God’s Feng Shui: Made for Nature

Ps. 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

countryside-2175353__340Imagine that you were able to create a work of art that when people looked at it they recovered from surgery more quickly. Imagine that you sculpted a statue that enhanced people’s memory as they stared at it. As magical and fantastical as that sounds, that is the brilliance of the artistry of God. Somehow, as he crafted the earth he made it so amazing that it resonates within us in fantastic ways.

 

There is fascinating research about our connection to nature and its health benefits. Many of us know how rejuvenating and inspirational a walk in the woods or reflecting by a body of water can be, but it may go beyond simply an appreciation of nature.

 

Several studies examining the interaction between humans and nature concluded that experiences in natural environments can help prevent stress and help heal us from landscape-176602__340stress’ effects. Spending time in nature has a restorative quality. Interestingly, one study found that in an elderly population, actual interaction with nature provided higher satisfaction ratings than simply watching videos or growing plants. Those elderly individuals who had views of actual natural landscapes or lived close to nature environments demonstrated higher degrees of satisfaction. A very well conducted experiment demonstrated that walking in a nature environment actually improved an individual’s memory on short term memory tests and backed up the theory that there are aspects of nature that provide a restorative function for our brains. Another study demonstrated a significantly higher degree of satisfaction among individuals whose apartments had a view of “natural elements.” The large collection of studies in this area show that the benefits connected to interacting with nature range from psychological, cognitive and physical health.

 

The more I learn the more I am amazed at the depth of spiritual truth and of the grace of God. There is a way to live life that is meaningful and restorative, not drudgery and slavery. Many think that God is lording over us with a bunch of rules ready to arbitrarily punish us for disobedience. But there is a “Fung Shui” for our lives and it involves soaking in nature. As we deviate from His plan we suffer. There is a cost when we drift from the path God has planned for us.

 

bee-on-cherry-blossoms-1403010__340In a fashion beyond my understanding, he created a natural world, a living artwork that somehow is designed to restore and help us function better.

 

What does this mean for urbanization? What does it mean for the preservation of the earth? These are large questions, beyond the scope of this blog. But I’d say that wherever you are, make it a point to get out amongst some trees. And whatever your beliefs about global warming, recognize that the issue is much bigger and deeper than that one issue- nature is God’s handiwork too and we were made to function in nature.

 

What has nature meant to you? How has it inspired or restored you?

 

Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of environmental psychology15(3), 169-182.

Talbot, J. F., & Kaplan, R. (1991). The benefits of nearby nature for elderly apartment residents. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development33(2), 119-130.

Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological science19(12), 1207-1212.

Keniger, L. E., Gaston, K. J., Irvine, K. N., & Fuller, R. A. (2013). What are the benefits of interacting with nature?. International journal of environmental research and public health10(3), 913-935.

Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological science19(12), 1207-1212.

 

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