In the Bible, it talks about people constructing a church with a special room called the “Holy of Holies”. It was believed that God lived in that space. It contained the essence of everything that gave the people their identity as a nation.
If our house has a Holy of Holies, it’s in the shower.
It started a year or two ago. The world revealed itself to be an imposing place, and our home felt less like haven than a hostel. During that time we turned ourselves inward, focusing on the only place that assures privacy and demands respect. It became our sanctuary. It was our refuge. When the world got too ugly, too mean, too personal, the shower was the place where we were untouchable. The steam became a cocoon that shielded us from the negativity that tried to consume us.
Because we were spending more and more time there, it became a frequent occurrence for the other to hang out and chat through the curtain. One of us would lather up while the other sat on the floor outside, pretending that this was the only room in the whole world. It’s a practice we still enjoy. Showers have become a place to scrub down to your bare bones and let the suds mingle with your tears while the other listens intently across the curtain.
Looking back, I can see how absolutely necessary this has been for our survival. I was dealing with almost constant rejection on a professional level. Leah was still trying to make peace with the loss of her bakery. Outside of each other, our family life was a mess.
We needed a safe place.
Then Leah brought home a pack of water-resistant shower crayons and immediately the landscape of our shower began to change. Each wall became a list of our hopes or the things we were thankful for. We wrote down the things we love about each other and little notes of encouragement. The shower became the epicenter of our marriage; everything that was good about who we are as a couple was concentrated to that one room of our house.
Surrounded and enveloped by the reminders to one another that we were strong enough to make it, something strange began to happen… We started to believe it. Our notes became daily reminders that we were enough. That we’re not burdens. That God loves us and we’re doing okay. Slowly those words were transferred from the walls of our shower to our hearts.
If you don’t have a space like that, you should. If for no other reason, to remind yourself that whatever feels so devastating today is just a footnote in tomorrow’s story. Find a spot somewhere unexpected– a closet or a tree or a corner of a room or a shower. Somewhere you can escape to when life gets too heavy.
When you’ve found a spot, line the walls with the answers to these questions: What words do you desperately long to hear spoken to you? What do you want? What are you grateful for? What fact about yourself do you always need reminded of? Leave notes for yourself. If you have a significant other, leave notes for them. Remind yourself that you’re great, because you are.
Paul Allen is the editor of Hunting for God. After growing up in an Assemblies of God church, he attended Johnson Bible College for two years before dropping out. In the time since, he has more or less figured out the whole “adulthood” thing, gotten married, and holds a steady job by day and writes movie scripts by night. He currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Leah and two cats, Ego and Karma. HfG on FB