Friday, April 22nd, was Earth Day. As a Christ-follower, I love God’s creation and when given the opportunity, I enjoy being out in nature—despite my worsening allergies—walking along trails, amid the trees, listening to the sounds of wildlife. In our suburban oasis, you’ll encounter squirrels, birds, ducks, and the occasional bobcat and coyote.
I attended a conference for a course in agile project management that I am pummeling through this Spring. The internet-based mini-conference focused on the environment and sustainability—specifically how agile approaches can positively impact sustainability. Like any good citizen, I want to steward God’s creation well. Tending to the garden, after all, was humanity’s first job. Therefore, we should care about the environment and the world we live in.
What is sustainablity? In a broad sense, sustainability focuses on stewarding our resources to meet our needs today without negatively compromising the resources to meet the needs of future generations.
Studies show that being out in nature is good for the soul. A recent hospital report stated that patients who had access to a window that allowed them to see the trees outside healed at a faster rate than those who were laid up in a room with four solid walls. A daily walk can increase bone density. Spending time outside reduces anxiety, blood pressure and a host of other stress-induced ailments.
One of my simple practices of self care involves pulling up a chair on our backyard patio with a cup of coffee and my Bible and spending time with the Lord.
In recent months, I’ve taken an increasing interest in creating a spiritual garden—a healing garden—that helps provide a space of peace and opportunity to process the wounds and hurts of the day. I hope for it to be a place of prayer. I dream it would be a place to sit with God, in His presence, and heal from the wounds living in this broken world inevitably brings to our doorstep. You don’t have to work in ministry to recognize the brokenness of this world, our temporary home.
The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.Genesis 2:15 (NLT)
Naturally, I wondered what are the key elements of a spiritual garden?
Gardens, I discovered, mirror our innermost being. They remind us of our youthful innocence and serve as a reminder of the source of our happiness. Gardens reflect growth, especially that growth rooted deep within our souls. Like our gardens, we must tend to our souls if we are to thrive and flourish spiritually in a deep, meaningful way with God.
Of course, a healthy spiritual garden needs blooms and flowers. A water feature is also a key element of a spiritual garden that creates an environment inviting serenity. It might be decorated with spiritual stones engraved with a key scripture to remind us of the goodness of God. Above all, a spiritual garden must give us a sense of prayerfulness and safety, set apart from the clanging world outside.
I began blogging in 2008, shortly after dedicating my life to Christ in October 2007. The name of my first blog was Joshua’s Hope. Primarily, I saw blogging as a vehicle to share the gospel and as an opportunity to draw people closer to Jesus. A lot has happened since pounding out my first post many laptops ago.
I launched The Devotional Guy™ near the end of 2013, shortly before our 23 year old niece Natalie died. Her death informed and influenced the direction of my writing, especially here on my blog. I pray that remains true to this day as I approach publishing my 1,000th post on this blog,
Be real. Write authentically. God is greater than a few simple platitudes. The journey of our life, physically and spiritually, is just downright hard at times. You need Jesus.
May God bless you and keep you. May He shine His favor upon you.
The Devotional Guy™
To experience life the way God intended, you and I must receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. This gift from God is available to all who ask. Will you personally receive the gift of eternal life so that you can experience the total forgiveness from your sins that come through believing in the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
For nothing will be impossible with God.