11 March 2011

"Where did my box go?"

I was in a discussion recently with some friends. Someone started talking about thinking and acting outside the box. In the midst of the conversation, I clearly heard God say, "There is no box." (And yes, I immediately saw a boy with no hair holding a spoon doing impossible things.)

"Awesome!", I thought. And who wouldn't? No boxes, no holes to fit into. It's a freeing thought. But the reality is, we've spent our lives so boxed in that we don't understand what "there is no box" means, in the same way that someone freed from years in prison has no idea what freedom really means.

Once upon a time, when this world was new born, there were no boxes. Then, for reasons we don't fully get, God put a box around one, small tree. "Don't go there," he said to Adam and Eve. "Stay out of the box."

And for a while they did. There was practically no box for Adam and Eve. They had infinity minus one to play with. They could go anywhere, do anything, so long as they avoided that one, tiny place. But, just as when someone says, "don't think of the word 'elephant'" you keep thinking the word 'elephant', Satan got them focused on the box. So long as they didn't think about it, there really was no box as far as they were concerned. But once they focused on the box, it dominated their world. And after they climbed into the box, they couldn't get out.[1] Everyone after them was born in a box. Most of us live our entire lives in our boxes.

But Jesus came to set us free. My box was gone but I didn't realize that. I wouldn't have put it this way, but subconsciously I was treating it more like an upgraded box, a bigger nicer box in many ways, and a more confining box in others, but still... just a box. Even as I realized that the constraints were mostly man-made, not God's, all I saw was a bigger, nicer box.

When I finally there was no box, I had no real way to grasp it. Walking out of a box into infinity is kind of overwhelming. Subconsciously, some part of me was dancing like a little kid, yelling, "there is no box!" while another part was adopting the patient, grown up attitude of understanding that while there wasn't what you might call a box, there must be something box-ish, a fence, a boundary, something out there.

Knowing how foolish I can be, God has been making it plain that when he says there is no box, what he really means is... there is no box. There were so many things I assumed or understood or decided or had been told I wasn't qualified to do, was unable to do, or wouldn't get the chance to do, or whatever. One by one, God has been handing me on a silver platter opportunities that destroy those concepts. I'm doing more, and having more fun doing it, with God than I thought possible, never mind likely. It's not just that there are no limits on the things he'd already called me or gifted me to do, but that through Him, I really can do anything.


Have you got that concept yet? Anything. Everything. "All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me." Not all things within reach. Not all things to a certain extent. Not all things except these 12,933. Or even 12. All things.

Does that mean I'll get to do everything I can dream up? I have no idea. But I'm now quite confident I can do everything God can think of. Since he's infinite, and infinitely cool, that means he can dream up more than I can (and that's a lot), and even cooler stuff.

It's not a question of whether I'm worthy. It's not a question of whether I'm capable. It's not a question of whether I'm qualified. It's not a question of whether I'm called, or gifted, or passionate, or have enough faith. It's a question of whether or not there's a box. And since he said there isn't, I don't need an answer, because I can no longer find the question. (I'm not looking for it, either.)

If you've accepted the gift of grace, you also accepted freedom from your box. There's a whole, big world out there waiting to be loved on. Get out there with God and love on it. Love people out of their boxes.

[1] Some time soon I'll discuss what I believe God intended to happen with that tree. I think we misunderstand that as well.


  1. Uri Geller was bald? j/k

    This is wonderful and thought-provoking. I will be reading it more than once.