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by Cate Russell-Cole
10/19/2015 / Christian Living
One of my favourite hobbies is reading home decorating magazines. It's a way to relax, to dream, and I've picked up some wonderful hints and ideas that have shaped my home into a more pleasant space. One particular edition of Australian Home Beautiful Magazine (February 2003) kept repeating a theme which surprised me. It seems the trends in interior decorating were changing to a more emotive theme.
In the articles on "What You'll See In 2003," the authors were saying:
"It's all part of the move to more serene, sensual spaces."
"The colours are quiet and serene, all soothing greens and whites with hints of red, pink and turquoise."
On turquoise: "Like the glimmer of a tropical beach... It's a serene, happy shade, easy to live with and guaranteed to lift your spirits."
The pictures were of lovely fabrics, and beautiful decorator items, but the wider meaning got me thinking. Fashions in interior decorating are set roughly one year ahead. So that means the looks for 2003 were set around 2001 - right after September 11th, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. Right when anthrax scares were dominating newspapers. Right when terrorists were being tracked down all over Europe, Paris included. It is the Paris shows which influence the next trend in home design. The timing was too profound to ignore. What exactly is it then, that we are looking for? Just a beautiful home with relaxing colours? Or are our homes being turned into a vehicle which will help provide us with peace and serenity in the troubled world we live in?
I remember when my mother was having emergency surgery for breast cancer. I came home from school, and found that my older sister had decided to spring clean my room. The job was partly done, and my room was a disaster area. I broke down and went to pieces, not because my space had been invaded, but because in that time of great turmoil, the stable environment I had in my physical surrounds had been obliterated. Without being materialistic, our homes do provide us with some stability. Talk to anyone who has had their home destroyed in a fire, flood or other disaster. It is not just the memories and the irreplaceable items lost that matter, but the sense of stability is disrupted, which is incredibly traumatic. With war with Iraq approaching everyone is searching for some sense of security and serenity.
When we want peace in our lives, what is it we actually want? There is no way we can totally avoid heartbreak, and problems, so what is realistic? The Miriam Webster Dictionary online defines peace as "freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions..." If you search for the word serene on the internet, sites encourage you to make a garden, build a spa, get hypnotherapy, take up yoga, listen to relaxing music and put nature pictures on the wall, all to become serene. There was also one site for interior decorating which promoted "Serene Interiors - Indian interior designers providing designs..."
So is this how we achieve peace? Do you create an Indian interior, sit on a turquoise rug and practice yoga with the sounds of the ocean and pictures of water or sunsets on your walls? I don't know about you, but if I am scared of the future, the colour of the rug, the pictures on the walls, and any other interior decorator bits and bobs, don't even get noticed! The battle for peace rages in my mind. Considering that in any attack or disaster we could lose our homes, there has to be a more reliable way of coping.
Unruffled peace has to come from inside us. It has to be the kind of peace that no matter what happens, it can't be easily extinguished. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary says: "...peace often refers to the inner tranquillity and poise of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ... The peace that Jesus Christ spoke of was a combination of hope, trust, and quiet in the mind and soul, brought about by a reconciliation with God... The apostle Paul later wrote that such peace and spiritual blessedness was a direct result of faith in Christ)."
Now there is an answer. Peace from the source of all hope, all blessings, all the good things we have in this world. The One who knows what all of us will say and do, before we say and do it. The One who cares for us, weeps over us, and always has a listening ear, ready to answer every call for His help. He can see far enough ahead to know what is coming. He can answer prayer to avert disaster. He can handle what we can and can't see, and His intentions towards us are only for the best. He gives us this precious promise: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives it... (it crumbles at every new fear and threat). Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27 NKJV)
We have a God who loves us and will take care of us beyond our comprehension. He works in the background to save us from our enemies and dangers every day, whether we see it or not. God's peace is beyond our understanding. That is how powerful it is. When we truly have hold of it in our hearts, we have hope and certainty we will be cared for, no matter what looms on the news in front of us. If you need a place to hide, and rest from the terrors this world keeps presenting, ask the only true source of hope, Jesus Christ, for His peace.
May God bless and keep you all.
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
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