Monday, August 24, 2015

Don't Be Afraid to Step Outside the Box

Some people will only love you as long as you fit in their box. Don't be afraid to disappoint them. -Lecrae

I have experienced this quote in my own life with different people or groups over the years. As long as I fit neatly or they think I fit neatly into their box then everything is okay and we can have a relationship, but as soon as I get outside of the box, which often happens, then I have suddenly disappointed them. For years these type of people would confuse me and I would feel down like it was my fault that our relationship changed, but one day I finally realized it is not me, it is them.

I remember sharing a situation similar to this with the global church planting pastor at our sending church and I told him I assumed it was just my personality that rubbed some people the wrong way, which caused some conflict with others when living overseas. He and his wife both turned to me and said, "Matt, do not believe that lie. You are not the problem, the way these people are treating you and your family is the problem." Hearing the truth from someone else caused a light bulb to go off in my head when I suddenly realized that what they were saying was true.

If you have known me for any amount of time then you know that I do not easily fit into most boxes that people want to put you inside, whether that be a denominational box, an organizational box, a group or club, etc. Yes, I am a part of many of those things and in some ways they do make up part of what I do, but I do not let one or any of them define who I am. I have come to a comfortable enough place in my own life to recognize that I have freedom in the Spirit and that I do not neatly fit a box, system, or program because I can only be me in Christ.

A couple of years ago my wife and I had to make a very important decision that would affect the next few years of our lives. We delayed for quite some time as more and more pressure was put on to make a decision, which resulted in more delay because of my fear of disappointing them. We knew the decision had been made well before the actual time to voice it, but when we sensed the Lord moving us a different direction from what we knew this individual would want to hear we were afraid to disappoint them.

There is probably a situation in your life right now that you are about to step outside of the box, but you are delaying for fear of disappointment. I agree with Lecrae on this one,don't be afraid to disappoint as long as you know that stepping outside of the box is the right thing to do. There are always going to be haters and talkers wherever you go, but you need to realize that God has called you to do too many other things than to fear disappointing people that get in your way. Go ahead, get out of the box, disappoint, and move on!

1 comment:

  1. I don't exactly live in the box either. However, you need to be careful about living too far outside the box. People are naturally limited in their cultural expectations. Now, those expectations can be broadened, but usually you need to be sensitive to how much broadening a person can take over a period of time lest they balk.

    God created us this way. He made the world to function in a regular way so that we can operate effectively in it. We know what to expect out of the seasons. We know what to expect our of sleep at night. We know what to expect when we have the need to eat or anything else. We know what to expect when we plant seeds. We know what to expect in an ordered society. If something in the world behaves outside of our expectations, we can often become confused.

    This is also the foundation for communication. We know that when someone uses certain words, they mean a certain thing. There is typically some variation, even within a single culture, as usage changes, and different subsets of people develop slightly different patterns of speech. But largely we can learn a different language and expect to be able to understand what other people say or write in that language to some degree. In this way, God has made it possible to reveal himself to us. He has established a historical foundation for the languages that he used in the Scriptures so that we can know what they say, even millennia after the fact, and has made it clear what we can expect from him.

    And he has called us to live between the expectations of the world and his own expectations. We are not in the world's box when it comes to translating the Gospel in ways that a local culture can understand according to their expectations, while also calling them to the greater expectations of the Kingdom of God.

    Therefore, I say it's good to go outside the box, but it's necessary not to go too far outside the box for the sake of communicating the Gospel effectively, both verbally and relationally. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is a prime example. He was incarnated certainly in order to atone for our sins, but also to identify with us. He got in our box, yet still transcends our box.