Our human tendency is to put each other in boxes. Though we may not say it or even admit it, people often attempt to keep others contained in effort to maintain the steady-state comfort of their status quo.
- If you go on a diet, expect some to give you a hard time about the new foods you’re eating.
- If you work hard and get promoted, some of your co-workers are gonna crack some jokes about you “sucking up to the boss”.
- When you decide to follow Christ with everything you are, someone (maybe another Christian) is going to tease you about it.
If you were to read the books of the gospel in the New Testament, it wouldn’t take long for you to realize Jesus was constantly being harassed by the religious leaders of the time. They found Christ was not someone they could easily package, label, and place neatly on a shelf. He was constantly jumping out of whatever box they tried to put Him in. This left them frustrated and furious to no end. So much so that they plotted to kill Him.
Now chances are people aren’t plotting to hang you on a cross, but realize anytime you strive to effect change and take action to do so, someone somewhere is going to try to keep you in their box.
Why is that? Well, many times people’s re-action to you getting out of their box is a reflection of their own in-action. In other words, when you attempt to soar above your current circumstances, it reminds people they’re still in the nest. Frankly, that makes people uncomfortable whether they admit it or not. It happens to all of us.
I’m not a big country music fan, but I read once on Twitter that country music star John Rich signs his emails with:
“I’m not outside the box. I’m just outside your box.”
Think about that for a bit.
Those two statements right there would be an amazing response the next time you encounter this phenomenon. Because you will.
So how do we respond? Experience tells me, “Don’t base the decision to make necessary changes on the comfort level of others.” Resist the temptation to slink back into the box when others, through word or action, decide that you just stepped out of it. Who knows? You might be the catalyst that causes them to step out of their own box.
There are limits, however. Don’t be so eager to achieve escape velocity that you find yourself outside of God’s box. We’re not talking about going against God’s Word here.
So don’t be afraid to break free from the walls of other’s boxes. Always strive and keep pressing.