God-in-a-box

The Kick Off meetings were always scheduled as early in the new year as possible in order to present the company’s focus and to hopefully re-ignite the sales force’s enthusiasm for the potential growth ahead.  Each state organization held their own meetings and in the early years of my career the meetings were primarily planned by each of these organization’s leaders. Taking the company’s theme and tag line, they would build a presentation for their people that would be educational, entertaining, and rewarding, including the recognition of the previous year’s top associates.  As you can imagine, this made for a wide variety of types of meetings and messages.

As the years progressed, the company endeavored to get everyone on the same page in presenting their goals and directives to their representatives.  One of the things they developed was the “Meeting-in-a-box”. This file included practically everything that would be presented – the power point design and slides, the videos, and the agenda.  While saving the administrators a tremendous amount of work and making it easier on the leaders responsible for the meeting, it also limited the creative element.  Deviations from this pre-planned agenda were highly frowned upon.  The meeting-in-a-box caused each organization to be treated as if they were all the same while the characteristics of each may be vastly different.

I can’t imagine what it is like to attempt to get thousands of people to follow your dream and your business model exactly as you had envisioned. (I can’t even get everyone in my household to consistently put their dirty laundry in the basket provided!)  If it was MY company, I would most certainly want you to do things MY way, so I totally see how this was a good thing for the company.  That’s business.  But it got me thinking…

I wonder how many of us were given God-in-a-box?  A certain group of people believed in God a certain way, interpreted the scriptures a certain way, desired to worship a certain way, and brought to us a God limited by their understanding.

I had a version of God-in-a-box.  He was defined by this box of doctrine and rules and old English language, worship that was perfunctory, praise that was always the first, second, and fourth stanza of the hymn, and prayers voiced by only men because women weren’t to be heard in church.  Supposedly there was a common theme for this God – that He loved us SO much He sent His Son to save us – but the God-in-MY-box was harsh and hard and critical, ever ready to punish those in sin.  The instructions that came with my God-in-a-box were that deviations were highly frowned upon and often condemned as false teaching and heresy.

When life’s troubles came my way they didn’t fit in the box with God and I had no understanding of how to get God out of the box to help with the trouble!  What good is a limited God?  I offered my cries of frustration to Him, yet walked away as if I hadn’t been heard.  But He was listening.

A sweet woman invited me to a newly formed gathering of believers.  I watched and listened with amazement at these who worshiped and followed a God with no limits.  I saw with my own eyes the miracles this God performed, heard praise that stirred me more deeply than I had ever experienced, and met Him all over again.  I realized there really never was a box.  He didn’t come to us that way.

He reveals Himself to us as we seek Him, promising that we will find Him.  But make no mistake, He is immeasurable, limitless, endlessly creative.  He is personal and intimate in His unique relationship with each of His children, all with no contradiction of character.  He is God.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  1 Corinthians 13:12

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