I like to hike and write. I am often asked if I hike all the time? I wish I could, because it is a tremendous stress reliever for me. I typically hike about 3 or 4 days a month. When I am not at the church, I spend most of my weeks visiting people in hospitals and assisted living facilities. I am really thankful to get the opportunity to pray with people and encourage them when things aren’t going well for them, or when they get good news I love to celebrate with them. For instance, just the other day, I visited several people who had discouraging news about their health issues, I encouraged them by listening to them, reassuring them with some scripture, and praying with them and told a funny story to cheer them up. Next, I visited a happy young couple, welcoming their first child into their family. I see the emotional highs and lows with people on a regular basis. I also help out families with funerals. Recently, I had 5 in one week. I help lead a Grief Share class … all of this takes a lot of emotional energy.
That is why I like to hike and to get outdoors and explore God’s beautiful creation. it recharges my emotional batteries. It gives my mind a mental break and my lungs fresh air and even clears my head and declutters the junk in my thought life.
In the stillness, looking over the mountains or by a mountain stream, there is such an overwhelming calm and peace that floods your soul. It is here, in the sanctuary of God’s creation that you can quiet the noise of your life and refocus and recharge. As you pray and reflect on what is really important, you sense God’s presence and He speaks to you in a quiet but very powerful way. Experts call it the “Biophilia” effect, describing how we as human beings, when we get outdoors and experience nature, it has a therapeutic and emotionally healing impact upon us. John Muir, a prominent influence in establishing our national parks said this almost a century ago..”Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” I’m so thankful to God, our Creator for every time I get to experience that. It is just another way He shows His love for all mankind. He is the source of every blessing we experience. I’m reminded of this important truth from the Bible..”I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from the mountains? No, it comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.” – Psalm 121:1-2 (MSG)
I also like to take photos on my hikes. I may take 30 to 50 photos on just one hike. Then I like to share some of those photos, one at a time on social media usually with a encouraging quote or Bible verse. There is so much negativity in our world, I would rather share some uplifting things that encourages others. I’m amazed how many people tell me that what I have shared in this way, has helped and encouraged them. I love these words I saw on a hiking trail sign…”Leave nothing but footprints, Only take pictures, Don’t kill anything but time.” For me, it is always time well spent, a brief but effective mental and emotional break from the crazy world we live in…Happy Trails Y”all! JBear