Have you ever felt stuck?
Like the walls were closing in on you?
Have you ever considered it may very well be the walls, the sides, of the box you are living in?
The box is normally filled with labels, opinions and nonverbal messages we receive about who we are and who we can or cannot ever be. The box is filled with phrases like should, should not, has always been this way and there is no other way.
Living inside the box becomes a tight squeeze eventually. The shoulds, should nots and always been this ways breathe heavy down our neck. The air gets so thick and putrid we become stifled. In time our claustrophobia will cause us to kick down the sides or we simply shrink down in our personhood in order to remain.
The box, the labels, may not be “bad” things. But when the way it has always been gets in the way of what could be, it’s not good. When the opinions dropped into our box mean more than the voice of His Spirit, it’s not good. When the labels we longed to wear clutter up space in our hearts for authentic joy, it’s not good. When being a part of something overrides being set apart, it’s not good.
I can’t function well in the box. I lived most of my life in the box of pleasing to gain validation. I lived for years in a box filled with the left-over residue from someone else’s experience with God. Everywhere I looked I could only see what I should do, what I should say, what I should think. Eventually I stopped reaching for more because my hands hit boundaries and ceilings and opinions that told me I could never.
I didn’t know I was living in a box. I just thought I might die if I couldn’t catch my breath so like a drowning woman I clawed my way to air.
The walls fell down like the cheap, cardboard counterfeits they were.
I am a wife. I am a mom. I am a friend, a servant and a giver. I am a Christ-follower. But what I am not willing to be is someone tangled up in a box. Any box. New or old. It’s loud in there. And I can’t find Him while worshipping the idol of familiarity. Familiar failings. Familiar expectations. Familiar emptiness.
The box can be filled to the brim and yet my soul empty.
I belong to Jesus. I do not belong in a box of what has always been, what I could never be or what I in fact become.
Sides of human definition are not meant to hold me in place. His hands hold me, open-palmed, so that I might fly.