Want to know something ironic? Like many people in the world, I am very
claustrophobic. The thought of being trapped in a box makes me start to breathe funny. My lungs feel out of whack and my chest tightens up. Sometimes the complete darkness of a room will make me panic and I start thinking I am in a tiny box and won’t be able to get out. Recently, I learned that I have been living trapped inside a box. Physically, I am not actually
trapped . . . I am free. But emotionally and spiritually I have been living my nightmare of being boxed in. Although I find this to be quite hilarious, the irony is almost painful to think about. To be fair, I didn’t have this revelation until a few weeks ago, but when I actually compare how I feel physically to what I’ve just discovered, I can’t believe I’ve allowed myself to live like this for so long.
I found out last year that my biological father didn’t want me. This wasn’t exactly new information, but this specific instant I had never heard before. He basically told my mom not to hold onto any expectations of him loving me. She was 9 months pregnant with me, and before I was even born unconditional love wasn’t going to be an option with him. Real love in general seemed like a reach. From what I know of him, I’m assuming he liked the image of “family;” there’s a husband who provides and a wife who has children. They go to church while looking put together and happy. There’s an order and an image to uphold and that’s that. Before I was born, he had me to fit in an image. Like an imperfect puzzle piece, he placed me within the borders of conditions. Conditions to feel wanted and conditions to feel loved. I never realized the impact of a moment and the stronghold of someone’s words over a life that was still protected in a mother’s womb. My whole life I had no idea why I did some of the things I did. Why I let people’s assumptions about me dictate my actions, or why I allowed myself to be stuck inside their “box.” My fear of being unwanted transformed from a fear of being truly known. In my mind, once I am known people leave my life which labels me unlovable. It’s a vicious cycle that never fully made sense in my head until now.
The wildest thing to me about this whole realization is that within my relationship with God I have let myself believe that God is boxing me in too! For so long I have felt the urge to believe that God loves me for what I do for Him, not because of who I am. I believed the lie that He only sees me as tool, and that any love He may have for me comes from what I can do for Him. This has then made me see that I am denying the fact that God truly knows me. He knows my heart and who I am and I have unintentionally said that He doesn’t. In the past I have lived as if I will only be liked and chosen based off of surface level things the people around me believe about me. I continued to be “boxed in” within past friendships, personal and even work relationships because I have a fear that once I am truly known, people will leave me because they don’t like what they learn. I’m too much and, in my mind, I am marked, unwanted, and unloved. It was easier and safer to fit into the assumptions people made about me because, if I fit, I will “belong,” and I won’t be alone. So now I am on a journey of discovering who I am, and who God sees me as. I’m calling it an unraveling; the more I discover the faster it keeps happening, like an untangling ball of yarn rolling down the stairs. God’s love is unconditional, it is not based on what I do or how I act. His love cannot be boxed in because it is far grander than we could ever begin to imagine.
In Ephesians 3, Paul writes to the Ephesians, persuading them to put their faith completely in God, and experience the full love of Christ. In verses 16 – 19 he says:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.Ephesians 3:16-19
Paul is describing the love of God as “too great to understand,” in verse 19, so how could I, a mere human being, be capable of thinking anything less regarding His love for me? Anyone and everyone is unconditionally loved by the Father, and the deeper we grow in His love the stronger in faith we become. His love reaches further and wider, higher and deeper than we know. He will go into the darkest of places to pull us out of sin and into complete freedom, and He takes us to the Highest of places because He loves us. Knowing this, I keep laughing at myself for thinking God has written up terms and conditions to His love for me. It is incredibly emotional to even start to think of the immense greatness of God’s love for me.
It’s a process to be unraveled by the love of God. Hurts from the past are continually brought up, revelations and discovery about God and yourself are never ending, but the results are beautiful. The deeper your roots are grown in the Father’s love, the stronger your relationship and faith in Him will be. I encourage you to dive into the Word, start spinning, unraveling and falling deep into the Father’s love; it’s all around you. I’ve found freedom from my boxes, so can you.