The other night I knew Brooke had cleaned the house the second I walked in! The living room looked great, which I told her as soon the front door closed behind me. She replied by asking me, "Guess how long it took to clean the entire house?"
It was a rhetorical question and she quickly exclaimed, "Two hours!"
The house looked really, really good. Not just, "picked up toys and stuffed things into the closet good", but like "vacuum, clorox wipes, clean the counters, sparkly good"!
Brooke was pumped up that it only took two hours to clean the entire house. A year ago that would have been impossible, which got me thinking about the atmosphere of our house. Brooke and I have spent the last year cultivating the atmosphere in our house to one that brings us joy.
One of the reason the house is so much easier to clean now than it was a year ago is because we have 50-75% less stuff. We got rid of all the things that weren't bringing us joy and sold them at a yard sale or donated them to a thrift store. We use to spend so much time shuffling the same things from this area to that area while never actually realizing the things we were shuffling were things that we didn't even need to begin with.
Cultivating the atmosphere you want will take a big catalyst at some point. For Brooke and I, that catalyst was June. When she was born we started to realize a lot of the unnecessary things in our lives, both physical and emotional. We realized the atmosphere that we wanted with a baby was not the one we had. We wanted freedom from unnecessary time consuming things to spend as much time as possible with our new family. Well, we spent a lot of time cleaning, like most people do, but we knew we could cut that time down with less stuff. When you have less stuff overall, you have less stuff to clean and put away. Imagine that!
When a catalyst jumps into the forefront of our lives we have two options. Run through the door it opens with open arms or ignore it. Unfortunately, most of us ignore the catalysts that show up in our lives and we spend weeks, months or years living like joyless lumps.
A catalyst can be really big, like the birth of your first child, or really small, like when you bend over and realize there is a lot of extra cushion in your mid-section. That is a catalyst I have had many times and when I ignore it, don't change my eating habits and ignore my physical fitness, it only gets worse.
Respond to the catalysts in your life! Run through the doors they open with energy and excitement. Regret is not something you want to live with and way too many people do! Open your arms to the possibilities of change bringing you joy. As a Christian, I believe that the holy spirit is a constant catalyst trying to push us through doors to be more like Jesus, but faith without works is dead. Conviction with out action is wasted. So, listen to that catalyst and jump, run, clean out, giveaway, serve, pray, fast or whatever other action is needed to listen!
The second part, at least in my life, of cultivating the atmosphere that I want is to continually check on that atmosphere. For example Brooke recently said, "We need to go through our shirts and get rid of some. We've gotten a lot of new ones without purging the older ones."
The closets were getting tighter and the extra hangers were filling up and we needed to check the balance of what was happening in our lives. When you own the greatest t-shirt company in the world you end up with a lot of shirts very quickly, but that doesn't mean you let them run wild in you life and clutter up a once de-cluttered space. So, every now and then we have to purge and say goodbye to some. It's the same way with other areas you've cultivated. Imagine if you got in really good shape and you cultivated the physical fitness atmosphere you've always wanted, but you slowly start to drift away from the weights and closer to the doughnuts. Before you know it you've gained weight that you worked so hard to lose because you didn't have any checks or balances. Life continues to go and go and in the blink of eye you can lose an atmosphere that you took so much time to cultivate. You need checks and balances to to keep yourself checked and balanced. Again, as a Christian, that is accountability in the form of a wife, friend or mentor. It's having someone you can trust and love even while they are saying to you, "STEP AWAY FROM THE CREAM CHEESE!"
Cultivating the atmosphere you want is a never ending process. It starts with a catalyst that requires action. It doesn't end there though. It takes attention, checks and balances and usually another catalyst mixed in when we've totally lost the atmosphere. It happens, but don't ignore the catalyst when you realized the atmosphere is gone.
I want an atmosphere of peace, joy and contentment to flow through my life, house, business and work. I want to live wild and free for Jesus. I don't want to be tied down to stuff and things. I want an atmosphere that is flowing from the living waters that Jesus supplies that is so refreshing to people I come in contact with that they want to join me and jump into the open arms of Jesus! I want the atmosphere of my life to be overflowing with joy and happiness that people have to ask the question, "Why are you different? Why are you so happy?" So, I can respond with the answer that I am on the earth to proclaim - Jesus has changed my life and made me whole. He can do the same for you!
Are you cultivating the atmosphere you want?
Or are you just complaining about the one you don't have?
In six months, a year, five years, will you look back and regret that you didn't focus more on cultivating the atmosphere you wanted in your life?
Has the atmosphere in your marriage hit an all time low? Is the atmosphere in your home dark and dismal? Is the atmosphere with your friends bitter and uncomfortable?
Let this post be your catalyst to change your atmosphere!