How Can We Feel Safe?
Do you feel safe? I don’t mean do you fear you’re in danger of being robbed or burgled or murdered. I mean do you feel like you are emotionally in a place of safety?
I admit I haven’t always felt safe. In fact, one of the most unsafe times in my life was after my father died in the summer of 2006. I wasn’t aware of it in exactly those terms at the time, but in the years that have followed, I’ve thought a lot about this human drive for safety.
I think we all recognize the desire for physical safety. We lock our doors. We look twice to cross the street. But emotional safety is sort of nebulous. Undefined.
I find safety in relationships and in roles. I didn’t realize how glued I was to my parents and my identity as a daughter until I lost my dad, and then three years later, when I lost my mom. Over time, I’ve examined how magnetized I was to them, even though I was an independent woman. I bought my own home, alone, at age 29. Umm….it was 10 minutes from their house.
I suppose it should be of no surprise that I decided to title my unfinished book Safe Place. Place references my relationship and role with my parents and it references their home, the place I did a lot of my grieving while cleaning out their house. Eight years have elapsed now, and I am getting ready to sell that place, so dear to my heart.
So how can we feel safe? I don’t think emotional safety looks exactly the same for each person, but we all yearn for it. We all search for it. We hold jobs to feel safe. We marry to feel safe. We build homes and surround ourselves with comforts to feel safe. But do we feel safe?
God knows we live in an unsafe world, and he cares whether we feel safe. How do I know? Because so many Bible verses remind us of the safety God provides. Now that I’m thinking of safety, I notice the verses all the time. They speak of refuge, rest, safety and peace.
When I don’t feel safe, I look at those verses, but what’s even more encouraging for me is looking back and seeing how God personally watched over me in unsafe places.
I think of the dream job I needed in order to get out of a dead-end situation. I won it though another person had accepted the position. I think of the guy I adored who married someone else and then abused her. I think of my husband Richard who married me a few months before Mom died. I wasn’t alone at her funeral, and I wasn’t alone in my grief. Would the God who took me through all that and more now turncoat on me? No. He won’t on you, either.
At Christmastime 2007, I bought a tapestry at my new church and hung it above my bed. It pictured a regal lion relaxing with a lamb. My life was in tatters at the time. I was mourning the death of my father and the loss of that man whom I thought would be my new safe place.
I still have the tapestry over the bed. I realized one day the word “safety” is woven into the fibers above the lion. I was picking out the word “safety” before I ever recognized it was a thread in my life and in my story.
There it was on the wall – the answer to where to find safety.
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” ~ Psalm 4:8.
In an unsafe world where jobs are lost, people leave, and death hunts us, we must look outside of this atmosphere to find the source of safety. That’s how we find a safe place.
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