Recently a friend commented that she was happily painting things green. Just mentioning green things made me think back to the green bedrooms my oldest and youngest had when they were babies. The walls were baby green – no borders, no contrast. The beautiful green was broken only by sweet wall-hangings scattered around the rooms. How I loved those rooms! I would walk in to them and sense the peace. I loved snuggling down in the glider with my babies, feeding them or rocking them.
It’s amazing how color can influence our emotions. Red hues can excite and energize, sometimes even inciting anger or agitation if the exposure is to great. Yellows tend to promote cheerfulness. Blues (and greens!) encourage calmness.
But colors aren’t the only things that influence us. Circumstances and influences of all sorts affect our emotions, attitude, and responses. Some affect us negatively and others positively. Unfortunately, we can’t perpetually surround ourselves with things like yellows and blues that affect us positively any more than we can always avoid the things that effect us negatively. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we will deal with trouble, persecution, and struggles.
As I ponder something as simple as home décor, however, a though occurs to me. How often do we make it a point to intentionally surround ourselves with positive effects? There are definitely many conditions that are beyond our control, but there are also many within our control. Think about it for a minute…
The condition of our home. Not just the color, but the cleanliness. The neatness. The amount of stuff vs the amount of open space and “breathing room.” Does walking into our homes cause us to grow tense, or do we truly relax as we enter the place we call ours? Now, I’m by no means a good housekeeper, but I do know that less clutter in our home typically does contribute to less agitation and anxiety in our family.
The input from media of all sorts. Movies, television, internet, email, phones. More and more we as a culture are glued to our media. The connectivity is a huge blessing, but when it causes us stress are we willing to step back for the sake of peace?
Relationships. I’m not talking about our spouses and our children. I’m talking about the relationships we choose. Do we surround ourselves with peaceful people? Not just nice people or people who share our interests, but people who truly radiate the peace of God!
Our lifestyles. Are we running ourselves ragged to maintain a lifestyle insisted upon by our culture, or do we plan our days based on God’s choices and direction?
Despite those things that we can’t control, there are many, many things that we can control. Those things make up our foundation. I am reminded of the parable of the wise man who built his house upon the rock as opposed to the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. Neither one could control the weather, and the same ferocious storms hit both houses. But, the foundation determined which house stood.
We can’t control many things that hit our lives. But, what is more frightening is the fact that we neglect to truly consider the impact of the things we can control. If we find ourselves anxious, harried, and swayed by even the lightest of storms – or even by a normal day – maybe we should step back, take stock, and find a way to incorporate a little more green into our lives.