Hiding has always been one of my favorite things. When I was a kid, I remember when I found a box in our garage. It was an extra large box that we had gotten from U-Haul when we were moving into our new house. I was probably five or six and I loved being able to hide in the box. I could pretend to be driving a car, a train conductor, in a boat, or even imagining redesigning a house’s decor (interior design has always been a passion).
I remember everything about hanging out in this box. I had pulled it to the front of the garage by the garage door so I could see the whole front yard while in it. I could see our one tree in the front left yard next to this weed plant that I had pretended was a pickle tree for the longest time (I buried pickles and up sprouted a weed after a while). The grass was still brown from the hot summer months, but fall had arrived and the box would serve as a block to the brisk air. When my friends came over to play, during the season of the box, we would hang out in the box and watch people. It was like a safe haven for five year old me. It was my land. My territory.
But soon the hiding wasn’t just in the box anymore. The location always changed. Whether it was my closest, my dorm room, my house, or even my car. My hiding places became my safe places. The places where I could forget and pretend like the world had stopped for just a moment.
When I was in college, my safe place was at a secluded lake that was about 20 minutes from campus. I would drive up, step out, and find the secret clearing to a certain rock on the edge of the water. I could dangle my feet there for hours. The calm of the lake brought peace to my continual overwhelmed and over busy heart. It was my safe place and a place I could find perspective. So I went there when I needed to breathe, take a break, turn my brain off, or, most of all, hear from Jesus. My hiding spots haven’t always been safe, as some have enabled me to avoid my problems, but this was one spot that I knew Jesus would meet me there. It was my place to write, to face the hard things, to cry, to pray, and even to sing out whatever I needed to in that moment. A place to feel peace.
It’s also the place where Jesus led me to what is now one of my favorite verses in scriptures:
Rock of refuge. Safe place. Strong fortress. Redeeemer. Guide.
To be honest with you, when I moved away from college I struggled to find that safe place. Everything was changing. I felt lost and lonely and anxious and out of control. I didn’t have my safe place at the lake, the music practice rooms, or especially the Chapel at school anymore. I felt like I couldn’t find a safe place where I could hear from the Lord. A place where I always knew He would meet me and speak.
But this is what we seem to forget often. He is there. He is present. He cares. He hears you and as much as you want to hear from Him, He wants to hear from you and speak to you.
One night a few months ago, I left an incredible leadership team meeting and I was desperate to hear more from the Lord. I had heard Him so clearly and I yearned for more, as it had been a while since I felt I had heard Him so distinctly. I walked in my bedroom, turned on music very softly, got my Bible out and opened it up to this text in Psalms, sat on the floor criss-cross-apple-sauce in front of my red Ikea chair, and waited. That hadn’t ever been my “spot” or “safe place” before, but in that moment I was desperate to hear from Jesus. So I would read Psalms 31 out loud. And wait. Then read. And wait. I did this for a few hours. Then He spoke something so simple, but so sweet to my desperate heart.
Immediately with tears starting to well up in my eyes, I felt a calm come over me as if a warm blanket had just been laid over me during a brisk fall night.
I can’t tell you that I have figured it all out after that moment, but I can tell you it was life changing. I still have a lot of moments of anxiety. Moments where I go hide in my closet for just a moment as a reminder to let my hair down and take a deep breath, or even to go away and hide from the world. This simple truth changed my perspective… and I so desperately need His presence.
As people of God, sometimes we think we have to be so strong, as is if we have all the answers, but all Jesus asks is for us to sit at His feet. To wait on Him to speak. And then go. Our strength and life is from Him. So find your safe place. For me, it was walking through a season of a lot of newness, but I didn’t take the time to listen. It’ll change from time to time. But I would encourage you to find a place where you can sit, breathe, and hear from Jesus. Sometimes it’s a tangible place to escape to, or sometimes it’s just making the space in an area where you give yourself the time to spend at His feet. He is our source of life and without Him, we have nothing.