Out of the Box

Some things look really, really good.

Rex in the box

Rex in the box

Chloe near the box

Chloe near the box

Both cats adored this box.  Rex spent at least 10 minutes trying to fit inside.  He managed to get his round head and broad shoulders into the narrow opening.  Failing to fit the rest of his bulk into the cavern, he sniffed around the box. He circled the box, searching for another, easier entrance. He rubbed his furry face all over the outside, anointing every flap with his scent.

Chloe, on the other hand, sniffed the box daintily.  She poked her small head inside, then realized it wasn’t for her.  Perhaps Rex’s scent put her off.  Anyway, she had better things to do with her time.  Like lie in the sunshine, purring.

I think of how many boxes I’ve tried to fit into in my life.  The ideal wife – “an angel in the kitchen, and a tiger in the bedroom” – to quote “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.  The perfect, selfless, nurturing yet firm mother who exemplifies godliness and grace with every breath.  The hardworking employee, meeting deadlines right and left, perpetual cheerful smile and attitude firmly in place.  The hardcore athlete, always up for a new challenge, facing sore muscles and mental fatigue with grit and determination.  And last but not least, the superstar Christian, serving until exhaustion overtakes.

These human-imposed standards are tough to reach.  Yet we put them on ourselves and others all the time.  Frankly, I simply don’t measure up.  But I excel at being myself.  I win at listening to the still, small voice of Jesus and following His lead.  I finish well when my heart is free of bitterness and I serve in His strength, not my own.  The beauty  in all of us lies in our uniqueness.  Squelching it, over and over, only frustrates us and those we love. Living in rebellion won’t do, either.  Only letting God work in us will.

So I’m leaving these old, empty boxes behind.  They never held any goodies for me, anyway.  One thing about boxes:  they cover very little real estate.  They’re cramped, dark and lonely.  And they were only full when I crawled inside them.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.2 Corinthians 3:17

 

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