Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Eleven Ways To Make Your Home More Peaceful

"...seek peace and pursue it."
I Peter 3:11
(NIV)

What does it mean to have a peaceful home?
Does having a peaceful home mean there will never be a problem? 
No disagreements,
never a difference of opinion,
zero financial hardship, no sickness, and never an adverse circumstance?
Does it mean that life is one long, blissful string of blessings, with never a care?
Does it mean our feathers never get ruffled,
our feelings never get hurt,
and we wake up to sunshine every morning?

Anyone who has lived very long at all knows that life is chock full of problems,
disagreements, differences of opinion, financial distress, illness, adversity,
worries, things that anger us, wounds to our feelings,
and lots of rainy days. 

God didn't promise us the absence of trials and tribulations.
In fact, His Word tells us to expect them, because they will come.
It is not a matter of "IF" they will happen, it's "WHEN".

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, 
as though some strange thing happened unto you..."  I Peter 4:12

"That no man should be moved by these afflictions:
 for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto."  I Thessalonians 3:3

Jesus' brother James even took it a step further and told us to be joyful when trials come.

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations..."  James 1:2

I remember when Kevin and I first got married,
I had so much to learn.
We were so in love.
Somehow, I fancied this notion that life itself was just plain rosy.


Soon after our wedding and honeymoon, an onslaught of reality set in.
I began dealing with health issues that were beyond my control.
Kevin began having health issues of his own that kept me in a near-constant state of worry.
Dad suffered a massive heart attack and had to undergo open heart surgery, 
which resulted in Mom and Dad losing their place and moving in to live with us while he recovered.
The four of us lived together in a 2 bedroom apartment for six months.
Kevin's Mom was diagnosed with cancer and ended up in the hospital in WV,
at the same time Dad was hospitalized in FL, where we lived.
Family members began to die, including my brother-in-law, Richie,
who was more a brother to me than a brother-in-law.
The reality that I was very infertile and not at all likely to ever conceive a baby of our own
began to settle down over me with a dull, sickening thud of defeat.
Cars broke down, we both encountered difficult situations in our jobs,
and finances were sometimes tight.
There are many, many more things I could mention.
Couldn't we all?
Some things are just too personal and private to be shared.

I can't really tell you the defining moment when the light bulb finally came on,
and I came to the full realization that life is not just plain rosy.
That I might as well stop sweating the small stuff.
That I might as well settle in to the idea that problems happen.
Cars break down.
Sickness strikes.
People die.
Wombs are sometimes barren.
Life is very short and rushes by at an alarmingly fast rate of speed,
and making money is not all that important...
especially if you are in a job you really dread going to every day.

I can't say when I finally accepted these things,
but I can say that once I did...once I not only accepted these facts of life,
but that I expected them....I discovered a wellspring of peace.

Over 25 years later, Kevin and I are still so in love.
Even more so than way back then.
Our love is deeper now.
It reaches so many more dimensions...it has survived some treacherous storms.
It is stronger, having been tested on many levels and from multiple angles.

Through it all, I have learned what it means to live in and create a peaceful home.
I have learned the precious secret that much of having a peaceful home
has to do with having a peaceful heart.

A peaceful home is confronted with the same challenges as any other home.
It isn't the absence of storms that makes a home more peaceful.
It is the Anchor that holds the home fast while the storm rages.

So, for what it's worth,
 here's my list of eleven suggestions for the making and maintaining of a peaceful home.


#1.  Make sure you have the right Anchor on board.
If what grounds you is anything or anyone other than the Rock, Christ Jesus,
the peace in your home is not secure.
Because people are human.
They err.
They have faults.
They fail.
If you build your home on the Rock, your Anchor will hold in the strongest storms of life.
And storms of life will come...no doubt about it.
Keep the Anchor on board, allow Him to be sovereign over all you say and do,
keep Him at the forefront, let Him hold the reins, allow Him to lead,
and your home...and heart...will be full of peace.
Guaranteed.


#2.  Learn the fine art of compromise.
So what if you want to paint the living room a soothing taupe, and your spouse insists on pumpkin orange?
Is it really, really all that important?
100 years from now, will it matter?
Go ahead and cave once in a while.
Compromise is a wonderful antidote for pride, selfishness, and stubbornness.
And the smile it brings to your spouse's face is so worth it.


#3.  Let someone else have the last word.
Seriously.
Is it really that important to always prove your point?
No one can stand being around a "know-it-all".
Remember that the opinions of others have merit, too,
and they want to be heard just as much as you do.
Stop and listen, and you will be amazed how much peace it brings to just let it go.
Diffuse tension by swallowing words that are better left unsaid.


4.  Expect adversity.
The car is going to break down...eventually.
Junior is going to need new glasses...sooner or later.
The refrigerator you've had since you got married has not discovered the fountain of youth, 
and it will most definitely need to be replaced...one of these days.
There's a good chance that little Susie will need braces...probably within a year.
Expecting adversity does not in any way equate to having an Eeyore-like, pessimistic outlook.
It doesn't mean you walk around under a continual cloud just waiting for the next bad thing to happen,
making everyone within half a mile of you completely miserable.
It means that when the dryer makes a loud boom and you see smoke billowing out of it,
you don't go all to pieces and imagine it is the end of the world,
throw a tantrum, and create an uproar that affects everyone else in the household.
It means when your child comes to get you in the middle of the night,
vomiting all the way from your room to the bathroom,
saturating your brand-new, freshly-laid carpet in the process,
you don't land in a heap at the foot of the toilet verbally bemoaning that all is lost...
making him feel even worse than he already does.
It means expecting that trials will come.
But with that expectation, knowing there is an all-seeing eye in Heaven continually resting upon you,
and He is with you...in the storm.
Be ever aware that even though life is full of trouble, 
He is ever faithful,
and you can rest...and be at peace...because He is God, He loves you dearly, and He is in control...always.



#5.  Be content with what you have.
There is nothing like a thankful attitude to foster peace.
On the flip side, complaining, griping, criticizing, and nagging have the complete opposite effect.
As the old saying goes, "Thank God for what you have, trust Him for what you need."
If buying something will put you in debt and cause added emotional stress,
maybe it is best to just make do with what you have until God provides something better.
Find the joy that comes when you learn to be grateful for what you already have.


#6.  Learn the value of frugality.   
There's nothing like financial strain, worries, and over-extension to rob the peace in your home.
Lack of self-control in the area of spending will cause undue and unnecessary stress,
and that tension will be felt by every member living in your household.
Think, before you buy.
Ask yourself if you really need it.
Ask yourself if it can wait...until a more prosperous time.


#7. Stay home more.
Continually running around wears you out and exhausts your energy.
When you're never home, things start falling behind, with you not there to keep up.
Stress ensues, along with feelings of being overwhelmed.
This creates tension...and undue anxiety.
Staying home equals saving money, too.
I realize we all have to get out for necessary reasons...
to work, to grocery shop, to do all of the errands life demands, for recreational purposes, etc.,
but ask yourself if there are ways you could cut back and stay home more.
Cut out unnecessary trips.
Try to cover as many errands as possible while you are out and about.
Whenever possible, stay home.
Unwind.
Breathe.
Enjoy the haven God has provided for you.


#8.  Eliminate unnecessary and unedifying noise.
Turn off electronics as much as possible.
Limit your child(ren)'s time on them....and yours, too.
Quietness encourages talking.
Stillness invites the opening up of hearts and minds.
There is something about allowing only natural sounds that brings tranquility.
Don't permit music that is degrading, anti-God, vulgar, disheartening, 
or rebellion-inciting to permeate the atmosphere.
Don't allow it to invade the space God has entrusted to your care.
You are the guide of your house.  (I Timothy 5:14 KJV)
You are the keeper of your home.  (Titus 2:4,5)
Set the boundaries, and hold them in place.
You will earn their respect, if you are firm and consistent.


#9.  Develop a restful atmosphere.
Create a quiet aura and the ambience you crave.
Think about relaxing places you've been and peaceful homes you've visited or stayed in.
What did you find most appealing about your surroundings there?
More than likely, one of the main points you will remember is the loving way
the people in those surroundings reacted to and interacted with each other.
Apply love lavishly and continually to those who live with you.
Season words with love and grace and mercy.
You have much control over the atmosphere in your home.
God has blessed you with this space, however big or small,
however old or new,
however modern or outdated.
Work with what you have with a determined drive to make it peaceful.
Allow uplifting music and sounds to infiltrate the airwaves.
Allow the message of songs to encourage, inspire, and motivate holy living.
We have lots of nature sounds CDs and tapes that I love to play.
It just creates a nice, soft backdrop and sets a very peaceful tone.
I also love to use water fountains.
Is there anything in the world more soothing than the sound of gently flowing water?


#10.  Fill your space with things you love.
(within your means, which may require long waiting and patience)
Your beloved bright, neon pink lamp shades may give Aunt Delilah a raging headache, 
but as it turns out, she doesn't live in your home and only visits for an hour once every four years.
Your favorite scented tarts that emanate the smells of cinnamon & banana nut bread cause Uncle Sebastian's
allergies to kick in, but in all the years you've been married, he has only visited once.
What you like may or may not appeal to anyone else, but you are the one who lives there, right?  :)
Kevin and I love antiques, primitive decor', and quilts.
We love anything old and quaint and enjoy strolling through antique malls and old-timey stores.
Through the years, as we have been able to afford it,
we have accumulated several of these items that have found a place in our home.
Seeing them brings a sense of peace that makes our house feel comforting.
I can still tell you where many of the items came from and the happy memories attached to them,
although my memory isn't the best anymore.  :)
Make sure your home smells good.
I. Love. Scented Candles.
Oh, how I love them!
But, I often worry about lighting one, then forgetting about it, which could lead to major problems, obviously.
So, what to do?
Introducing....the Scentsy alternative!
I'll admit, these can be pricey.
But, when you have a thoughtful friend like Wanda, who's worrying?
Yes, one day, I opened our mail to find the sweetest package.
She's known to do this for me...out of the blue, unexpected, and so appreciated!
This time it was...not one...but TWO Scentsy warmers, along with lots and lots of variously-scented tarts!
The Scentsy warmers are electric, which eliminates the need to worry about forgotten burning candles.
And, oh, do they smell good!!
The scents are strong enough to completely fill up a room and make the space so warm and inviting.
I love my warmers...not only because they work so well, create such inviting aromas in our home,
but because of the precious friend who bestowed the gifts.
Check out Scentsy's website here.
Let go of things in your home that vex your spirit.
If something stirs negativity, sadness, regret, anger, resentment, or heartache when you look at it,
by all means, get rid of it and remove it from your living space...
no matter where it came from or who gave it to you.
Seeing it will always steal your peace, and it is just not worth it.
Surround yourself with things that make you smile, comfort you, warm your heart, and bring you joy.


#11. Be neat.
Keep things clean and tidy.
It is hard to feel at peace in cluttered, messy surroundings.
It doesn't take a lot of effort to keep a clean house.
Consistently keeping up with things will prevent the need for frequent deep cleaning.
Put things back where they belong before going to bed each night,
and teach your child(ren) to do the same.
This way you will start off tomorrow in an organized setting,
which is very conducive to a productive day.
Consistently apply the advice, "A place for everything, and everything in its place."

Enjoy the home God has blessed you with,
and determine to live each day in peace.


24 comments:

  1. Hello Cheryl....Loved this list! Very insightful. Thanks. Susan

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    1. Thanks so much, Susan! So very happy you stopped by! God bless you. :)

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  2. Loved, Loved, Loved this list!! Thank you so much for sharing!! Is that a picture of your house?!? You have a beautiful home! xoxo

    waitingforbabybird.com

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend! The house at the beginning of the post (with the angel and rose garden in front of the porch) is our house. The house at the end is a house not too far away from us. I'm so happy you stopped by today! Thank you for leaving sweet encouragement behind. xoxo and blessings to you!!!

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    1. Thanks so much! God bless & keep you in His care. :)

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  4. Isn't this the truth? "I might as well settle in to the idea that problems happen." It sure helps when we finally recognize that. I still struggle with it at times, but overall, acceptance has brought more peace. Yes, that Anchor is what makes the difference. Thanks for sharing, Cheryl. Your 11 tips are very good.

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    1. Thank you so very much, Lisa! So happy you stopped by today!! I appreciate your kind comments.

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  5. Got nine out of eleven! I am not always neat, and we can't have scented candles as Robert is sensitive to odors. Definitely a lovely list! Thank you for sharing your wonderful post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” At: http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you so much, Hazel! I so appreciate you stopping by and leaving encouragement behind. God bless you!!

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  6. This is lovely! I am entering my 4th year of marriage and it is so encouraging to hear wisdom from women who have more experience. It really struck a chord when I read, "If something stirs negativity, sadness, regret, anger, resentment, or heartache when you look at it, by all means, get rid of it and remove it from your living space... no matter where it came from or who gave it to you." We've had to do such house cleaning. Thanks again for your encouragement!

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    1. Thank you so much, Heather! I am so encouraged by your visit and kind comments! May the dear Lord bless you on your journey together, and may your home always be filled with peace! Please come back often...you are welcome here anytime. :)

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  7. Hi Cheryl,
    I was very blessed by this post. I think the most important point you made is that even peaceful homes aren't free of trials. However, we can have peace even amidst trials. Your tips for achieving this are great!

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    1. Thank you so much, Shannon! It was so great to see you here today! You blessed me by being here. God's peace be with you always.

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  8. What profound truth. Isn't it so sad to see how trials and pain can turn us into blaming-monsters? How we can spend so much time and energy blaming ourselves, each other, even God - rather than accepting the world we live in with all its failures and outages? Thank you for a post that lifts our eyes to trust the One who can make glory, even of mud and clay. He makes all things beautiful in his time.

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    1. Thank you ever so much, Kelli! Your words always encourage me so much! So thankful God allowed our paths to cross on this blogging journey. :)

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  9. I love this post. It is what I would expect a Proverbs 31 Woman to tell me. I thank you so much for the insight and for sharing.
    My personal bests are compromise to reduce audible noise from arguing and clearing clutter to reduce visual noise.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Ed. So happy and thankful you stopped by! God bless you for your encouragement.

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  10. I loved your list and always enjoy your pictures. Thanks for sharing them.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Judith! So thankful for you!! :)

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    1. I am so thankful you are here, too! Looking forward to many future visits together! God bless you, Bernadine!! :)

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  12. Wow,
    I just found this blog. You are one wise woman...oh, my goodness. God bless you!

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    1. Oh, Sheila! What a dear, sweet comment to read this morning! Thank you ever so much, and I most grateful to you. It is so wonderful to meet you! I will be visiting you now. :)

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