January 2, 2008
Living Outside of the Box
by Meghan Kleppinger, Editor, Christianity.com
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well
I’m going to a funeral today.
Both my immediate family and my church family lost a beloved friend this week in a tragic accident. I’ve been journaling and writing a lot lately about the importance of not limiting God in the way we live our lives.
What I loved about this dear life that has gone on to be with our Father is that who he was wasn’t defined by what he did for a living or any of his accomplishments, it was defined by Whose he was. He lived his life knowing He was a child of God and had a love and passion driven by the Holy Spirit.
I started to write the devotional for today weeks ago about not limiting God and living a life outside of the box. It seems that we are born with a need to be labeled.
My fellow editor and friend, Sarah, has an identical twin sister. She told me how annoying it was that people wanted to put the twins in categories when they were younger. “Oh, you’re the intellectual and you’re the cheerleader,” as if those were titles that defined who they were.
This doesn’t just occur with twins, it happens to all of us and it starts early. In school there were the smart ones, the athletic ones, the tomboys, the princesses, the divas, the quiet ones, the pretty ones, the nerds, the popular ones, etc.
Then the birth order books were published and sold to the masses to help our parents define who we should be. The oldest child is supposed to be the responsible, straight A’s, people pleaser. The middle child is typically the independent and wild one. The youngest is, well, the baby.
When we enter adulthood we become workaholics, stay-at-home mothers, businessmen, career women, or worst of all … “and this is so-and-so, our single daughter.”
Order and definition is good, but putting ourselves in these categories limits who we can be and what God has planned for us.
Psalm 139:13, 14 is etched on the inside of my high school class ring. At the time, I chose it for its significance in the battle for the unborn. As I entered into adulthood, God used it and continues to use it to remind me of Who I belong to, and what I mean to Him.
Wonderfully in Psalm 139:14 is translated from Hebrew to mean “to be distinct, marked out, be separated, be distinguished.” God made each of to be special and different from each other, and He made each of us with a specific purpose in mind.
Sometimes I think we feel important or empowered when we carry around the labels of this world, but the truth is they are really just boxes that trap us… What God has planned for us is so much better.
The funeral tonight will also celebrate the life of a man who was a father, a husband, a loyal employee, a friend to many, a dear friend to my family, a servant, and so much more – and I hope to share more about his life one day – but he would never say that any of those things or roles defined him. He would simply explain that he was a fearfully and wonderfully made child of God living the life his Father designed just for Him.
Intersecting Faith & Life: The National Eating Disorders Association’s current motto is “Be comfortable in your genes.” The idea is to encourage young women to be comfortable with their predisposed body types and to help them breakaway from the desire to achieve an unattainable cookie-cutter image. I encourage you too, to break away from the labels of this world and to live the life God made just for you