We draw for ourselves these neat, little boxes in which to organize our lives. Work goes here, family goes there, church goes over here and so on. Our lives are sorted and labeled like a beautiful closet from The Container Store (I wish!). Among all those compartments, probably somewhere close to the “church” box, is our box for God.
For some, this box is well-worn and used often. For others, it is dusted off on special days. Still, for others, there are painful memories or hurts tying tight knots around the box. And, even still, for some people, the God-box is rediscovered after cleaning out that closet and finding it way back in the corner, rediscovering it from years long ago.
No matter the condition of our God-box, we still try to put God in a box. Because we are human flesh and bone, it is so difficult to understand with our finite minds God- who is All-Powerful, All-Seeing, and All-Knowing. We can’t wrap our minds around it. So, we form our ideas of who God is, how He relates to us or how He acts based on the boundaries of our box. This box in which we try to contain God is shaped by our spiritual formation (or lack thereof), good and bad church experiences, and even our preferences for worship.
The problem with this God-box is that it limits our thinking. It limits our belief. It limits our faith.
When we think according to the boundaries of our God-box, then we live out those boundaries with “God only works this way….God only moves here”. We get so used to living and thinking this way that we fall prey to the idea that God only moves according to our own box and that any other way is not God. We get stuck in a rut….Prayer means only this. Church means only that. Worship means only this. But, God cannot be confined to our thinking or our way of doing things.
I remember a time when my thinking and beliefs were being challenged. I felt very uncomfortable about it. It felt like the floor under me was tilting sideways and everything around me was sliding down, and we were going to slip right off into nothing-ness. But then, I grasped onto the fact that God is bigger than any of our interpretations, preferences, or human thinking. I took refuge in the fact that God is bigger than any of us, and He’s got it under control (even if that feels kinda scarey).
So, the good news is that God will lovingly work within our box to bring us to him and help us grow. And what’s even more wonderful is when we open the lid and allow God to be bigger than our boxed-in boundaries, then God will fill our hearts. And when God fills our hearts, there are no limits to what He can do in us!
I encourage you to examine your God-box. Do you limit God in your life or in your thinking? Do you allow God to work only in certain ways? How would if feel to let God out of your box to allow Him to move differently in your life…your church….or your family?