So, last weekend I was away at a retreat at one of my favourite places to be . . . the camp that I went to for years as a camper and then worked at for a few summers. There's so many memories there for me. Some of the biggest decisions in my life were either made while I was there or heavily influenced by the time I spent there.
While I was there, I started to think about why the camp had such a huge impact on my life. I realized that it's because it's a place where I have seemed to hear more clearly from God than I do in other places. Partly, I think, because a week of summer camp or a weekend church retreat is so focused around God. But, there's more to it than that.
When I'm away and in a place where I'm surrounded by nature, I find it so much easier to hear what God has to say. I'm removed from the distractions of work or TV or computer, yes. But, I'm also removed from being surrounded by man-made structures and concrete. This made even more sense to me as I thought about the last few months, when I've been finding it more difficult to hear from God. I moved out of my parents' house (finally!) . . . but I also moved from nature being just outside the back door, to living in an apartment building. I no longer look out my window and see trees and nature right there. I'm not far away from nature . . . it is only about a 10-15 minute walk (or shorter drive) to a beautiful park with trails to walk . . . but when I'm sitting in my living room reading my Bible, it's not the same as when it's just outside my window.
And, the way God has created me, I need to be appreciating nature and away from the "city" to really hear from Him. When I see the beauty of what God has created and realize how much He must care to have put that kind of attention to detail into it all, I seem to be in a place where I'm more willing to be quiet and just listen to what He might have to say to me.