Monday, August 13, 2007

Lessons Learned from Box Living

I'm moving this weekend. My husband, Michael, and I bought a new house and we are very excited about it. But we aren't as excited about the boxes that have been piled up around our apartment for the past week as we have been packing. It’s chaos around here. Organized chaos…but chaos nonetheless. I’m surrounded by boxes. Boxes with brightly colored labels detailing what’s inside are helpful, but they are still boxes at the end of the day.

In the past day or so I’ve learned a few things about box living that apply to live as a whole. Since sitting here and staring at my boxes has gotten old, I decided I’d share my new found revelations with you.

Lesson #1: You can’t put God in a box. When we first began packing Michael and I grossly underestimated the number of boxes we would need to complete the task. Turns out we have a lot more stuff than we thought we did. On more than one occasion I sat down to pack stuff in a box I assumed it would all fit in only to find that my size estimates were off. Who knew I have enough board games to overflow a medium box?

Often in life I assume I can force God into a box as well. I take the things I know about God and pigeonhole Him into a formula or predetermined pattern of behavior and completely forget that He is God and He can do whatever He wants. Somehow I forget He is all knowing and that He will make all things work together for good in the end even if it doesn’t look like it in the moment.Sometimes it can be hard to comprehend that God is bigger than we can ever understand. The easiest way to deal with this is to start doing what I eventually did while I was packing. Go for the bigger box. If you must use boxes, aim for the super size. God is still going to overflow it. He’s still going to break the mold. He will break your rules, and He will let you get your heart broken in the process. But then He will put all of the pieces back together and make it more beautiful than you could have ever imagined. He’s God. That’s His job. Fortunately for you, it’s not yours.

Lesson # 2: Even when it seems like it, Satan cannot pack your dreams in a box and ship them away. As I sat in my living room packing my life in a box, I couldn’t help but think back to all of the times when I felt as if my dreams were being packed in boxes and shipped away. Back when I was single I hated wedding season. Nothing says depressing quite like getting dressed up to go sit with your other single friends and watch someone else run off with your dream of getting married. I hate when that happens. But, over the years I have learned that for every “no” God has ever given me there have been one thousand yeses. They may not always be for the things I asked for, but they are for things that make my life good—good health, good neighbors, good friends, etc…Think about your own one thousand yeses and your one no won’t seem so devastating anymore.

Lesson 3#: Most people disregard the “Fragile” labels, but God doesn’t. It makes me incredibly nervous that Michael and his friends are responsible for actually moving my boxes from the old apartment to the new house. Why? Because the other day I bought some classic white wooden rockers for the new house and they came in boxes marked “Handle with Care.” But Michael actually picked up one of the boxes and threw it instead of gently placing it down. He says he didn't see the label, and I believe him. But ever since then I have been a pest of a wife in making sure that he knows “fragile” means fragile and that if he—or anyone else—throws my grandma’s crystal they are dead meat.In my life I have had many people who have somehow managed to ignore or misread the fragile label on my heart. In fact, my life still has people like that in it. No matter how hard I try to rid myself of careless people, they keep popping up. They can’t be stopped. If I closed my eyes right now, I could play a slide show on demand of the people who have crushed my dreams and shredded my heart over the years. Some of my wounds have turned to scars, but all scars leave indelible reminders on your heart. In an effort to avoid repeating past mistakes you remember past pains.

Even though people have mishandled my mangled heart time and time again, God has never done it once. Not even when He has made me bleed. A few years ago I endured a very painful time in my life that severed ties and burned bridges. In my recent packing I came across photos from that time, and I took a minute to sit down and study the faces and emotions behind some of those photos before packing them away. I thought of tossing some of them out, but I didn’t. As I looked at those photos, something new began to happen in my heart. Instead of seeing the betrayal of people I once trusted, I began to see the faithfulness of God. He carried me through that time. And now, years later, I am in a place that is far greater than I could have ever imagined back then.

Not only am I free from the bondage I used to be in, but I am also blessed beyond belief. God handled my heart with great care even when others didn’t, and healing has been possible because of that.

Anyway, this blog entry is getting longer than I anticipated (too much stuff for one box, again). But these are some of my thoughts as I am packing up my life and moving. I would love to hear your thoughts too, so feel free to leave a post below.

1 comment:

Sweetchick said...

Awww! I know how you feel about the fragile labels. I still hurt from those who have hurt me. I'm trying to learn to love and "let go". I personally think that some of the writers that write these pious little cliches don't have an experiential clue about what they're talking about.

I've tried turning them over to Him, but the hurt and anger just keeps coming back. Some people I can't even think or talk about without going on a verbal rant about them. *sigh* :)

Some like my sister have hurt and dissappointed me many times. Thanks for the article and allowing my rant. LOL Merry Christmas!