Green: God’s Color for Rest and Renewal | May 30th, 2016
Imagine living in a world without color. How incredibly dull and dreary that would be! Thankfully, we have a Creator with an amazing imagination who gave us color everywhere we look.
Research has shown that color can affect the mind, body, and spirit. For example, red stimulates the mind, quickly grabbing our attention such as when we see a red traffic light. This creates a reaction by the body to step on the brake.
Blue has a calming effect. If you lie on your back and spend some time staring up at a clear, blue sky, you will most likely begin to feel a sense of peace come over you and your body will relax.
Green is a soothing and healing color. Grass green is considered the most restful color for the human eye.
Being in the center of the color spectrum, no adjustment is required by the eyes when seeing green and is therefore considered restful. Perhaps that is why May’s traditional green birthstone, the emerald, has been one of the most desirable and valuable colored gemstones for over 5,000 years!
I have been able to find that rich, emerald green color in the rhinestones of several pieces of vintage costume jewelry I’ve collected from the 1950s.
Here are a few I repurposed into rings with a glamorous look:
Green is All Around Us
The next time you step outside, stop and take a look around you. You will notice that the color green appears in nature more than any other color. Plants of all kinds are clothed in various shades of green because of a pigment in their cells called chlorophyll. I do not think it was a coincidence that God provided so much green around us outdoors.
Green is known to renew and restore depleted energy as a restful sanctuary away from all the stress we encounter in our busy lives. Relaxing in a green environment restores us back to a sense of well-being. God knew how much we would need that in the 21st century!
The 24 hours we are given each day never seem to be enough to accomplish everything we want or need to do. We just keep rapidly moving from one task to the next, creating this feeling of being overworked and severely stressed.
The Psalmist David was in need of de-stressing as well and wrote about how God renews and restores us in nature. Here are the first few lines:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-2
Another way of saying it is like this: Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need. He lets me rest in the healing nature He created for me which gives me renewed strength. He helps me live a life that brings Him honor and glorifies His name.
What a wonderful gift from our Creator who knows exactly what we need!
Mental Benefits of Rest
Americans spend approximately 50% of their waking hours devoted to work. And when we are not working, our brains are totally preoccupied with it. Our mental resources are continuously being depleted throughout the day.
But there is good news! Many studies have shown that rest and downtime can replenish those reserves while restoring our attention and motivation. Downtime also encourages productivity and creativity. And when the brain is not learning something new, it can secure data recently learned and etch new skills into the brain. So many good reasons to take the time to rest!
As much as it is God’s desire for us to work using our unique skills and talents with which He blessed us, it is also His desire for us to have regular rest for our mind, body, and spirit away from our work. He set the standard for rest after he created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh day:
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3
Physical Benefits of Rest
One of the best places to spend your downtime for some refreshment is outside, surrounded by nature with lots of green which has a restorative, healing effect. Research has found that it can help lower your blood pressure and reduce strong, negative feelings such as anger and fear.
A study from 2012, published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, found that adults who lived in places with the most amount of green space felt less stress and experienced lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that plays a role in our fight or flight response.
When cortisol is too high for too long, it can increase the amount of fat you hold in your abdomen (visceral fat) which increases your risk for heart disease. I would think that is a good enough reason right there to motivate all of us to take time each day to be in nature!
Spiritual Benefits of Rest
Why does God value rest for His children so much? One reason is that He wants us to reflect Him by shining with His light so that others will be drawn to Him. He can then be glorified when we share His love and goodness with others through our actions.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
If we are always exhausted from constant work and busyness, how are we going to be able to shine brightly for Him? In the same way that it takes energy to power a light bulb, it also takes energy to shine brightly through sharing God’s love and goodness with others. Rest will renew your energy needed to be able to do that.
Another reason God desires for us to have proper rest is that when we are too busy and distracted without any downtime, we can end up tuning God out of our lives whether we realize it or not. We blindly walk in one direction or another, not having any idea about the path we are to be on to experience His very best for us.
All of our time and energy can end up being focused on things that do not have any eternal kingdom value, causing us to miss out on some of the most amazing blessings God has had planned for us. We must make time for God, away from the busyness of our lives, to hear His voice.
God speaks most clearly to us through His Word, so we need to make it a point to read His words of guidance in the Bible daily, asking Him to direct every step we take on our journey in life. He delights in being involved in the details!
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23
I love spending time with God on my walks outside, surrounded by nature. I find that is a perfect way for me to reflect and really listen to what God might be trying to tell me.
When you are in need of refreshment for your mind, body, and spirit, find an area to walk where you are surrounded by the restful, green beauty God has lovingly created for you and relax in the truth of Jesus’ healing words:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Sparkler #1: Prayer
Ask God to direct your steps and help you productively use the time He has graciously given you to focus on doing things with eternal, kingdom value that glorify Him.
Sparkler #2: Action
Do not become so busy that you leave God out of your life. Spend time each day communicating with Him in prayer and listening to His voice through the reading of His Word so you will stay on the perfect path He has had planned for you to bring you abundant blessing.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Take a look at the week ahead and schedule some downtime each day to regularly be in nature so your mind, body, and spirit have a chance to recharge. It will renew your energy so you can shine more brightly to reflect Christ. Continue to schedule that time of refreshment each day until it becomes a part of your routine.
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