It’s been a few weeks since I wrote to you about my table and how I like a pretty table that is inviting and ready to dine. Well, that just went out of the window this month! Instead, my table has been full of papers that need attention. Demands from everybody, everywhere, throughout everyday, (and my phone doesn’t stop either)…for my time, my money, to give gifts, to make decisions, and to pick my brain about all sorts of things! Now, I do like a good brainstorm session, and like to help people out, but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s the drain of constant bombardment of things that really, in the course of eternity, don’t really matter! I’m not ranting, though it may seem that way. But our lives have become entangled with the seemingly “urgent” to the point that we all respond or react instead of being proactive and intentional. My home, like yours I’m sure, has been negatively invaded. What happened to the peace, rest, and tranquility? It has no longer become a stress-free zone. It is a battleground for sanity and calmness. I can’t even sleep at night for the stressful things running through my mind.
We need to realize that our family, our home, our friendships, our livelihood, and our emotional and spiritual state are all under attack. I believe more now than ever because the days are drawing nigh until Jesus’ return.
What should we do?
The answer is simple but the solution is not as easy.
- First, pray diligently. I mean pray like never before…often…and try praying on your knees! There’s just something special about taking time out to go to the Father on your knees. It reflects intentionality, humbleness, severity, and sincerity. He even tells us to come boldly to the throne! Hebrews 14:16 It is there we will find our help in our time of need. Our trouble first begins when our heart is out of alignment with His.
- Next, begin to create a stress-free environment at home. It should be place of refuge, love, peace, and a place that you want to come home to. It needs to be a place that is inviting and where you can feel the presence of the Lord.
I have a friend whose child I use to teach piano. Each time I would enter her home; a flood of tears would well up. I recognized it has a holy place! I truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Dee’s house was pleasant, orderly, full of love, and a house of prayer. I couldn’t wait to visit there week after week to share in her sanctuary. I think that must be how Jesus felt when he would visit his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Except for the day that Martha began to fuss to Jesus about Mary! I can’t imagine it very tranquil that day. Martha, in her busy and messy kitchen from cooking, let her guard down and envy took over. I’m sure she wanted to be sitting at the feet of Jesus also but was too worried about many things! Jesus had to put her priorities back in order.
I would love to have this sign on the front of my house!
How does one begin to create a stress-free zone?
I’m not an expert, but this is what I have found to be true.
- Eliminate Clutter – one of my biggest sources of stress! When things are out of sorts, I feel like I’m being closed in. I find it difficult to function being distracted by all the things that need attention. Sensory overload causes me to be irritable, snappy, angry, and not a very pleasant person to be around. A simple thing like clearing away the counter or table and filing some papers helps me get back on track. Picking up and clearing out, I take one room at a time…I start with the easiest because I see quick progress and become more encouraged to press on to the next. The things that God does are done decently and in order…thus, we should strive to be like him.
- Add some “Light” - Not only should we let in natural sunlight, we should add more “Sonlight” to our day. Adding light provides a happier and healthier environment. Living in darkness changes our mood and often brings about forms of depression. The light of the sun enables our environment to feel larger, airy, and brighter. Soaking in Sonlight, Jesus, the Light of the world, on a daily basis will shed light on the dark corner’s of our heart. "For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 2 Corin. 4:6
- Bring in Nature – There’s just something about fresh flowers, living plants, and the soft sounds of nature - Whether it is birds singing outside, the trickle of flowing water, or a loving pet snoring in the corner of the room! Kinda reminds me of Adam and Eve’s first home. A garden! And it was good!
- Aroma – The power of smell is amazing! It affects your mood. The area of the brain that processes smell is very close to the part that registers emotion, thus, aromatherapy! Even the smell of baking bread, or a home-cooked meal can bring on sweet memories and a sense of “home!” Lavender and fresh linen are two fragrances that I use to help promote a stress-free environment. My dear friend Dot use to tell me that every home needed fresh flowers, soft lights, and burning candles. That was all that was especially needed when friends come to visit because if makes them feel loved and special. I have found her words to be true! There are a number of verses that deal with the sweet aroma of Christ. Not only should our homes smell good, but we should be the fragrance of Christ to others. I find it interesting that it is smell that most often gets my attention, not what I see or hear! “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life… “ 2 Corinthians 2: 14-16.
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“She carefully watches everything in her household…” Proverbs 31: 27
Our homes are an important sacred place! When I begin to feel like it is simply a whirlwind hotel, that’s when I have to step back and remind myself of the stresses I’m adding to my life and home environment and how that rolls off and plays out on those who enter my home or Brian who lives here too! Tension dominates and my little home becomes a pit of chaos. I find myself not even wanting to go there and the pit just gets bigger and deeper. Not good!
What has your home become to you?
If you are already aware of the battles and fight to protect it, I commend you. Keep fighting because every day is a battle for it! If you are struggling to “get it together” or feel like it is neither a stress-free zone nor place of tranquility, I encourage you to turn it over to the Lord and ask for help. The few suggestions I have written above will also give you a good boost. I might add that when I seek God first, all of the other stresses fall away. There’s just a certain peace that He provides; after all, He IS the Prince of Peace! Invite Him to move in with you while you are here on this earth, to help you with the struggles of daily living. He says He will abide with us.
Let me also encourage you with this little reminder…Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us! It’s the ultimate stress-free zone and full of boundless beauty and peace. No dust bunnies! We will reign there with Him forever one day! He also says that we will abide with Him!
If you need a jump start to restoring order in your home, it first begins with yourself. How can you possibly take care of others and your home when you are depleted, weary, and worn? I encourage you to consider taking time away from the stresses of life and join us for a time of restoration, refreshment, and put a little joy back into your life! Sign up today for the next Restore Retreat, October 10th - 12th. Remember that change first begins within your own heart. Click here for more information.
Working toward a Stree-free zone with the Father's help,