So.. we have seen that it is so important to work on establishing routines and basic management strategies to our home life. This helps to create a safe, secure, predictable, calm, and comfortable atmosphere in which to live the life of home.
I do know that it is our duty to remain in control of our emotions and to bring our own sense of calmness to situations. I am not saying that we should be creatures totally controlled by our environments. Even if major upsets occur and there is no way to gain anything which even resembles routine and order, we can still create atmosphere with our attitudes. This concept will be much more developed in later posts. Right now, I am just showing how much the environment affects us and how we can stack the odds in our favor by being purposeful to create a positive atmosphere for ourselves and those we love.
Also, please remember… I am not trying to stack bricks on already weary shoulders. I know how hard many Christian families have it and I am not trying to make it harder. I am realistic. I know that seasons come and go. You may not be able to implement any of this right now, but read anyway. Someday things will change and you will be ready to make the most of it. Relationships with God and family are more important than schedules, clean floors, and pretty living rooms. I am just trying to show that a Christian can do much to infuse the home life with vitality, creativity, and purpose by considering and being proactive about the atmosphere you provide for your loved ones.
So… on to decor. As I mentioned in the last post, this doesn’t refer to style – cottage or victorian for example. What I mean is how does the environment of our home – it’s wall, floors, surfaces, furnishings, appliances, lighting, etc… influence us? How do these elements portray us to the world?
Let’s break our home environment down into 5 areas using the 5 senses. Over the next several posts we will dicuss the effects of what we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste in our homes and how this affects the atmosphere of the home and the lives of all living in it and stopping in to visit.
We’ll start with sight as that seems an obvious one. How does the eye “fall” on the things of our home? Is there purpose to the color scheme? Do the colors compliment the rest of the home? Do they compliment the members of the home? Are they overly feminine? Too bold? Too neutral? What about the items hung on the walls? Do they have meaning? Are they truly enjoyed or even noticed by the members? What image/worldview do these items conjure up for those that look upon them? How many distractions are seen to keep the eyes so busy that they can not relax? Does the home give the appearance of being lived in, cared for, tended? Does it look sterile and empty? Does it seem cluttered and forgotten?
If a stranger were to take a walk through your home without you there, what inferences would this person easily make about those living in the home? Would they consider you neat, organized, educated, artistic? Would they assume you to be Christian? Would they have a sense of your hobbies, passions, priorities? Would they want to come back? Would they want to get to know you better?
Now, hopefully none of us have strangers traipsing through our homes when we are not there! However, our loved ones are there quite often as are invited and sometimes uninvited! guests. Do we care what they think? More importantly, do we care what they feel when they are soaking up our home atmosphere?
Let us be purposeful to create pleasing images for the eyes of those in our home.
We have the ability to affect mood by lighting. Is it harsh? Is there enough natural light or is it all artificial? Have we thought about where the lighting is? Do the necessary tasks have appropriate lighting? Does lighting suggest warmth? Do we influence mood by adjusting lighting for quiet times, sick family members, rest? What about candles? Are the light fixtures themselves attractive to the eye? Do they convey our sense of taste and style?
Is family and family history important? We can create a sense of the history of bonds and emotional ties through the use of photographs.
Have we given any consideration to the artwork or lack there of? Is it noble? Offensive? Do we give the eyes in our home something to look at the lends inspiration, encouragement, or solace? Do our walls speak truth about who we are, whose we are, and what we believe?Are there more posters on your walls than scripture? Do the little ones in our home feel that they have made contributions to the visual atmosphere, that they have some piece in it, some influence, that their creations matter?
Color, light, balance, proportion, and perpective do much to affect our atmosphere.
Think about a place you have been- a home, preferably- in which you felt warm, important, comfortable, inspired. See it in your mind’s eye. What was it about the “look” of the place that lent itself to these emotions? Yes, of course, I hope it was the people and the relationships in that home that truly moved you to keep it in remembrance. But, if you think about it, I feel sure that you will see some elements that “spoke without speaking” to your heart. These things gave it atmosphere.
It may be a mansion or a simple, sparsely furnished cabin, but one common element in all places of real “atmosphere” is forethought. Someone thought enough of those that would live in that environment that they made it a place of good”atmosphere”.
Take some time to prayerfully walk through your home. Note the things that visually lend themselves to the atmosphere you hope to portray. Note what does not. Begin making an effort to change what you can to give those in your home that special feeling that you thought about what they would see and how it would make them feel.
Now a word of caution! Don’t allow this to cause you to resent your home and feel dissatisfaction to the point of despair. Don’t be overly critical. Think it through before making major changes. Slow and steady is best. Give it time and prayer. Don’t become depressed and charge up all your cards to redecorate. That is not the point. Try to see your home through another’s eyes and see this as an exciting opportunity to use your home as a tool to minister to hearts. Rome was not built in a day, as they say! Home atmosphere takes time to develop, but if you are purposeful and passionate you will succeed in something far greater than Roman architechture – and something far more eternal.
Next time we explore the sounds of the home atmosphere!