Thursday, May 15, 2014

Box People

Are you a box-person?

Do you live in a world of rightness that you created yourself?

Are you a two car, two kid, one dog, house-in-the-suburbs, church-on-Sunday kind of person that never does anything uncomfortable or unexpected?  Never toes the line?  Never takes a first step, much less a second or third, from the imaginary safety of that perfect little cube you've built?

Have you ever even thought outside of your box?  You aren't alone if you haven't.

Maybe you're scared of what lies beyond the borders of your safe little world.  Maybe you're worried about what all the other box-people would think if you ever boldly stepped over the line of what's normal or acceptable.  Or maybe - just maybe - you're the arrogant one...the one that thinks your idea of a box is the only kind of box there should be, and you're the one shaking your head at the stepping-outside-the-box crowd.

We live in such a self-saturated culture that we grow up thinking that the world revolves around us and around what we want for our lives.  We're taught to do what makes us happy, to be true to ourselves, to follow our dreams, yet we also have parents to please and friends to fit in with and society to conform to and rivals to plague with jealousy.  We form opinions about things based on what sounds easy or fun or safe or exciting to us, or we simply do what's expected.  We make plans about everything, and we use our 'vast' intelligence to determine what steps we should take and what choices we should make.  In all of our all of our pride in thinking that somehow we know what's best for our lives, God and His designs get lost in the tangle of what we want for ourselves and in what seems to us to be responsible and fulfilling.

As a recovering box-person, I have a bit of news for you, box-world:

God does not think inside your box.

Comfortable box-people, have you ever inquired of God in all of your box-designing?  Have you ever given your thoughts and your ideas and your hopes and your dreams and your fears over to Him in prayer?  Have you asked again and again and again, repeatedly nailing your questions to the throne of God until you get an answer?  Have you given God the authority He deserves over your entire life?  What do you suppose could happen if you allowed Him to lead you?  Are you afraid?  Afraid of what the world will think if you do something out of the norm and all Jesus-y?  Afraid that God will break the parameters of your comfortable, predictable life and ask you to get dirty?  Afraid that He will lead you down paths that would open your eyes, break your heart, kill your selfishness, and force you to desperately cling to Him? 

Perhaps He would make your heart ache for the orphans of Haiti and plant in you the burning desire to make a home for a child that has little hope.

Perhaps He would ask you to trust Him, prompting you to leave behind a well-paying job and building your faith through unemployment, until He leads you to the next chapter in your career.

Perhaps He would ask you to move your family into a tiny apartment and to trust in His timing and in His perfect plan.

Perhaps He would ask you to trust Him with the number of children you will have, growing your faith in the same increments as He grows your family, leaving you to testify to God's unending goodness and provision.

Perhaps He would lead you to give up a huge chunk of your income to fund another family's adoption, or to assist them in finding help for their child.

Perhaps He would ask you to find a new job and rearrange your schedule, with less money and more sacrifices, allowing you to pull your daughter from daycare for a few extra days each week so you can have as much influence on her little life as possible.

Perhaps He would ask you to raise children with traumatic pasts, renewing you and teaching you to persevere beyond your human capabilities, even when the world says to give up.

Perhaps He would lead your family to sell your home and your possessions and move to Africa as missionaries.

Perhaps He would ask you to be a cheerful blessing to families in need, running their errands, fixing their houses or cars, giving up your time to serve them. 

Perhaps He would ask you to adopt a houseful of children with special needs and spend your life caring for them and showering them with the love of Jesus.

Perhaps He would call you to leave your home, learn a new language, and plant churches in a foreign country.

Perhaps He would ask you to homeschool your children, shattering your ideas of schooling and free time and hard work and daily stripping bare all your weaknesses.

Perhaps He would ask you to love as He has loved, forgive as He has forgiven, even when the pain in your heart threatens to consume you and you want to cling to your bitterness and pain.

And perhaps He would ask you to be a two car, two kid, one dog, house-in-the-suburbs, church-on-Sunday kind of person with an incredible heart for Him, just waiting for whatever He brings your way.

I have no idea of the ways God desires to use you.  He works differently in every Christian's life, and has a different plan and different work prepared for each of His children.  But if you truly belong to Him, He does have a plan for you, and it doesn't include your comfortable little box.

You may never know unless you give your box to Him.

Ask Him.  Lay your life at His feet.  Listen, grow, and wait for Him. 
And then hang on as He turns your box-world upside down.
You will never be the same.

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