Get outside. In my fogginess and fatigue I heard this message. It's been a lot lately and I have felt the overwhelm. This morning it was a feeling of stuck.
Stuck. Stuck in small spaces. Stuck in fears and worries. Stuck inside- my mind and a hotel room.
Get outside. Outside is open. Open space. Open mind. Open heart. Outside creates space to bye curious, to explore, to get perspective.
It’s hot. It’s humid. Get outside, anyway. In whatever place and state you find yourself today maybe this is a message for you toady, as it is for me.
Nicodemus got outside. Outside his familiar, his comfort zone, his places or power and prestige. He got outside in the dark of night- fearful? Ashamed? Uncomfortable? He knew somethings about Jesus and yet it didn’t make sense. He couldn’t wrap his mind and comprehend how this teacher from God, Jesus, could do these things outside the presence of God.
Nicodemus’ curiosity got him outside his familiar. Nicodemus tries to use logic, reason, his past points of reference to understand what Jesus is saying. It doesn’t work. Nicodemus is confounded. He cannot wrap his mind around what Jesus is saying. He needs to get outside of what he thinks he already knows.
It was his heart that was needed to experience Jesus. Nicodemus needed to get outside his mind. Jesus comes as the presence of God inviting Nicodemus to enter into a relationship with him. When Jesus called his followers he invited them to follow and fish, to follow and share a meal with outcasts and outsiders , to drop everything they are doing and come along for the journey. And on and on and on we read the examples in our scripture- the invitation is to action- to follow.
Get outside. Letting go of how they have understood or expected life to be- followers of Jesus are invited into a relationship with Jesus that will take them outside. Jesus is inviting Nicodemus outside what Nicodemus can wrap his mind around and into a depth of love that will expand Nicodemus’ heart beyond what his mind could comprehend. Eternal life.
Eternal life. Even as we have words to describe some things they are truly incomprehensible to our minds; consider “infinity”, the love of God that will never let us go, God’s grace which is an absolutely free gift, losing your life to save it, being born from above….
Get outside. To take this in, we need to get outside. Outside of thinking we need to earn or deserve God's love and a relationship with Jesus. Outside of thinking God’s grace and love are limited or only for some people. Outside our fears of not being able to make sense of it. Getting outside can mean we stop trying to double down on logic, study, and explanation. We get outside of our minds and go into that heart space that is already in us. Created by God, in God’s image, for God’s love -we open our hearts to consent. We allow our curiosity, our desperation, our hopes, our fears, our desires…to admit we are powerless and in need of the gift that is ever present- God’s presence.
“How can these things be?” Nicodemus asked. Come and see, follow me, sit and eat at a table with me, let go of what you have been doing and join me in doing something new…. Jesus’ answer is an invitation into relationship. An invitation to an eternal life relationship in the here and now, not only for a hereafter.
Always open and available when I get outside - there is the fresh air, the changed perspective, a different voice than the one in my head. The wind blows outside and there is something fresh. I don’t understand it and yet I feel it.
Even when I am physically stuck inside I take that deep breath. Focusing on one breath it takes me outside. The Yahweh breath helps, I catch the pause, the space. One deep breath and then the next, it’s the outside that is inside each one of us. The power and presence of God available in each breath. Here now and no where else- it’s an inside outside paradox. It’s the connection of heart with a mindfulness use of the mind which is open to that which is mystery.
Get outside. I heard that message this morning and it got me to write these words. If this is a message that you need to hear may it come to you as an invitation to get outside to whatever outside will lead you inside to a deepened connection and relationship with this teacher from God- whose very Spirit is present in you all the time and is the power and presence of a love beyond what our minds could ever comprehend for which our hearts are designed.
Today hear this as invitation; Get outside.
**A final- note we often need the accompaniment and encouragement of one another to “get outside”. This is also part of how we are created; we need and are connected to one another. When you need some particular help and encouragement for someone to walk along side you here is a suggestion for a great resource; make the connection for the Nature Connected Coach Sheri Peterson who may be just the person who can help you “get outside”.