Bringing Glory to God in Outside Play
Spring is probably my favorite season. The weeks of spring are filled with day after day of comforting warmth on your skin, gentle breezes on your face, and budding beauty everywhere. Nothing puts a smile in my heart like the cheery pleasantness of the spring season, and there is no better time to be able to point your little ones to the One who makes it all possible.
Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” When the warmer spring temperatures beckon my kiddos and me outside, I make every attempt to be intentional about bringing God glory in our playtime. Here are just a few ways I try to make that happen.
1. Simply comment on the beauty around us.
And in the springtime, with all the baby green leaves sprouting from once barren branches and tiny flower faces breathing color and life into the ground, it’s really not hard to do. Just take a minute when you’re outside chasing your son or daughter to say, “Wow! God really made some lovely flowers, didn’t He?” or, “Listen to that beautiful bird song!”, or even, “What a sunny day God made for us!” Just as we take pleasure in hearing compliments and kind words from loved ones, I think it brings great pleasure to our Heavenly Father to know that we recognize and appreciate the beauty He’s created all around us.
2. Sing praise songs while playing.
When my son was a toddler we would spend hours on the backyard swing just chatting and spending time together. One of his most favorite things to do while swinging (besides trying to kick me on his upswing and laughing hysterically anytime he was successful), was to sing. There’s a good chance he learned the alphabet song out there on that swing. But somewhere in the middle of “ABC’s” and “Elmo’s World” I realized that maybe it would be a good idea to incorporate some praise and worship into our swing times. Why not, right?
Some of our favorite outside songs include The Countdown Song (very conducive to explosive swinging), and Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory (The Arky Ark Song), and Thy Word. What songs might be on your list?
3. Praise God with our boo-boos.
Let’s be honest, playing outside and acquiring boo-boos just go hand in hand. With all the climbing and running and bike riding someone is bound to get scraped or bumped or bruised. When my kids get hurt (and after the wailing dies down), as I’m dressing their owie with the obligatory band-aid, I like to remind them that God made our bodies so amazing to heal by themselves over time. Over the course of the next few days we observe a scraped knee going from an irritated red mess to perfectly smooth skin. God is our healer and we can praise and recognize that attribute in our everyday play.
4. Feel free to take great joy in it all.
As our loving Father, I truly believe that the Lord takes great joy when we feel great joy. Just as we love watching our kids giggle and laugh as they roll around outside, I think God loves watching us take joy in these simple pleasures too.
I have to admit that all too often when I’m playing outside with my kids I feel the call to go inside and work – dishes, laundry, the sticky rice mess under the high chair. But when I lay all those things aside and focus on being all-present with my children and entering into their laughter and silliness, I feel a deep sense of joy and love. I think letting myself get lost in the moment of true enjoyment as I spend time with my children outside brings glory to the Father in a very tender way.
1 Timothy 6:7 tells us that God has made everything in this world for us to enjoy. What glory we can bring to our Father, the Creator of the world, when we choose to enter into the sanctuary of praise as we enjoy time outside in His creation– blowing bubbles, playing chase, inspecting bugs – and usher our kids into those sacred moments as well.