A few years ago, prior to moving to “the ranch” where we fostered many and my life became forever altered, I set out to paint our home in pretty much every room and living space.

On the southeast side, a long stretch of wall turned golden yellow. One accent wall in our hallway became an olive green, of sorts, while a middle wall and another interior accent one became a rusty red. My kitchen, brown. The hallways, tan. And eventually, when we returned home, our bedroom took on the rich shade of burgundy.

My son looked around and declared we now lived in a gingerbread house. Not quite the look I was going for.

Sit in Darkness Stand Brightness

Photo credit Cindee Snider Re on Flickr

Regardless of others mentioning how painting trends were headed towards lighter colors, I rebelled. I’d waited long for the cozy fall hues and the absence of white walls. What in the world was everyone thinking when they started painting walls white? All I was familiar with (basic construction white) unsettled me as if I lived in a model of a home rather than the real thing.

We took the plunge and painted feverishly with an autumnal, and dare I say, 70s flair. It took all of about two months after completing the job before we knew we’d be moving, into another home also turning golden yellow.

For fourteen months we lived in this large space filled with activity and all sorts of craziness. Both good and bad. Eventually it all became too much and our time was done.

When we returned home I sat in my darkish rooms seeking solace for deep wounds and heavy grief. Anxiety became a current of electric tension always buzzing and sometimes quite shocking. It permeated every interior nerve and limited my ability to handle even the smallest jarring moments, let alone the really big ones.

I wanted to hide. I needed soothing. I needed quiet the likes of which I could never get enough of.

While crouched on a chair, or laying in bed where brown blinds kept the room dark, the warmer hues comforted me and allowed me to settle in tight.

Darkness threatening to engulf me, a golden darkness blanketed around creating a sense of safety.

Over time, and with great intent, I found healing layer by layer. Each one stripping away the cloak I wanted to stay cuddled up in forever. The electric buzz simmered to an underlying hum which may or may not ever leave. I think maybe some of us are more likely to live with a hum, and maybe we can live well even so.

Today, I notice how internal transformation begins to show up on the outside. As I stand up, rising from the clutches of pain, I want to jump ship and start painting over again – with every wall in every room.

Except my daughter’s. She’s ahead of me and already chosen a lovely light grey with a matching hue of blue to brighten her room and give it the elegance which suits her well.

As I take pictures in the home, I realize the effect of so many yellow lights and the yellow hue bouncing off every wall. I’m no longer in need of hues which soothe and seek to calm. Or these hues which cause my indoor photos to look so sickly.

I’m ready for new hues to match healed moods. Hues which still invoke a sense of steadiness while also inviting a sense of vigor. Brighter walls without over-stimulation, which match my steadier personality and a more healed and whole me.

Maybe this desire comes from finally giving in to the the trends all around. Maybe I’m late to the show as usual and by the time I’ve actually implemented the work of re-coloring walls and replacing light bulbs, I’ll be out of style again. I tend to excel at being out of step and just a pace or two behind.

Even so, this change reflects the radiance I feel inside. God proclaimed it through the prophetic word of our pastor three years ago. Today, I’m realizing a greater fulfillment of my new name. Brightness.

Circumstances of hard still swirl quite sufficiently all around. However, defeat no longer keeps me cloaked in the shadows either.

As healing continues, I come to know more of this crazy, amazing God we have. One who smiles, who takes delight in His creation, and who calls us in to a brighter life.

For my part, the walls may or may not get repainted soon because, uff-da, those dollars add up quickly. But, I’m choosing to stand on the inside as I rise up to continued challenges with a God who is the source of our great delight, our deepest comfort, and our biggest light.

Whether or not the circumstances of our lives change or don’t change, or even if our walls do or dont, we have a choice every single day.

We can choose brightness.

Do you ever feel challenged to feel bright in your dark days?
Do you wonder about happiness in the middle of days filled with grumpiness?
Consider this dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee and her soon to be released book, The Happiness Dare.

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