I’ve often heard the phrase “Don’t put God in a box”. And recently I’ve been mulling that idea over and asking questions. Can I really put God in a box? Is that even possible? I understand the intent of the phrase: Don’t limit God. But is it actually possible to limit the limitless God?
As I’ve turned these thoughts over in my mind, I’ve developed a myriad of opinions. (yes, I’m known to have multiple opinions on the same subject) But this is the thought that is most prominent: by trying to put God in a box, I am really putting myself in the box. By trying to limit God, I am only limiting myself.
My attempts to put God in a box are based on my need for comfort, security and stability. In other words – I’m afraid. I fear stepping out into the unknown. I fear rejection. I fear uncertainty. I fear disappointment. I fear failure. I fear lack.
I feel the need to protect myself, so I create a safety zone. I set up boundaries that allow me to operate in what I am comfortable in. And within these boundaries I know how to live comfortably. I know what I am able to do. I know what I am able to handle. I know what works for me. I know what I can be successful in. And those are the things I stick with. I think I’ve made a pretty nice box.
As a result, I try to make God operate within the confines of my safety zone in hopes of staying comfortable. I set limits and declare that I will not go past that point because otherwise I may get uncomfortable. I don’t want to get out of my established boundaries because I may be hurt. Or embarrassed.
And as hard as I’ve tried, I just can’t get God to come into my box. I’ve explained my fears. I’ve conveyed my need for comfort, security and stability. I’ve told Him how I would like to keep everything status quo. But He refuses to climb in with me.
It’s not as though He isn’t listening, doesn’t care or doesn’t understand me. He totally gets me. And I think that’s why He is working to get me out of the box. He refuses to work within my boundaries because He wants to stretch me.
I think He purposely asks me to go places I haven’t been before in order to create dependence upon Him. I think He wants me to do things I have not done before so that I will lean on Him more. I think He leads me to things I am unequipped and untrained for so that I will have to draw totally from Him.
In other words – He’s stretching me in order to increase my capacity. He’s stretching me in order to make more room in my life for Him. When I step out of my box and walk with Him, I experience more of Him. I encounter Him in ways I never would have otherwise. I see aspects of Him that I would have missed had I stayed in the box.
My box limits my experience with God. My box limits my growth. My box limits my supernatural encounters. My box limits me.
I confess, it’s really uncomfortable. As I exit my box, fear is there to remind me of my inadequacies. My insecurities rise to the surface and threaten emotional chaos. But this is when I see Jesus, as He calms my fears and gently reassures me that I can do all things through Him because He is my strength. (Philippians 4:13) As He holds my hand and leads me into the great unknown, He whispers Don’t be afraid, for I AM with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I AM your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
And as I trust in His promises, I experience His peace and I see things happen in and through me that I know could never have come from me.
I’m starting to feel cramped. So as comfy as my box is – I’m climbing out.