If, deep down, everyone longs for a haven (and I truly believe they do!), how can you start transforming your home into a haven? What’s the first step in to create a haven?
For starters, it’s important to understand the three essential parts of any haven. Of course you have a physical haven that you can see—that’s where you live. But there’s also a relational aspect and a spiritual aspect.
Just like a three-legged stool will topple if one of the three legs is missing, a haven won’t really happen if one of the three aspects isn’t there.
You could have the coziest home in the world filled with people who get along, but if there’s no spiritual life, you’ll end up feeling empty and always searching for something more.
Similarly, if you have a thriving relationship with Christ and good, strong relationships but are surrounded by clutter or haven’t really stopped to do much in your home, it’s no surprise you’re feeling discontent.
Where do you need to focus?
Once you realize you need all three aspects of a haven, the first big step is figuring out which aspects you need to focus on and build. As you consider your strengths and weaknesses, you can begin to create a haven.
In case you need a little bit of clarity, here are some questions that might help you narrow your focus:
Do you need to work on your spiritual haven?
Can you pinpoint a time in your life when you understood who Jesus was, and did you seek to begin a relationship with Him? If you can’t, this is the first foundational step to experiencing true peace and your true haven.
If you already have a relationship with Christ, how is everything going? Do you feel closely connected to Him? Or have you started living life on your own? Have you forgotten your first love?
If you’ve drifted away from Him, now’s a perfect time to turn around and get closer. A couple of great ways to do this is to make a point to pray throughout your day (more than saying grace at mealtimes) and reading your Bible. (Need a fresh look at who Jesus is? The book of Mark is a quick way to get reintroduced to him.)
If you feel like you’re walking closely with Christ, your spiritual haven should be a strength … it’s time to keep checking for the weakest link!
Do you need to work on your relational havens?
When you think about the relationships in your life, what emotions come to mind? Are you basically filled with happiness or peace or contentment? Or does anger or sadness bubble up? Can you recognize definite disappointment … or thankfulness?
If you find yourself experiencing negative emotions, that’s a really good signal that you’ll need to work on your relationships.
The unfortunate or maybe even relieving truth is that relationships aren’t solely dependent on you.
If the other person in the relationship is creating difficulty, you need to realize that’s out of your control. This doesn’t mean you should check out, but simply realize you may need to do all you can do to help the relationship, then step back and wait for the other person.
If you’re struggling with relationships, whether it’s with your spouse, children, other family members, friends, or co-workers, you’re probably experiencing a lot of added stress. That stress will zap any feelings of havens.
And while conflict is inevitable, a constant state of conflict has a savvy way of eating away at havens.
Do you need to work on your physical haven?
Finally, maybe the most obvious aspect of havens is the physical. When you can see the home you’re living in, you have a really good idea what the strengths and weaknesses are.
When you look around your home, do you feel trapped in a messy, cluttered place?
- Are piles of stuff keeping you from living in a peaceful home?
- Do you have certain projects—whether it’s cleaning or decluttering or home improvement or construction—that loom over you?
- When you walk into a certain room, do you feel like you’re internally bracing yourself for what you’ll see or feel? Do you bristle when you think about working on a specific area of your home?
If mess isn’t an issue for you, how about your surroundings?
- When you look around your home, do you feel comfortable? Or does it all feel fairly boring and lifeless?
- When you walk into a room, can you spy your personality sprinkled around your surroundings?
- Do you like to stay in certain rooms more than others?
If you know your physical haven needs improvement, what’s the number one thing you want to change?
If you’re dealing with too much stuff, it’s time to invest your time and energy into a purging marathon. (There’s no sprinting when it comes to decluttering! You need to be committed for the long haul.)
Maybe you know your home needs some updates and actual work projects are high on your to-do list. Make these a priority, both financially and time-wise. (Waiting can be oh so hard, though!)
If you think you need to infuse some life into your home, it’s a perfect time to make a wish list of what you could add to make a room more comfortable. Check out Pinterest for ideas, or online magazines like Better Homes and Gardens or HGTV. Remember, you don’t have to copy every element you see, but they can give you ideas for colors and decor.
Now that you’re ready to take the next step
Once you’ve narrowed down what you need to change—whether it’s spiritual, relational, or physical—you know what you need to work on to start fully experiencing a haven.
While you may need to prepare yourself for a potentially long process of change, you also can breathe a sigh of relief. You now know where to start in your haven creation!