It was a bright Friday afternoon with the Sun shining gleefully in the sky. It seemed to cast its sunny ray as if to say ‘Attention everyone! I’m here!’ While the flowers by the river bank responded to the sun’s announcement with open petals and swaying leaves. Hannah waded into the pond that was glittering with the white, golden rays of the shining sun as she was quite tired of staying indoors.

Hannah is a successful career woman, who through hard work and persistence, climbed up to the top of her career. Her normal day life is quite monotonous, mostly staying indoors when she gets back from work. This evening was quite different. After work today, Hannah was met with a myriad of thought plodding through her mind which didn’t allow her to stay indoors; this time around she was lost in thought and quite in a state of confusion.

‘How come I’m a Christian and my life is this way?’ she thought. ‘What’s going wrong with me? Why is my life so moody and uninteresting?’ Apart from the raging thought of confusion foaming within her, Hannah couldn’t put aside what Alice, her colleague at work, had said when she came visiting early that afternoon. Hannah had entertained her sumptuously but in the midst of a discussion, Alice had jokingly said ‘This place is like a dead zone!’. That seemed to pass like a little comment but it couldn’t leave Hannah’s mind. ‘What did she mean by that?’ Hannah couldn’t place what could have made Alice say that. She knew Alice could be lousy and blunt to a fault but she was also truthful with it. Hannah looked closely at her life. Was there anything wrong with her relationship with God? She couldn’t fathom anything. Her devotion time with God this morning was bliss; she really wasn’t having problems at work at the moment except from the normal bustling and hustling of everyday life but then something seemed to be shady and moody about her.

‘Holy Spirit, what’s up?’ Why am I so like this? Why does everything around me seem so dark and shady?’ She asked. A little far in the distance, she could hear the voices of her neignbour’s children playing in the sun.

Look around you’. She heard a still, small voice within. She had become so accompanied to His sweet, accompanying presence and voice, but this time she didn’t seem to make sense of what He was trying to tell her. ‘Look around me? Is there something I’m not seeing apart from these flowers and birds flying around and trees and the pond?’ She didn’t hear anything yet and thought she’d look around again, tho this is something she sees everyday.

Look around and look up’. She heard again. She obeyed like a little child learning to talk. Nothing seemed spectacular still. Was she expecting something to come out of the blues? What was the Holy Spirit trying to show her? Then, suddenly like lightning bolt hitting the earth, her understanding was opened and she saw what the Holy Spirit was trying to show her. Everything around her was lightened and brightened. The flowers looked lively with their petals open and different colors glowing. The trees were waving and swaying in the afternoon breeze; their green colours were also brightly lit in the sun….. She got what the Holy Spirit was trying to say, they were all responding to the Sun’s ray. ‘No wonder they look so happy’ she thought.

You become a reflection of what you regularly expose yourself to’ She heard again. ‘What soggy lifestyle have I exposed myself to?’. In a number of minutes, she began to jot down the steps the Holy Spirit brought to mind. Like an excited 4-year old, she skipped to her house to make some changes. The first thing she did was to change the colour of the curtains in the sitting room from the dull-coloured ash to a bright-coloured orange and she rose them up and opened the blinds to let the light in. she did the same to her room. Then she decided she’d add bright-colored flowers all over the house with beautiful art paintings. Her phone wasn’t left out in all these changes; she went through her music store and deleted those melancholy, moody songs she was used to listening and went online to download more inspiring, soul-lifting ones. This was a whole lot of work that required some tough-headedness; it wasn’t easy changing things she’d been used to. This included people too. She knew she’d have to make the tough decision of distancing herself from those she knew had a negative effect on her. With time her face and life began to brighten up; the sun had been let in, steering off the moody shadows and gloomy shades that had loomed around her house and life.

‘Hello Alice. Would you like to have lunch at my place after work today?’ Hannah asked.

‘Why not? Yes!’ Alice replied. ‘Something to take my mind off the market’.

‘Here we are’. Hannah said, as they both alighted from the car after work. ‘Well, well, well, what a nice scent this is and the lovely… Was I here last week?’ Alice asked.

Chuckling Hannah replied, ‘Yes, Friday afternoon to be precise’.

‘Yes, that’s true, but then, this place looks all so different and did I mention to you today Mr. Collins said you had such a wonderful glow on your face?’

‘Quit your jokes, Alice, I’m not looking for an husband’

‘There you go again but on a serious note, everyone else did notice that too’. Alice continued. ‘Something’s quite happened to you. Where did you go or what did you do?’

‘I’ve been here all along girl, all I did was to change what I was exposed to. I realized whatever I exposed myself to, my environment, friends, even the painting on my wall had an effect on me one way or the other. So I had to deliberately change those things to reflect something better’.

‘Really?’ Alice asked, trying to soak it all in.

‘Yes’. Hannah continued. ‘I realized that the quality of my life is directly proportional to what I expose it to, directly and indirectly. Just like the plants I keep in the dark may not look as fresh as those out there in the sun’.

‘But there are some external things we’re exposed to that we don’t readily have control over’. Alice said.

‘Hmmm…that’s true. But I think that’s the more reason Paul said in Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” I think it’s because of this external exposures we can’t control that the Bible asks us to constantly renew our minds, which we can control. So, since our minds and thinking, which invariably affects our way of living, are influenced by what we expose it to, renewing our minds will require our conscious effort to expose ourselves to quality things’.

‘True, true’. Alice nodded.

‘But what I found quite interesting is when the Holy Spirit asked me to make changes around my house, like my curtains, the paintings of my walls… He was trying to tell me that even the color of my external environment has an effect on my mood and thinking too. Either way, I believe the most important thing is what I allow into my mind and life. So, I have to be conscious of what I expose myself to so I can shine bright and then most importantly I expose myself to the light of God’s word’.

The question to you is ‘What deliberate action will you take to add quality value to your life? It’s all about what you constantly expose yourself to.

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