Insights with Emily: Safe haven

Emily Salerno-Oswald
Scriptural Columnist

Where do you go when you’re stressed? Who is with you when you allow yourself to fall apart? Is there a particular person who makes you feel like you can let your walls down? Do you have a physical “safe space” or is it more of a state of mind? Do you visualize a beach or a forest? When you go to this physical or mental happy place, does it work? Does it make you happy?

Maybe you started to read this article and then were bombarded with seven rhetorical questions that you didn’t ask for and now you feel like putting this newspaper down. Well, read on, dear reader, because this is a good one.

Our days are filled with what seems like endless activity (like whatever may be distracting you from finishing this article). We are pulled in so many different directions with so many different voices vying for our attention. It’s hard to know what to attend to first.

We are encouraged to pour ourselves out in service to others, and we do. But at the end of a day, what do we do when we just feel empty? Or maybe it’s the middle of the day — or the beginning of the day at that — and still, we feel as if we have nothing left to give.

Perhaps the exhaustion of the week is wearing on you. Perhaps you didn’t get enough sleep because you had a paper due so you stayed up until 2:30 a.m. to finish it. Maybe there are problems in your friend group and you feel emotionally drained. Who or what do you turn to in these circumstances? Is there anyone?

God is my safe haven. And he can be yours too. He shows up at the least expected of times and picks me up when I’m down.

I know this concept isn’t exactly original. You’ve probably heard it before. But what is original is how God will choose to show up for you. He is there for you according to the way in which you need to be loved.

Maybe you’re a people-person, and you really need a pick-me-up. God might surprise you by sending a friend your way. Maybe you’re not a people-person — or at least, today you’re not because you’re in a bad mood. God might send friends your way anyway because you need company, even though you think you don’t want it. I speak from personal experience.

I know, for me, one of my favorite ways that God picks me up and dusts me off is through music. He sends a song when I hit “shuffle” on Spotify and it is precisely what I needed to hear. This doesn’t happen all the time, but he definitely speaks to me in this way in my moments of dire need.

God has a hold on the details, the little bits of nuance that make you you. God speaks your language. He knows what makes you tick. When you think no one is looking or no one cares, he sees you. He tells you, “You’re okay. I’ve got you. I will help you.”

When you’re not looking for him, it can seem like he’s nowhere to be found. But once you start looking, God is like a radio station that comes blaring into your ears, loud and clear, once you tune in to the right frequency.

And the song that he plays for you is beautiful. It is a symphony of sounds filling your head in the perfect harmony of sound. The song becomes so all-encompassing that it takes you away from everything for a moment and you realize there is so much more than whatever the tiny thing was that was keeping you down. You’re surrounded by sound and color and brightness and you feel safe. You let out a breath, feeling seen for the first time all day. Feeling held for the first time all day. Feeling known for the first time all day.

This is what it’s like to be filled by God.

It may not be a song in your earbuds, but it will be something. You can be certain of that.

Look for God today. Look for how he picks you up when you’re down. It will be specific and in a way that is particular to you. And when you see it, thank him.

Songs that inspired this article: “Carry On” by Young Rising Sons and “Happy Place” by Saint Phnx



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