With so many major problems in the world, it might surprise you that you can use your haven to change the world.
Last week, another school shooting made headlines – and got Americans discussing how to possibly begin fixing the epidemic.
Plenty of debate stems around guns and mental health and violence. And those are all serious topics that need debated. All of this evil in the world should be grieved.
But what if making a difference is easier than most people think?
What if … so many of today’s problems are linked to a shift away from finding comfort and peace at home? With families? What if we have the power to start changing the world by creating havens?
The connection havens create
If you think about it, people spend more and more time away from home. Tied up in jobs and activities and distracted by social media and electronics, commonplace traditions like eating dinner around a table as a family or getting together with family and friends sadly has become an oddity.
Personal connections are vanishing. Parents are distracted from their children … and children are distracted from their parents. It’s easy for spouses to drift from each other. Homes have turned into places to drop your stuff and refuel with food and sleep before running off to the next thing. They’re not the havens they could be.
Havens are powerful, though. If and when you know you have a place to escape from the troubles of the world – and be welcomed by people who love and care about you – you have something to look forward to on the rottenest of days.
It’s quite possible that many of the problems facing society today lie in the sad disconnect with each other. Without time spent face to face, it’s impossible to experience authentic relationships. And authentic concern.
But when you spend real time with real people, it’s not hard to see when someone’s having a rough day. When someone sees the real you on a normal day, it’s impossible to hide behind an online picture of perfection.
Once you know someone’s having a bad day, you have the opportunity to make things better. You can step out of your own world to help someone else.
Will this take initiative? Yes. Does it mean your schedule can’t be so jam-packed so that you intentionally build in time for others? Of course. But as you do this, you become a haven for others.
Becoming a haven makes all the difference in the world – to others. In doing this, you are the one to make a difference. You are the one who can change someone else’s life.
The power of a haven
As you open yourself to others to become a much-needed haven, your attitude will naturally spill over into your home.
And as you transform your home into a haven, you’ll nurture those who call it home. Your family will long to come home because they know it’s a safe, warm place. Friends will want to visit to feel refreshed.
When you make intentional choices about what’s actually in your home, it will begin to look, sound, smell, feel, and taste like a haven. All of those elements minister to you and the people who gather around your table and cuddle on your couch or chairs.
Remember, though: You can make your home as physically comfy cozy as you’d like, but everything boils down to YOU being the actual haven.
Like a thermostat in your home, you set the temperature of everyone around you. Is everyone burning up because of your fiery temper? Are they shivering because of your cold shoulders or icy words? Or do your warm words and attitudes make everything – and everyone – feel just right?
The humility that comes from loving others
It can be daunting – and quite a weight – to have so much influence over the moods and attitudes of others. Especially if you’re surrounded by family members who add a lot of stress or conflict to your life.
But keep this in mind: You already have the influence, whether you realize it or not. So it’s better to embrace this truth and use it for good.
If you’re like me, it gets a little tiring to consider everyone else and really pour yourself out as a servant. But, if you’re a follower of Christ, you’re called to this very thing.
As we mirror Christ’s life, it’s important to remember Philippians 2:3-7:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
No doubt it’s humbling and unselfish to consider the needs of others over your own. Pride and selfishness have a funny way of crowding out other thoughts. But you can squelch those voices by consciously choosing love for others.
By remembering Christ’s example – and command to love one another as he has loved us– and praying for help to do this, it’s surprising how much peace and strength you’ll discover.
How will your haven change the world?
So how exactly does your haven change the world? And how do havens fix problems in society?
Change starts one person at a time. As you reach out as a haven to people who come across your daily path, you can help them feel noticed, loved, and appreciated.
Call me idealistic, but I truly believe that as people feel noticed, loved, and appreciated, issues with violence can decline. Connection can make a difference that truly matters.
Simply start to look around at the people who God places in your path. Can you invest in the lives of your family? Your neighbors or co-workers or friends? Take a genuine interest in others and make an investment in their lives through discussions and everyday kindness.
Decide to pour into the people you share your home with. Once you feel comfortable doing this, expand your reach to other family members or friends who truly need your time, attention and love. Believe me, they’re there – they won’t necessarily ask for your help. But they need it.
And when you feel confident balancing those needs, reach out to other friends and neighbors God brings into your life.
When you begin looking for these people who need you, your haven, and your influence, you’ll be surprised to find them. You’ll notice that some stay in your life for just a short season, and others will remain for years.
As you make this effort, change can happen – one home at a time. Because you are the one who can change the world as a haven, one person at a time.
How are you using your haven to change the world? What could you do?
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All images courtesy of Unsplash.