That Box Makes You Look Dumb.
There’s a whole series of pictures of my high school small group in which my hair looks dumb. Seriously, dumb. We brought dresses to our last Fall Retreat with the plan of getting nice pictures taken, and no one told me that my hair was a hot mess the whole time. We’re talking fly aways all over the place, and don’t even get me started on the chunk of hair falling out of my bun that none of my dear friends thought to mention.
I wish one of them would have taken me aside and whispered, “Hey, that hairstyle looks dumb on you today. Go change it.” (Maybe not in those exact words, but you get how the overall idea would have been nice.)
Since I know what it’s like to look back and realize I looked dumb, I can’t sit by while you walk around like this. I can’t pretend that I don’t notice that that box looks dumb on you. But I have a feeling you already knew that. You can feel that it doesn’t fit, but someone at some point told you that this is the box you get to live in.
I don’t like that person.
People who force people into boxes get me fired up. It’s probably because of my younger sister, Bitsy. I grew up watching the world try to put her in the “Down syndrome” box, while also being fully aware that the “Down syndrome” box looked dumb on her. She is too smart, and funny, and kind, and brilliant to fit into such a limiting box. She taught me that the boxes we are told to stay in are not always the boxes best suited for us. She showed me what it looks like to break out – to break free.
I want to see more people live like that; to be free like that.
It is impossible for me to emphasize enough how much I believe that YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO STAY IN THAT BOX.
I get mad for people who feel like they had to suffer through college instead of pursuing their natural gifts.
I get mad for people who feel like they have to work a dead-end job because someone told them they aren’t good enough for college.
I get mad at people who make others think that they are not allowed to break out of the stupid box that they never agreed to be placed in to begin with.
I get mad, because a boxed-in life is not a free life. And that breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because I have tasted the freedom and I long for others to taste it, too.
There are people who would much rather I stay in the “Christian Wife” box. They would love for me to embrace my role as a homemaker and child-bearer, and write only for my fellow Christian Wives.
But here’s the thing about the “Christian Wife” box: it looks dumb on me. It makes me look like a little girl in her mom’s wedding dress – small and not yet able to face the world. But I am able…just not in the box picked out for me.
When you pick me up and place me in the “Female Preacher” box, things start to make more sense. My gifts have room to flourish, and are no longer pushed aside. My hands have room to write. My voice has space to ring out and carry through. My leadership fills out nicely, with the box serving to keep it in check rather than choke it out.
I guarantee that the box you have let others shove you into looks just as dumb on you as the “Christian Wife” box looks on me. Because those are not the boxes we were meant to live in.
People may look at us funny if we leave the box they have in mind for us. They may whisper as we take a risk and do things our own way.
But I guarantee that you will find a space to live freely that is bigger than you dare to imagine when you live in the box that suits you. In the box that doesn’t serve as a restriction, but as a resource for using your gifts and talents wisely.
So on behalf of your friends who may be scared to tell you, let me be the one to pull you aside and whisper, “This box that you know doesn’t fit looks dumb on you. And I care about you too much to let you walk out into the world like that. Go change it.”