Short Thought continued.....
For many years I lived in a box.
A metaphorical box.
I can't recall how I got in there, but it became a place of safety and hiding.
Over time, the originally clear walls became covered with labels.
Labels that the world stuck on from the outside and labels I stuck on from the inside.
Over time the walls of the box became thickened by the labels and it became hard to see out.
'You should... ', 'You should not...', 'You must...', 'You're not...'
labels from 'the world', from myself and from people within 'the church'.
I longed for someone to open the box and invite me out.
I prayed for this, but it did not happen.
On a Christian retreat I heard a song that was new to me.
It was a call to come out of hiding and that I would be safe with Jesus.
I realised I had to open the box and step out.
I responded and took that bold step.
It was easy to do it in a place of acceptance and love
where bold steps were encouraged and people cheered me on.
Back at home it was not as easy.
There was a lure to go back into the box, into my place of safety.
If I could resist going back into the box, at times I felt safe hiding behind the box.
Harder still is resisting people who try to put me back in my box and apply more labels.
To resist going back in I decided to stand on the box;
standing helped me claim my identity in Christ.
The box became a symbol of my recent journey and the work God has been doing in my life.
After being confined for many years I've been learning to stand strong.
There has been wriggling and stretching so I can stand tall and lift up my head.
It's scary and a bit vulnerable at times.
Even as I stand on the box, there is the lie that there is safety in the box.
While the box is still there, the enemy tries to pull me back into it.
Even as I've stretched, I'm now realising that, although not confined by it,
I am still restricted by it.
So, it's now time to step away, light a match and watch the box burn.
‘Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you
to enter this wide-open, spacious life.
We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you.
Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way.
I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection.
Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.’
(2 Corinthians 6:11-13 MSG)
How is God calling you to come out of hiding?
How is God calling you to stand up and not conform to people's expectations?
Are we, even in the church, trying to box people in
to make them conform to our way of thinking or behaving?