Nature versus Nurture. Definitely a psychology term, but in case you aren’t familiar, I will define it for you hopefully with simplicity.
Nature vs. Nurture is the debate between environment vs. genetics. Are we influenced and made up of just our genetics or our environmental experiences? Some might argue one or the other, but I personally believe it is both–nature and nurture–that make up a whole individual.
The nature piece of this is thought of as genes, hereditary factors, physical appearance and personality traits (such as brown hair and eyes, timidity, tall stature). The nurture piece involves environmental influences such as: childhood experiences, how we were raised/parenting styles, social relationships and cultural influences (authoritative parenting, trauma or abuse).
With that said, these two aspects make up an individual as a unique being. I believe that we are unique and truly ‘one of a kind’ as God created each one of us individually and He knows each hair on our heads like the grains in the sand. How stinkin’ amazing is that? God chose you, me, and the other believers in the body of Christ specifically for His particular purpose. He has plans for our life to prosper us and not to harm us, but to give us a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11). I find this so humbling. That the Lord chose me! I certainly wouldn’t choose me! LOL!
Moving on from the psychology 101 lesson above (I kid), I’d like to go into the bulk of what the Lord has put on my heart for this entry.
I was on a relatively easy hike (for me at least, my mom would beg to differ) the other day with my mom (whom hasn’t worked out in years), in which we went to a nearby trail that had a beautiful outlook of the city and snow on the mountains in the distance. It was like a breathe of fresh air, but literally, it was breathtaking. Brownish-green mountains in the background, fresh, crisp air with a cool breeze, bright sunshine and faint laughter of others in the distance. Other than that, everything was still. So quiet, so peaceful to the point to which you could hear your own footsteps in the dirt. To be able to escape everyday responsibilities and unplug from the fast-pace lifestyle that we all live within, felt and feels so incredibly relieving. It felt as though a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Because it certainly was. Deep breaths in and deep breaths out. Exhale. Inhale. Clean, fresh air and beautiful scenery. It doesn’t get much better than that. It is the simple things in life that amaze me….
By the look on my mom’s face, she looked instantly defeated as she looked ahead at the trail we were about to walk up. I observed the switch of emotions on her face from peace to disbelief. At this moment, I realized this is what we encounter with the concept of difficulty. We can either choose to remain in faith and trust in His truth and promises or we can take on disbelief and not allow the Lord to demonstrate His faithfulness. Tell the devil, NOT TODAY! NOT TODAY, SATAN! This is where we get to make such a powerful choice, do we run to God or do we run away from God? I’m so guilty of doing this where I allow my disbelief to control me rather than surrendering the problem to God and leaving it in His hands. They say when you leave EVERYTHING in God’s hands we will see His hands in EVERYTHING. But there are also times when I walk by faith and not by what I see as a current circumstance, and let me just say I am so glad I told the devil, “NOT TODAY, NOT TODAY AND NOT ME!” We are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ and when we surrender we allow Him to drive from the driver seat and we remain faithful by riding in the passenger seat. I have NEVER, EVER been disappointed when I allow the Lord to take full control. After all, He already has all the control, but it is a matter of allowing Him our “power and control” in order to watch Him work. He has never failed me yet! And I’m certain He has never failed you, either. And I know He never will because that is just the God we serve.
While walking on the trail, I came across a rock at the start of the hike that had a large eye painted on the front of it. “Beautiful artwork,” I thought. But what came to mind instantaneously was the beauty and natural appearance of the rock itself. Not just the painting, but the beautiful texture of the rock, the size, the shape and the being of the rock. Getting lost in the beauty nature has to offer, as I walked on through the trail, I realized just how much of nature I truly miss out on being inside all the time and not taking the time to appreciate God’s amazing creations. This is the choice I get to make daily. And sadly, I have chosen not to be active within my environment and the beautiful scenery that exists just outside my home.
My being, just being present, in the moment, and on the trail–nature–intersects with the beauty of the environment around me and the senses that I use to experience the world that I am in–nurture–is a great real life illustration of what nature vs. nurture is. It is in our every day life that we have the opportunity to explore nature and appreciate what God has given us by taking a step into our environment and truly experiencing our surroundings. Being still. Being sound. Just being. I talked about this in my self-care entry, but this is such an important part of life in which we disconnect from every day life hustle and bustle and take time for ourselves and being present just in that moment. Simply noticing ourselves and our being in nature or whatever environment we may choose to be in. Maybe it is a candlelit bath, maybe a pedicure, maybe breakfast in bed, or maybe simply just reading while lying on the couch. Whatever you choose, make sure that you repeat this often in order to properly de-stress and appreciate God’s amazing different aspects of life. We are human and are not just made to, GO GO and GO!
The reason why I tried to build a visual above of the trail my mom and I experienced the other day was not to tell you that I went on a hike. Or make you jealous of the nature I experience. Or the nurturing time I had with my mom. But to point out the discouragement that my mom faced when looking at the trail up ahead. The instant disbelief that she “couldn’t do it.” The instant determination that “she wasn’t strong enough.” The instant decision to allow the enemy to decide what kind of experience she was going to have rather than what she would choose to have. Now, this may be a result of some of her genetic predisposition as well as her past experiences, but overall she allowed her mind to dominate rather than taking the control and bombarding those thoughts with those of strength and determination. I know this is hard in the moment and quite honestly it was rather difficult to convince my mom she “could do it,” but instead, it just took a little encouragement from me but more so her ability to put one foot in front of the other and hike up the trail as if her mind didn’t even try to take her down that rabbit trail. This describes our ability to retract what the enemy tries to tell us and replacing it with what God tells us.
This is how nature plays into nurture and how it affects our every day life. God also intervened supernaturally and nurtured us—that is, if we allow Him to. he is our nurturer and will supply you of your self-care needs beyond anything you can fathom. Think about these things…When was the last time you allowed the enemy to ruin your experience? When was the last time you fought back and decided that you would not allow your past experiences (nurture) to affect the current situation because of your genetics (nature)? I encourage you to ask yourself and reflect upon this while you listen to the songs below…enjoy!
Remember, you are never alone. You always have options, you always have community. And God is always, always there! Just call upon Him!