In Bob Goff’s book, Love Does, he mentions his fabulous mobile office on Tom Sawyer’s island at Disneyland.
When I read about his outside-the-box location, I said to my husband, “I wish I could have an office at Disneyland!”
Instead of rolling his eyes at my outrageous suggestion, he replied, “Well you can’t have an office at Disney, but is there somewhere else you could go?”
Instead of looking at all the reasons why I couldn’t have an incredible place to work and write, he helped me ask some pivotal questions:
Where could I go that would be refreshing to me mentally?
What place could help balance the winter blahs with lots of sunshine? (Because driving to Florida on a Tuesday isn’t going to happen.)
Where is an inspiring place right outside my door?
His question made me realize:
Just because we can’t change our surroundings doesn’t mean we should give up.
Let me tell you, nobody will kick you off the couch for your mental health, but if you feel unbalanced in some area, you need to find help that sets things right again.
Inertia is the enemy of making change. Because sometimes it’s just easier not to do anything, than to change things at all.
Thus began my quest for an inspiring place to get away and write or think or dream.
I found it here:
The Botanical Gardens.
I use this as my occasional mobile office, writing space, and mental health break.
It’s bliss on a frigid ten-degree day.
For me, it’s a place I can pray. Write. Reflect. All the things an introvert needs to feel balanced and whole again.
I call it my happy place.
Why You Need to Find Your Happy Place
In Luke 5:16 the Bible says, that Jesus would “withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
Different translations call this place a “wilderness,” “desert,” and a “lonely” place.
Jesus also withdrew to other places to pray including a mountain (Matthew 14:23) and a solitary place (Mark 1:35).
When the Bible says that Jesus withdrew to a desolate place, I often wonder what that might have looked like. Was this place beautiful? Did it help refresh him?
Although we can’t answer that question directly, the verses seem to indicate some similarities:
- That he withdrew there. (In other words, he didn’t stay home.)
- That he prayed.
- That it was outdoors.
I think there is something significant that happens when I place myself in God’s creation. Suddenly I’m more aware of the overwhelming beauty of His creation, and something in me is set right again.
This is what I call my happy place. (Because a “desolate” spot just doesn’t have the same ring.)
Obviously your happy place can be anywhere, but I prefer a quiet spot outdoors.
Side Note: My house is not a quiet place. Most days, my home is a lively, loud, bustling place. Though I love being home and with my family, it seems like someone or some task is always vying for my attention. It’s a hard place to pray or to be alone.
But in the sun-starved wintertime, it’s hard to sit outside on zero degree day and enjoy the cold.
So the Botanical Gardens is a place for me to experience God’s creation; in essence; it’s my happy place
Finding a place that recalibrates my soul is one step in finding balance and wholeness in my personal life.
My Word for the Year
Every year I choose a word to focus on for the year. You can see some of my past words here and here.
After several weeks of thinking about what my focus should be for this year, I chose wholehearted.
Because I want to be wholeheartedly in love with Jesus.
Because I want to live a wholehearted life that’s balanced in four areas:
We all make choices about our health. For me, it’s so easy to focus on just physical health. But I’ve realized that mental, spiritual, and relational health need just as much of a workout.
Wholehearted living is about maintaining balance in all areas as I pursue a life lived for Him.
It’s about managing those overwhelming emotions (stress, grief, anger, pick your poison) in a healthy way. It’s about healing from grief and past difficulties and seeking a life aligned with Christ.
It’s about becoming more aware of the areas that are unbalanced, instead of rushing through my days.
Life Balance = good health in all these areas, not just one area.
Finding my happy place has been good for me mentally and spiritually.
I challenge you to find a place of rest for your soul.
A place to pray and heal.
A place to recalibrate from the pressures of the day.
Once you find it, you’ll make space in your day for it.
You won’t envy someone who has an office at Disneyland.
You’ll have your very own happy place.
*Thanks to Pastor Dennis Miller for teaching about these four areas that need to be in balance.