Oh boxes make me happy. Little compartments that I can sort things to keep them organized and where they belong. Little labels that are cute and functional and keep places from being so messy.
But here's the thing about my boxes... they only work if I use them, which life has a tendency to keep me from doing quite as I would like. So there are piles and messes. Counter-tops covered with mail to read and bills to pay. Toys scattered across the living room floor. Junk drawers filled with exactly that. I'm sure most of you can relate. (If you have mastered the art of actually living life and using all your boxes as designed, please, feel free to give me some tips!)
Life has a way of living outside of our boxes.
The Type-A, logical thinking brain that God gave me wrestles with this. I want to put life in boxes. I want to neatly pack away emotions into their pretty little containers and only pull them out when I'm ready. I want to put dreams for the future in their perfectly labeled boxes and pull them off the shelves when I'm ready to go live the next dream or take the next step. When my boxes get overturned or I realize I can't fit a God-size dream into my earthly sized box, life gets messy.
If I think back to the most stressful times in my life, there was usually a box involved. There was a very neatly packaged plan that I was going to live according to that didn't pan out quite the way I originally thought. For example, there was the vow I made to myself when I was taking (and hating) thermodynamics, that I would never work at a power plant. Then God showed me what was in His box of tricks when I fell in love and married a nuclear engineer and we both went to work together working for a power plant operating company (which I learned to absolutely love). Then there was the box of where we would live. This city mouse married another city mouse and we vowed we would never move to a small town... until we did; and have absolutely fallen in love with where we now live. We're learning to be city mice that like to play in the country. Then there was our very well designed box of when we would start our family. If you are familiar with our story at all and the purpose for starting this blog, then you know how that little earthly box turned out. Yet again, through a rather painful process, we learned to let go of our boxes and get into God's box. And we learned that our box was really way too small and non-imaginative to begin with.
The problem comes because life, inherently, can't be freely lived inside boxes. If I am chasing after the life God has prepared for me and living for Him and His purpose, then there is no box that is big enough. God can't be put into an earthly box. He cannot be fully defined in earthly understanding, and therefore His plans for us cannot be understood until it is time for us to see them unfolding. The minute I try to start packing away my God ordained life, I am limiting not just myself, but I'm limiting the blessing of God's creativity in my life.
If there is one thing I've learned over the past few years it is that I have to step outside of my box and into God's if I'm going to live freely. The other thing I've learned is to stop vowing to never do something because God has quite the sense of humor!