The words “triggers” and “safety” are referred to frequently in our society today. People are expressing a strong need to feel “safe” and along with it they focus on the “triggers” that they believe are keeping them from feeling safe. In our ministry we are aware that creating a “safe space” for people is an important part of what we do on our weekends. We do this by being non-judgmental, accepting people where they are at and giving support to one another. I call this “Safety 101.” It’s true that we do need to feel safe. But how?
An important question to ask oneself is am I thriving in life, or am I simply surviving? A few years ago, I went to my favorite national park – Yosemite Valley. A couple of days after my 12 hour hike up to Half Dome and back, when I finally had the energy to reflect on the hike itself, I became aware of a few things.
My family takes road trips. A lot of road trips. We have driven from Kentucky to Florida, Boston, Oregon, Colorado, and California. It’s fun to have the windows down, music blasting, taking in beauty from different regions in the country: beaches, mountains, cities, and countryside…
We talk a lot in this ministry about creating a “safe space”—on the weekends, in R groups. Our culture also uses those words, to talk about creating safe spaces within universities, or online, for example. But those safe spaces mean something different. That safe space is a place to be safe from people who disagree with you, or have a different viewpoint from you. A place where you can be safe from uncomfortable feelings, from having to reconcile the gaps between how you should live and how you actually live. A place where you never have to feel uncomfortable, or feel anxious, ashamed, or sad.
I started this ministry 16 years ago and it has been the greatest joy of my life. The power of God’s love and presence on the weekends is amazing and I am immensely grateful for the impact He has had on so many people. The weekends have also been my greatest avenue for personal growth. Over the years, through the ministry I have been confronted with my own weakness and brokenness. In fact, the ministry’s emphasis on embracing our brokenness stems from my own awareness of how deeply broken I am and thus how much all of us are.
Garbage in, garbage out is a familiar term in the computer industry. I discovered, in the most profound and personal way, that it can apply to us mortals as well. In my case, that discovery, which was an entirely spiritual event, took place during a weekend retreat at Men at The Cross, and it was amazing. It was what I like to call “A God Thing.”