying attention to nature can make a world of difference.

Living in the city we spend most of our time separated from nature and so we have to seek it out and make time for it.  During these warm summer months, especially if you are tired, I invite you to make some time to commune with God in nature.  Even if it is only a few moments at a time, making space and time to observe God’s good creation can be just what you need to fill you up and restore your soul.