Let me share a bit of information about me—I LOVE sunny days! This past week’s weather has given us more sunny days than we’ve had in a long time. It had been cloudy for the past two weeks so when I looked outside and saw those blue skies, I considered them a gift from above–literally!
Science proves that cloudy weather affects our moods. Winter months often produce seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or ‘winter depression,’ in many people due to the lack of serotonin. This brain hormone is associated with mood elevation and rises with exposure to bright light and falls with decreased sun exposure.
Studies suggest, for instance, that on sunny days people help each other more and leave more generous tips when eating at restaurants. One French study found women were more receptive to giving their phone number to an attractive stranger on sunny days compared to cloudy days, providing their number 22 percent of the time and 14 percent of the time, respectively. (www.drmercola.com)
Recently, we had another two-week spell of cloudy skies. It was hard for me not to succumb to the rainy day doldrums. Thankfully, the Lord used those times to encourage me.
We all know that it is human nature to take things for granted. I mean, how often do we thank God that we are not in pain? For a stable floor to walk on? What about hot water? During those two sunless weeks, the Holy Spirit reminded me about appreciation. If it’s always sunny, our appreciation of sunny days tends to wane. In fact, when we lived in El Paso, where it is sunny 90% of the time, people (myself included) grew to welcome an occasional rainstorm. Cloudy days help our appreciation of the sun.
It’s easy to be happy when circumstances around you are favorable and going your way. It’s another thing, though, when they are not. How we behave when things are not circumstantially advantageous tells a lot about what’s inside of us. In fact, when we are ‘squeezed,’ by bad news, uncooperative co-workers and family members and unexpected events, the words we release and attitudes we display indicate what is inside of us. During those cloudy days, I had to work to not let my emotions react to what was around me. I was forced to dig deep, both to express appreciation, and to imagine the good things which are to come. Sometimes we have to close our eyes and see within the good that God has planned for us, despite the clouds without.
In addition to imagining good things that are to come, I also started imagining what the rain could be doing to my dreams. We all know that ‘January showers bring forth Spring flowers,’ but sometimes we need just a little more encouragement. One day while walking outside, I began to think of the rain as watering my dreams. In other words, I imagined that the rain was not only watering the ground, but my dreams as well. This helped me to get a positive view of what I was experiencing so that I could push past the looming dreary emotions.
There’s almost always another way to look at things. Those that tend (or strive) to look at the bright side of things are typically called optimists, but fourteen consecutive days of rain and clouds could put a damper even on their parade. I’m thankful I have another Son to trust in when the sun is not shining.