What Does Safety Look Like?

Our culture is obsessed with safety. In our country we are sacrificing freedoms for perceived safety. Laws are constantly being passed to enforce safety. We all want to feel safe.

I am obsessed with safety. I’ve realized that it may even be an idol for me. I want to feel safe.

But it occurred to me that safety isn’t a feeling. It’s a reality. I can be safe and not feel safe. I can feel safe and not be safe. The safety I’ve been pursuing — the feeling— is an illusion.

Safety is a state of being. But what does it look like? My first thought was of a person living in a solid, impenetrable fortress. The inside of the fortress is padded with cotton and covered with velvet. There are no hard places. No rough edges. All is safe.

And boring! And lonely. And what kind of life would that be?

Then I thought of myself as a child in the backseat of the car. In those less safety-conscious days, we didn’t have to be in a car seat. We didn’t even have to wear seat belts. We rattled around in the backseat. Sprawled out to sleep. Got on our knees to watch where we’d been disappear in the back window. I didn’t concern myself with whether my daddy knew the way. Whether he was going too fast. Or whether he knew what he was doing. I felt safe. I trusted my daddy.

Then I thought of that same trust-worthy daddy in a different setting. The doctor’s office. What if I had a deep wound that needed stitches? I wouldn’t like what was happening. I wouldn’t feel safe. I might even feel like my daddy was letting me down. Yet, I would be totally safe. More so than if he ignored the wound because he didn’t want me to go through the pain of healing.

So, what does safety look like?

For me, it looks like this: Living wild adventures with someone who is all-powerful. Someone who loves me and will give his life for me. Someone who will fight the bad guys and win. Someone who will not allow any pain to come to me unless it is ultimately for my good and for my healing.

Safety is a reality, not a feeling. I can no longer use my feelings to determine whether or not I am safe. I must just hold on to the one who loves me and boldly live the adventure!




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