Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Don't Box Me In

A timely post from one of my favourite and most inspiring blogs:
"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
A glimpse of a 19th century family!
The first motion pictures were simply a series of still photographs which, when viewed in quick succession, gave the illusion of continuous movement.

We sometimes have the false notion that the lives of people are static, unchanging, like the scattered stills we place in our scrapbooks.

The other day we were looking through our family photos (I have not been able to get a handle on these—they are in somewhat of a strange order of packets and envelopes in a huge plastic storage bucket labeled “memories”).

Each picture was just a sampling of life in the past. Some of the pictures brought back wonderful memories, some not so wonderful. But they could not tell our whole story, just tiny little freeze frames, often posed and not the reality of the moment or the complete circumstance, mood, etc.

Sometimes we take pictures of each other and assume we know the whole story. You might come into my house on any given day and gain just a glimpse into my life. If I have just come in from doing monthly grocery shopping, you might see boxes and cans and stacks of all sorts of things everywhere as we are in the process of putting things away. The laundry may be a little backed up, and we may have a few messy beds, etc.

But if you were to come a week later, you might find everything as neat as a pin, with children securely fastened to a schedule which keeps us all humming along. The bathrooms would be clean, the laundry caught up, and something would be simmering happily in the crock-pot for the next meal.

On the other hand, if I were in the throes of morning sickness, on a very bad day you may wonder if we had any order or family cohesion at all, and, even if I assured you these days were few and far between, you may not believe me.

What if you were to enter into my home at the one moment in months that my older children began to bicker and my babies cried? Would you conclude my life is utter chaos at all times?

We were once acquainted with a family with a number of children, I believe they had seven at the time, and I was expecting my fourth. A relative met the mother at the library one day and remarked at how “awful” she looked, implying it was because of the number of children she had. My supposition this mother had a “bad hair day”—don’t even single, healthy people have a "down" day once-in-a-while?

Of course we can judge each other by freeze frames, and we can conclude and spread all sorts of speculation to others, but we are just outsiders. There is only so much damage we can inflict from our limited vantage point.

The real damage is done on the inside, when family members, such as parents with children, children with parents, brothers and sisters, choose to judge themselves and each other with a “freeze-frame” mentality, and the worst damage is done when we allow the enemy of our souls to convince us that we should freeze-frame ourselves, and that God is in the business of freeze-framing as well.

But He isn’t, and we shouldn’t be.  Yes, perhaps you grumbled at someone for a few seconds yesterday, but you stopped and you reflected and repented, and you haven’t done it in years and you rarely ever lose your cool—don’t freeze-frame and let it colour your whole existence.

Your son lied, your daughter defied, and you dealt with it handily, but it is over now. Don’t freeze-frame him/her. Let it be just a flicker in a long line of frames. Let it go and cover it over.

Your husband or wife said the awful thing, forgot the important thing, did the evil thing. Deal with it, let it go, and   forget it. Keep the film rolling and look for the greater good in the whole movie—the larger action that was captured by the movement of all the frames.

And don’t let the assumptions of others give you a picture of who you are, and don’t let them affect how you make decisions or live your life. Let God be the Author and Finisher, let Him have the Sovereignty to know how to unfold, and to protect you from them all.

And make sure you plant seeds of covering when you catch someone else in one of those awkward moments, without assuming or placing them into a convenient box in your mind. Give everyone in your life room to grow and change bigger and better than the small parameters you place them in.

Don’t even freeze-frame God. He can move and and create outside of time and space and everything we think. Believe Him when He says He works it all for good, even though this part of the movie seems doubtful, and the menacing music is playing.
Deliverance is just around the corner.

Father, help me to forget yesterday, except for the lessons You want me to retain, and the good that can be gleaned. Let me love today with a clean slate, an open book. Teach me to have Your grace, and your faith, for the people in my life, the people outside my home, and those inside my home. Thank You for not throwing me away, for speaking faith and life into me, even on those days when I must be so disappointing to You. You are so wonderful!

In the name of Jesus, amen.

This post was first published on 12/1/2009.

Photobucket Photobucket

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