At a certain point in my counseling, I realized that I had “hit a wall” in my healing process. There was a blackness in my mind that I could not penetrate, and I felt as if some hidden thing lurking inside me was holding me in bondage. I was right on the edge of working through this obstacle, but I just could not get through the black maze. Memories were trapped there in the blackness.
My counselor advised me to create a “safe place” to which I could retreat when the time finally came that I did penetrate that blackness and begin to drive it away, a place in my mind where I could rest whenever my emotions or thoughts became too upsetting or too hard to handle. This exercise also included choosing a name for my safe place. I chose the name Contentment. According to the dictionary, contentment is the state of being contented, and contented means feeling satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation. Contentment is a feeling of calm satisfaction.
On the very day that I created my place of Contentment, after I left my counseling session, my new feeling of calm satisfaction was put to the test. When I got home, I realized that one of my pet cats was missing. You may remember that God had sent me two cats that had become sources of real joy to me, so to find that one of them was gone made me very sad. As I sat and meditated about the situation, I realized that my accustomed response to this type of challenge would have been extreme sadness accompanied by weeping and deep depression.
However, this time I felt different. I felt sad, but there was also a calmness about me. I felt contentment in the situation because my sadness was not controlling my life. I knew that I could move on and not be defeated by my extreme emotions. Some people may not consider this to be a very important thing, but to me it was a huge accomplishment. It was a great victory in my life. And I knew that my winning these battles in the small things would prepare me for the larger battles along my path to healing.
As the week progressed, I used my new place of Contentment to deal with other stressful situations, including a confrontational encounter with a difficult person. God used these opportunities to build my confidence.
In Psalm 27:1-4 He says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (NIV).
I may have that blackness in my mind for now, but God is the light that will shine through it. I will not fear. The Lord will be my stronghold and help me advance toward healing and wholeness. I will not be afraid. Even though emotions and bad memories try to ruin my life, attack me, and beat me down, I will be confident. God has helped me with the small battles so that I can win the big ones.
Verses 5-6 tell me, “For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in his dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” Oh what joy to be safe in His dwelling and to be on a rock, not hidden in a cave somewhere cowering from the enemy! I can declare with the Psalmist what is written in verses 13-14: “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Yes! I am confident that goodness will come out of all that I have experienced and all that I will experience in the future. But for now I must wait. I will be strong and I will wait.
Is there some difficult thing in your future that holds the key to your healing? Do you, too, need to find a safe place? What is the word that God has just for you? Rest in this assurance: God wants to keep you safe in your day of trouble. You are a victor, and God wants to set you high on a rock for all to see. Have confidence and wait on Him. Wait, and be strong.
Blessings – Lisa
In my darkest days, your kitchen table was my place of contentment.
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I am so glad that my house was a place of Contentment for you! Betsy and I enjoyed being able to cook for you. Little Forks bring back good memories.