I think “spacious” might have been the Weekend One Word in the past, but I couldn’t help but choose it again this week. I read these words in The Message yesterday morning, and I knew I had the perfect photo to accompany them from a walk I took with Noah out on the prairie last weekend.
These words got me thinking about how I pay attention, or don’t pay attention, to God. For me, God’s presence is more readily accessible when I go small, still, and quiet. I don’t necessarily like to stop. My productivity-driven personality constantly urges me to stay busy. But I’ve learned, particularly in the past year, that when I fill much of the white space in my life with social media, and when I let my to-do list be the boss of me, my soul suffers.
Giving myself the gift of time and space, especially time spent out in nature, every day, even if only five minutes, is critically important for my spiritual health. Lifting my eyes and broadening my mind from the confines of my to-do list and the narrowness of social media to the expansive spaciousness of the greater world around me helps to infinitely broaden my perspective. I simply cannot stand in the middle of a tallgrass prairie, surrounded by land and sky, or even in the middle of my own backyard beneath the gently bowed branches of the river birch tree, and not feel immeasurably lighter, smaller (in a good way) and more free. Paying attention to his creation is one of the ways I pay attention to God. Being outdoors is, literally and spiritually, my spacious place.
You might very well be drawn to a different way of paying attention to God. Maybe for you it’s connecting in person with a close group of friends. Or singing praises with your church community on Sunday morning. Or serving supper to the homeless at your local shelter. Whatever it is, you’ll recognize it as a place and way you connect with God because of the way it makes you feel — not confined, not pressed in, not weary, but open, spacious, and free.
I hope you are able to spend time in that place this weekend, friends. Give that gift to God and to yourself.