Monday, September 16, 2013

Living life Outside the Box

I'm in my 40s.  And I've realized that I've lived most of my life in boxes.  Boxes that others have made for me.  Boxes I've created for myself.  Boxes that society says that I must live in.  And yet... the Holy Spirit continues to woo me to the spacious, free, and open life that He has prepared for me.

I don't know if you're aware of this, but there are LOTS of  “have to's” that we each live by.  Many of them come from “the experts”, from our parents, from our teachers, etc.  We are continually taught these hard and fast rules about life.  This is what you MUST do to be ….. a success. A good person. Responsible. Have a good life. Be a good christian. And on and on.  This is the path you MUST follow or you WILL destroy your life.  Now let me say that everything that we're taught, isn't bad.  Much is really good and we need to hold onto those things.  We especially hold on to the truth of God's word, for it is ALWAYS TRUE.  And we need to live within the laws of our society as along as they don't go against God's higher order.

But there are things that we are taught, that are accepted as an absolute truth, but aren't.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.  I was talking to a Kenyan friend recently about what it takes to get out of poverty in Kenya.  Her response was to do well in primary school so that one gets into a good private school and then to score well on the high school exam so that one goes to a private university.  Those who score well on the high school exam will have their education paid for by the state.  She said those who don't do well in school are doomed to continue the cycle of poverty.  I completely understand why she said what she said.  These was her observations, and experience.  And this is probably true most of the time.

There's one big problem.

God isn't limited to operating within a certain system.  He's always likely to bust out of the system.  And He is a creative God, with limitless creativity.  So when we walk with Him, the possibilities are endless!

I've found that walking with the True and living God usually requires us to get out of the box.  So what do I mean by that?  Here's what I mean by boxes.  Boxes are comfortable.  They are limitations that we place on others based on what we know and understand.   When we live within a box, life feels in control  (Until God destroys our box.) But here's the glaring truth:  We don't have full understanding about anything, nor do we have complete knowledge about anything.  But God does.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking about the story of when Jesus walked on water, and later Peter joined him.  The disciples, most of whom were fisherman and very familiar with boats and water, were struggling against the waves.  In the meantime, Jesus was on the shore and the boat was in the middle of the lake.  So what should he do?  If Jesus was like me, he'd think, “There's no boat near the shore, and it's too far to swim, so I guess I'm stuck here.”  I would’ve sat on the bank thinking that there were no other options.  But Jesus didn't.  He considered another option:  walking on the water.  Would you have considered that?  Now that's what I call an unconventional and unorthodox approach to solving a problem.  Don't you love His creativity?  Not only did Jesus walk on water, but he walked with such ease on the water, that he had every intention of passing the boat.  Ok, what a minute!  Jesus, choosing the unconventional method, was about to pass up these skilled sailors in the boat?

So this leads me back to my earlier point.  God doesn't need to use conventional approaches to solve problems – or to do anything for that matter.  As I stated earlier, we're limited to what we've seen, heard, experienced, and understand.  God isn't limited by OUR experiences or understanding, or other people's experiences and understanding.  He has ALL of His limitless options at His disposal.  And one of His options is walking on water.  And if we're walking with Him, it's one of our options too.  Later, Peter discovered this.  He walked on water as long as he kept His eyes on Jesus.

We too, must fix our thoughts on Jesus and believe.  Believe that He is the God of endless possibilities.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. “ Ephesians 4:20

Again I say, God isn't limited by your circumstances, you limited knowledge, ability or even by the “system” that you find yourself within.  I know. I know.  You want “figure” it out.  Again, back to our walking on water example: Would you have ever thought of walking on water?  It's crazy to think of walking on water.  We have no frame of reference for walking on water.  The only thing we can do to succeed is to keep our eyes on Jesus.  There are no books, or seminars to help us because no one has done it before!  Except Jesus.  Walking on water ONLY works when you're walking with Jesus.

Another important point:  When we're trying to do things based on what we think we know and understand, Jesus passes us by.  We struggle.  We strain.  We're frustrated.  We're exhausted and going NO WHERE.  We miss out on the amazing adventure of walking with the Creator and Ruler of the Universe.

So, you and I can choose to stay in our boxes if we wish.  Or we can step out into the limitless, free and uncharted waters of life with Jesus.  I can guarantee that it will be unsettling, and confusing at times.  You won't know what you're doing half the time.  The other times you'll think you know what you're doing, but you won't.  We can live with our minds open to the possibilities, and our hearts open to give and receive love.  We can take risks and fail, because our God and King is BIG enough to take care of us even when we fail.  We can become comfortable with the “not knowing” and yet firmly rooted in the love of our trustworthy God and King.  We can DREAM BIG with Him, and have no clue how to bring that dream to pass.

Let's do it.  Let's get out of the box.  Will you join me?

I'm starting by asking the Holy Spirit to show me other ways of living life.  I'm opening my mind to the  possibilities.  It's unsettling, and yet exciting!  I'm letting myself dream, and asking God to fulfill every dream He's implanted in my heart.  I'm asking Him to give me the courage to live out these dreams to the fullest.  I'm striving to keep my heart and mind fixed on Jesus.  He is my anchor.  I cling to Him.  Everything else, I must hold on to loosely and I must be willing to give it up.  I'm asking the Holy Spirit to expose those rules I've bound myself to, that are unnecessary and even counterproductive to accomplishing the work that He has prepared for me. I don't know about you, but sometimes I make my life much harder than it needs to be.  I'm paying attention to my “can'ts” “won'ts”, “I'll nevers”, and  “that's too hard” and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth.  Why won't I?  Why can't I?  The  Holy Spirit is soooo faithful to reveal the truth as I ask these questions.
I'm learning how to pray without telling the infinitely Wise One how to answer it.  And I'm learning how to surrender when the answer comes in a form that I didn't expect and/or don't like.

It's a life long process. 

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