“What can I say Lord, except that a box is no real place for me to live.
And you are calling me to flex into faith and lean into brave.
You are calling me to throw open the lid
and step out of this box…and I will.”
Jenneth Graser, Prayers of a Pioneer
Let’s start with the box. The other day our dog, while we were all home, chewed up a package the UPS man had delivered to our door and littered the yard with the scraps of an adorable book I had just ordered for my kids.
By the time I noticed it was too late. To say I was furious is an understatement.
My husband consoled me by saying, for maybe the tenth time that week, “Let’s just get rid of him.”
We both know he’s on the top of our giveaway pile; he has been for months.
The adorable puppy stage lasted about a week. The romance of having a dog has totally worn off; I’m not sure it was ever there.
My husband is convinced he is not one of those dog people. I am still in denial about my status. But I’m pretty sure it would do me good to just get it off my chest- I’m not a dog person either.
You know dog people, right? The ones who don’t mind the wet kisses, the barking, the dog might even stay inside and sit on their couch or sleep with them in their bed.
I’m the exact opposite.
My kids know firsthand how easily frustrated I become when he sneaks into the chicken coop and eats the food, when I find his hair everywhere, when he escapes to the neighbor’s multiple times day, or digs another hole in the grass. My 7-year-old doesn’t hesitate to tell me, “Mom, it’s okay we can get rid of him!”
But here we are, ten months into owning a dog and for some reason we haven’t found him a new owner.
As I take a few minutes to clean up the scraps of cardboard in the yard from my destroyed package, I am also picking up the pieces of my shredded soul.
These days I am being busted open from the inside-out. The edges of the box I’ve grown to love over the last few years are ragged.
Could the dog be speeding up the process? Definitely.
And maybe that’s why he’s still hanging around.
We are always trying to squeeze ourselves and everyone around us into a proverbial box. It makes the complexities of life, relationships, and God easier to manage. Everything and everyone have their right place.
We operate this way in our house too. Clothes go back in drawers or in the laundry room. Shoes go in the crates by the front door. Coats on the coat rack. Colored pencils in the tray. Dishes in the sink. Compost in the bin outside.
But my life refuses to cooperate with such order. On the rare occasion I’m able to package my soul, my schedule, my children, my marriage, and my dreams into the box. I close the lid quickly, and everything fits perfect… for a second. I breathe easier on those days.
Why is it that I have an affinity towards a tight, stiff life?
It comes back to control for me.
I like loose ends trimmed and extras stored away. I hate chaos in the form of legos strewn across the floor, crumbs on the kitchen counter, loud screaming kids, or weeds in the garden. I want precision.
But mostly, I feel out of control in every area of my life by morning.
Quivering, I run to hide in my box for safety, the place I go for some semblance of sanity, but I find I’m not fitting like I once did.
I want to fit! And I like to keep trying.
It seems growth is happening everywhere without my permission. Isn’t it funny how true transformation in our lives often go unnoticed by us?
Life is unruly, requiring my total presence. I cannot tame its intensity. Children are plowing me over with their energy and ideas and big emotions. God is becoming more mysterious by the minute. And me, well it looks like I’m growing wild.
Control doesn’t seem to be getting the last word anymore.
I wonder…maybe it’s not the dog we need to get rid of? He seems to be the only who understands boxes were made to be destroyed. What fun!