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The {sometimes frightening} business of unboxing

I have drawn boxes all of my life. Neat and tidy boxes with perfect right angles, and no room for error. I would meet a person and instantly, almost without much thought, choose a box and fold them into it. I had boxed myself in so long ago, and it was all that I knew. There was comfort inside that box, and things were so beautifully black and white – so pristine, so easy to categorize. Until it wasn’t. I was cramped and suffocating and dieing, and I didn’t even know it. I guess perhaps it was a gradual process, but it sure felt sudden. One day I could no longer fold myself into that box a moment longer, and so my unboxing began.

With my unboxing, God burst out of the box I had long ago squeezed Him into. He was and always had been so much bigger than my boxes. He could never really be contained. He had been dieing for me to let Him out of that box. No, no, the truth is,

He had died to let me out of that box.

I have learned that I was never made to fit into a box (and neither were you), especially the box that I have tried to fold myself into for all of my life. As a recovering Baptist, rule-following, self-titled ‘good girl’, that un-boxing has at times frightened me. It has been uncomfortable and even painful on occasion. It feels a little too free; truthfully, I think that I miss the security that came with those right angles pressing in on me. I like things that fit neatly into boxes. I actually like being told what to do. I like order and to know what to expect.

But, I am so very human, so flawed, and I am absolutely filled with contradictions, and those cannot be contained in a box.

If we are honest with ourselves and with each other, humans cannot fit inside of boxes.

I am learning that I am a walking contradiction, and I am learning that is okay. For this whole journey of life I will be emerging and unboxing into who I was created to be. Sometimes that will mean that I change my mind and learn and grow in areas that I once was so certain in. That also means that I still have many areas of life that I need to learn and grow in.

And that’s okay. It’s okay to not know, and to wrestle and question. The funny thing about unboxing and all of the questions that it has exposed is that my faith is more real than ever before, and it is smashing the walls of that old box down layer by layer.

The abundant life was never meant to be lived inside of a box. There is nothing abundant about a box.

That is why I am here and no longer writing in the same place that I did for so many years. That’s why this space may feel very different from the other one. Maybe my words seem a little more shakey and less sure. It’s the first time that they have been given permission to live outside the box. I needed a new space, and the truth is I could no longer write over there, because there was no margin for error and therefore no room to grow. I was becoming mute inside that box, and no words would come out. I was stuck. I needed to move away from who I once was, because I am no longer her. I needed to capture words and release them into a safer place, where they could fly and not suffocate. So, here I am in a brand new space, a Jesus – following, home schooling, mistake-making, coffee-loving, mascara – wearing, small-town, wanna-be-writer, quiet listener, home-cooker, music-loving, ordinary mom, unexpectedly living in the capital city of Ethiopia, passionate about people, spreading kindness, fighting for justice, and becoming a safe place for those who just need someone to stop and listen and let them unbox.

Welcome to my unboxing, feel free to unfold out of yours. I am glad you are here. Sip some coffee and stay awhile; you and your words matter to me.

tiff1

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