Written by Joshua Richardson
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of St Nic’s.
During the holidays it can be easy to get out of the daily routines that we are used to at university. Without the same structure and with other distractions it can be hard to make sure that we keep God at the centre of our lives. Something that I have been thinking about recently is the idea of safe spaces. To me a safe space is somewhere where you can go and hide away, a place where you know you will be able to rest and relax, the easiest option, perhaps what you default to when deciding what to do.
Recently making the most of the situations that we are faced with has been on my heart. I often take the easiest option; I hide away from the challenges and struggles and instead of going out of my comfort zone I take refuge in a safe space. It has become clear to me just how broken we as humans are and how relying on an earthly safe space made up other humans can seem like it is safe, but it is by no means perfect.
How can we make sure that God becomes our place of refuge, our safe space?
We can, however, take encouragement from this, because as broken as we are, while we were still sinners Christ died for us. God loves us so much we can’t even imagine, are we giving him the love that he deserves back? How can we do this? How can we make sure that God becomes our place of refuge, our safe space? I think that this looks quite different from the safe space I was talking about earlier. Unlike an earthly safe space, making God our place of refuge doesn’t mean that we become complacent, we don’t hide away from our problems. Rather we know that no matter what situation we face, we know that God is with us and that we have nothing to worry about. We can be bold and excited about how God will use us and should be willing to let him. We can rely on God, he will take our burdens, no matter how big; God is bigger than our troubles. God is our perfect refuge! This also isn’t to say that we shouldn’t enjoy spending time doing what we enjoy, but how can we do what we enjoy differently so that we are serving God as we do it.
Let’s consider how we can make small changes in our daily lives so that we have God at the centre of everything we do so that in every situation we are glorifying God:
If your safe space is reading – why not read a Christian book? Look for a book that is something you will benefit from; where reading it will grow you in your faith.
If your safe space is walking and talking to people – it’s a great time to ask deep, meaningful questions about God. If this prospect scares you, start subtly, but tactically – maybe ask them what they did at the weekend, and when they ask you back (it’s inevitable), tell them you went to church, maybe ask them if they have ever been to church and see where that leads.
If your safe space is listening to music – why not listen to some Christian music?
If you enjoy sitting back and scrolling through social media – you could follow some Christian organisations so that every now and then they will pop up in your feed. Read what they have to say, pray for the organisation.
If your safe space involves using your phone – why not get an app that helps you to focus on God such as PrayerMate or a Bible app? You could subscribe to some email newsletters from Christian organisations and pray for their work and the world.
If your safe space is relaxing at the end of a long day watching TV – you could mix it up with some Christian programmes. Why not find a sermon on a topic that interests you on YouTube or reduce the amount of time that you watch to make time for God?
If your safe space is playing video games – if you are playing with people, you could try to bring up questions that will prompt them to ask about your faith while you play.
If your safe space is doing a sport – try to be different from everyone else and play in a way that glorifies God. Other people may notice so be prepared to tell them why you play differently. Look for opportunities to start conversations about God. Or if your church has a team, why not join it?
I think it can be easy to hear that we need to change how we live but never act upon it. Joining a core group means that you have other people to support you and talk to about the challenges you are facing. You can encourage each other to get into good disciplines and be excited to serve God together.
To wrap up this post, I just wanted to encourage you to think about whether you have a safe space, what your safe space is, and how you can go about it in a different way that will glorify God.
If you need advice, why not drop us a message, we’d love to support you.