Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 23, 2014

your safe place?

We all have an innate desire to feel safe.   With a desire for safety, there is almost nothing better than being in a safe place.  You no doubt can remember a time when a sense of fear or uneasiness was eliminated the moment you entered a safe place.  During the past couple of weeks when this specific thought has been on my mind, an event which happened over eleven years ago resurfaced.  Our daughter Lindsay was in her third year of college, and her first month living in New York City.  At 3am one Saturday morning, we received a call that was quite unusual. It was Lindsay.  Although it would have been completely understandable, she wasn’t calling to tell us she was homesick … she was “rat sick.”  In the student housing (in Manhattan), rats were becoming a nuisance for Lindsay and her roommates.  You can imagine young ladies in a dorm room, with small pesky visitors.  Her pre-dawn call was one of desperation, so I made a visit the next day to help out. Upon my arrival, we had dinner and went to a hotel, and for the first time in a while she could relax and sleep without the thought of rats. She was in a safe place.

It’s more than likely that rats are not a problem in your life at the moment.  But you, nonetheless, have a strong desire to be in a safe place. Where is that place?  Most of us would define our safe place as an environment that provides freedom of expression, and unconditional love and acceptance.  We would all like to feel those characteristics are ever-present in our own home, but often that is not the case.  Strong homes definitely possess many of the values that we would want in a safe place, but no home (or family) is perfect. So where is your safest place?

In my reading last week, I was struck by a verse that is easily recognizable, but often overlooked. Matthew 6:6 states:  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.Think for a moment about what this verse is conveying.  No one would debate that much of our praying should be in a private place alone with the Father.  From my study, I believe the verse is talking about going to the most private place you can find.  Just for a moment, consider if this would be your safest place. Where else on earth could you and I have absolute freedom of expression and unconditional love and acceptance?  But has our safest place become a neglected place?

The reality is that most Christ-followers would be quick to affirm the need for prayer. At the same time, I also believe many would willingly admit that spending quality time with the Father in private prayer is challenging.  My goal is not to create guilt about what your prayer life looked like yesterday, but to encourage you about what it can be today – Your safest place!  Ask yourself how much time you are willing to spend in the place of greatest freedom, with great rewards.  I have no idea if that private time for you should be five, ten, fifteen or thirty minutes a day (don’t make it a chore), but it should be a focused time.

I don’t know that the primary issue in Jesus’ words was location, but getting alone to pray does take intentionality.  My safe place is the basement of our house.  It is my place to just walk and talk to the Father about the most important issues of my life. Words that I speak to the Father in that quiet basement are words of total freedom.  And I know it’s a place where I am unconditionally loved and accepted … my safest place.  Have you found a safe place?  If you have, don’t neglect it … if you haven’t, there is no better time than right now to establish it!


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