From your outlook on what you encounter every day to the way you create a haven, your attitude shapes everything.
Your attitude affects everything.
From your own outlook on the situations you encounter every day to the way other people respond to you, your attitude shapes it all.
Your attitude is vital when it comes to creating a haven for others. If you’re overly critical, cynical, or prone to gossip, those who need a haven probably won’t feel completely safe with you. And quite frankly, if you’re mired in these traits, people probably shouldn’t feel safe with you.
The same issues crop up if you’re argumentative, judgmental, or if you quickly fly off the handle in anger.
If you’re a mom, you already know the truth in the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” Your attitude has absolutely everything to do with setting the tone in your home:
- If you’re easily angered, people who are near you will shy away from you, in hopes that they won’t end up as your next target.
- If you judge others by impossible standards, they’ll stop feeling like they can trust you with the truth of their lives.
- If you talk about others all the time, your family and friends may back off so they don’t become the topic of your conversations.
Me! Me! Me!
A self-centered focus is another quick way to forget about creating a haven.
When someone focuses on me and what I’m saying or experiencing, I naturally feel valued. In fact, I long to spend time with friends who I know take a genuine interest in my life and ask me thoughtful questions.
In contrast, it’s easy to sense when I’m being put off. If I’m baring my soul and the person I’m talking to responds to a text or doesn’t pay attention to what I’m saying, I’m more likely to withdraw and be unwilling to share my thoughts. When someone makes other priorities more important than their time spent with me, I’m less likely to want to spend time with them.
It’s important to remember that your attitude — and your actions — speak volumes. You set the tone and communicate if you’re a safe haven (or not) by the words you say and the way you say it.
Making a change
Of course you’ll have off days, and true friends and close family members will understand and love you anyway.
But if it’s possible, show grace and mercy instead of being overly critical. If you’re a follower of Christ, remember that you’ve received the Lord’s grace and mercy. Who are you to withhold it from someone else?
- Instead of being cynical, genuinely try to believe the best about others.
- If you’re judgmental, remember that in the same measure you judge, you will be judged.
- Instead of gossiping, use some self-control and hold your tongue.
- Instead of being argumentative, stop. Listen to the other person and humbly admit to yourself that your way may not be the only way.
- And if you quickly fly off the handle, practice simmering down before you speak. Refuse to let yourself react to a situation.
Not In Your Own Strength
Avoiding all of these reactions and habits — and sins — may seem impossible. Left to our own strength, they are impossible.
To live like this is to rely on the Holy Spirit. As you do this and begin to adopt a calm approach to others, you’ll be able to watch people relax in your presence. That’s infinitely better than watching them tense up when you enter the room.
Even when a crisis hits and it would seem natural to react in some extreme, relax. Pray and let the Lord work through you in calmness. As Isaiah 26:3 promises, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
One of my favorite logos is the now-popular British propaganda poster from World War II. As Germans bombed England and everyday English life as they knew it was long gone, the British government designed the poster, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” to encourage and remind citizens not to panic.
The surprising thing is even though 2.5 million copies of the poster were printed, officials never hung a single one. For one, they never could agree on when they should unveil the propaganda, but they also weren’t sure if Brits would take offense at the message. When they weren’t displayed, most of the posters were destroyed. But one was discovered and displayed at a British bookshop in 2000. Customers loved the phrase and simple design, and over the past few years it has spread like wildfire.
I’ve hung a reproduced “Keep Calm and Carry On” print in my home, and like to carry a bright red travel mug with the same image. On busy days when I’m feeling harried — and when none of my plans are working out — I take a moment to look at the sign. Then I inhale, keep calm … and carry on with my day. It serves as a fantastic reminder that my life isn’t crashing to the ground — and even if it was, I can keep calm and carry on, thanks to my hope in Christ. When I do this, I can offer a calm haven to those around me who desperately need it.
Hopefully all of this haven living sounds great in theory. But in the day-to-day life, when you face deadlines and tantrum-throwing toddlers and repairs and clutter and filled inboxes and texts all vying for your attention, any peaceful haven creation can seem virtually impossible.
In our own strength, it is impossible.
I can guarantee you that no matter where you live, or no matter what kind of conveniences or inconveniences you may have, you’ll never be able to comfort others as a haven on your own, because true haven living centers on God.
But — and this is a huge but — we can offer our lives as havens to others around us if and when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit.
In John 14:26, Jesus explained that he would leave, but the Father would send the Holy Spirit to teach all things. That Holy Spirit is God. And He’s living in believers of Christ. The Holy Spirit dwells in believers when they accept Christ. He acts as a seal, vouching for our salvation.
Just because you’re indwelt by the Spirit, though, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re living in the power of the Spirit. Each day you can pray to be filled with the Spirit — and to live life according to his leading. This kind of life gives you the power to do all sorts of things you could never do on your own.
For one, a life led by the Spirit bears fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. All of these amazing traits are exactly what’s needed in a haven. They’re exactly what helps the world. And they’re exactly what is impossible apart from God.
Apart from the Spirit, you’ll never experience true love or true joy or true peace or true patience or true kindness or true goodness or true faithfulness or true gentleness or true self control. You might get a little bit of those traits, as a sort of imposter, but without the Spirit, they won’t satisfy like the real deal.
By being filled by the Spirit and walking in the Spirit, you can begin to create a haven for others because you’ll mirror the beautiful picture of the haven God offers. You can be filled with an unexplainable love, bursts of true joy, inviting peace, welcoming patience, much-needed kindness, refreshing goodness, dependable faithfulness, uncommon gentleness, and necessary self control.
This fruit is possible, because you’re connected to the power of God. As Jesus explains in John 15:1-5:
Did you catch what he said about you, the branch, bearing fruit?
“As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
You simply can’t bear fruit on your own. Apart from Christ, you can do nothing. But when you do abide in him and are connected to him, you’ll bear good fruit.
Starting the transformation
Imagine being out in the world all day long and returning to the protection and refreshment that a Spirit-filled haven offers. Completely unlike the negative pull from earthly pursuits, a Spirit-filled haven infuses life and a sense of the Lord’s peace and blessings to all who enter.
While this can be a beautiful picture of what your home can potentially offer others, remember that this is what you can personally offer others with your presence, as you walk closely with the Holy Spirit and are transformed by him.
As 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled faces, behold the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
When you have a close relationship with the Lord of the universe and allow him to work in your life, you can’t help but reflect His glory to this sin-steeped world.
You make a haven for others based on your relationship with them and how welcoming you are. When you treat them with the fruit of the Spirit that’s part of you, you give them a haven they can’t find anywhere else. Who wouldn’t want someone else’s patience or love? This is so different than what the world offers.
To transform your life and home into a haven, you are the one who needs to first be transformed. As you are, you become the spark to light up wherever you call home. Ready to start the transformation?