“Confident of harmony in relationships; free from fear of harm.”
“Feeling safe means you do not anticipate either harm or hurt, emotionally or physically.”
I remember as a child being wrapped up in my mother’s arms on a frosty winter morning. Startled by a nightmare that wakened me, the feeling that followed spoke straight to my soul gentle words of love and peace as her tender arms wrapped around me. All was well. I was safe and secure. Snuggled up right there in her arms is a place that I recall often even today when I’m afraid. She was the embodiment of all things love, and all things safe for my little, innocent child-heart.
Feeling “safe” is not always the emotion, or need that we would think about on a regular basis. Its contradiction fear, however, is something that seems to face off squarely and often, calling us to attention. It’s easy to remember moments of intense fear, but if you will, take a moment now and recall a moment when you felt safe, secure… confident of harmony – body, soul, and spirit. It’s important that we realize what safe means to us, because that’s what we need to use in order to help us draw protective boundaries, nurture that feeling to those we love, and even understand what it is that we need in order to wage war with our fears. And, we are all created exquisitely different – the atmosphere that I need to feel complete and safe may not be exactly duplicated with exact results for another. Thus, we pursue understanding one another, listening, and finding what it is we need to feel the security so that we may flourish in our own lives, and how to contribute that for others.
When we look at security, we also see how sometimes we starve ourselves by the patterns that we fall into. Day in, and day out deprivation cycles. Cycles that we may fall into suggesting a pattern of what is the “norm” for us. Maybe for some it is that abuse, fear, and insecurity are ways of life that have never seen another way, or a different perspective. Can we look at that and assume that the pain and agony caused is any differently since that is what is “normal” for our situation? It’s what we’ve always known, right? Maybe that’s just the way it is, and always will be. No! Pain inflicted in one’s soul, is pain inflicted that causes wounding. Period. Just because I may have grown accustomed to ignoring wounds inflicted by someone’s knife stab to my skin does not mean that the wound is not going to cause the same damage as for the person who cries out, “Help me! I’ve been stabbed!” The wounding is the same. The human need for safety and security is the same.
Thinking about security, we must acknowledge that abuse keeps one from
being safe…. physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s a threat to not only our happiness, it’s a threat to our well-being and penetrates deep into our souls. Even those who seem calloused after years of abuse, have hearts that our continually wilting under the pain, and starvation from the need of security. Please, stop the cycle. If you are being abused, please seek help. You are loved! Your life can look different! I know that you want to thrive… I know that you have dark moments when you beg for things to just be set right for you. Talk to someone that you feel you can trust, and listen to their thoughts for you. Let others support and help you. Maybe, you are the one who is acting in a way that is domineering to others, and you detest the face you see in the mirror some days. It isn’t who you know you were made to be, but somehow you keep falling back into a place acting out your own anger, fears, or pain by hurting those you love with your hands, words, actions….. Please, reach out. This can stop. It takes work. It takes courage. It takes a new day, with determination to love with God’s strength and His way. But, let’s stop the cycle. Today. It’s never a better moment than today to start a new journey! Below you will find some resources that may help, or find a trusted friend. You may need to report to authorities for the safety of yourself or others.. Please be that voice. Do not suffer alone, talk to someone and listen to their helpful words for you.
And, maybe for you the need is to draw some boundaries… or learn to identify what you need for safety. Maybe, you need help seeing that security is possible. There will be things that we face on this earth that are fearful. The nightmares will come at times, the wrong-doings will happen, and all the many, many fears that we each individually must face will have their place and time in our lives. But, we do not have to be ruled by them, when we know where our safe places are, and when our safe tanks are filled with needed nourishment for this trek.
Safe and secure might…
Sound like: “I’m here for you.” “We’re going to work this all out.” “I’m going to keep my promises to you.” “Rest with me a bit before you face what you have to today.” “You don’t have to worry if my mood will explode on you, just be yourself. Relax.” “I don’t ever want to harm you, and I also want to help protect you. I love you!”
Look like: Moments with coffee, and quiet prayer. Wrapped up in a loved ones arms. Being free to express who you really are. Conversations that you know will be kept confidential and judgment-free. A hand on your shoulder. A walk in the sunshine. Warmth by the fire.
For me, Perfect Love is a beautiful, safe place. It’s the antidote given me for all my fears, and a place to rest my heart. God’s Perfect Love for me helps me face my giants, squishes my insecurities, and quiets my storms. It gives me the courage to stand up and draw boundaries where I need, and to rest when I need it most.
What a gift of opportunity those of us who are parents or caregivers of little ones have to contribute to their knowledge and feeling of security! Just as my mom wrapped her arms around me in unconditional love, and tender care we have the same opportunity to love in this way! Safety is vital for a child’s well-being and development! Now, today I relate “safe” back to that cold, winter morning and it continues to reflect my Father’s love for me day after day when my fears confront me.
There are many places in this world that are dangerous and risky… that’s a certain part of this life. But, when we know the place to run that is safe from the uncertainties and dangers our souls will know where to look for secure footing each step of the way, and find rest.
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1 (800)-4-ACHILD
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 1 (800)799-7233
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network 1 (800)656-HOPE
References: Center for Relational Care, MacMillan Dictionary (2015); Abraham Maslow; Robert McGee; The Need for Family Appreciation, MSU, (2013).