Are You Grasping for Equality with God?

I’ve come to the realization that I’m a girl who likes her boxes.

There’s the box labeled wife, one marked mom, and another with teacher scrawled across it. These are stacked on top of the daughter and friend box. There’s the PTA box and the swim team committee box. I’ve added an online community and social media box. I have a church and bible study box. And lest it get buried under the rest, there is the writer and lover of words box.

I’d love for everything to stay in its designated box, but life doesn’t look like that, does it.

Some days, I feel like I’m juggling these factions of my life and often they collide mid-air toppling around me in a heap. Toss in the boxes marked “impatience”, “frustration”, and “unexpected interruption”, and I’m the one in a heap.

In my efforts to return everything to its rightful place, I’ll admit that I don’t always stack them in the proper order. I waste time and attention on some boxes when it ought to be given to others. I rummage through boxes that should be left shut. I even pick up boxes that don’t belong to me – what?!!

Here’s when the real trouble starts: when I try to put God in a box.

You know what that looks like, right (or am I the only one)?

When we try to make Him fit. When we spend ourselves to organize and categorize life around Him – instead of through Him. When we put God in His “proper position” instead of allowing Him to take His rightful place.

As I was juggling boxes this past week, God lit up this verse for me:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself…He was obedient to the point of death.
Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

If anyone was entitled to juggle boxes it was Jesus, right? He was born to die, He was God in the flesh, but when His time came He didn’t jump to the top of the pile and claim His deity. He didn’t shuffle the boxes around and subvert the cross.

He emptied Himself. He was obedient to the point of death.

How often do we count equality with God a thing to be grasped? We try to navigate and direct. To pick up and plan. Move ahead and march forward. We fill our boxes, choose our order, and then plant our feet in what we believe is their proper position.

When we should empty ourselves. We should activate the mind of Christ which is ours through our relationship with Him. Instead of grasping for what we cannot see, we need to receive what God offers.

God doesn’t even ask us to die a horrible death – He is simply asking us to set aside flesh. To not strive or struggle. To not exert effort where effort is not due. To not stack those boxes sky-high and then wonder why they topple.

Boxes1

Jesus asks us to remember that the reason He didn’t skip the cross, was so that we wouldn’t forget the grace. Or the price. Or the God who gave His life so that ours could be saved, AND LIVED in freedom from chains, and sky-high flying boxes, and unattainable expectations.

He’s asking that at His name, every knee bow and every tongue confess, that He is Lord. Of our lives. Of our priorities. Of our boxes.


Linking up with the beautiful blogging communities and the friends of my heart, Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday)Kelly Balarie (#raralinkup), Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday), Bonnie Gray (#faithbarista), and Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory).

Photo Credit (Text Overlay by Tiffany Parry)

37 thoughts on “Are You Grasping for Equality with God?

  1. Hi Tiffany. Seems like when I get too comfortable in a box, God shakes it or I find a leak or I run out of steam and what started out full ends up empty. So best for me to be wholly His daily and let Him put up the sides so I can set my mind on things above. Still figuring out that one. ((:
    Read another good take on boxes in Anne Lamotts book called: help thanks wow. She puts her written worries etc inboxes. I may need a trunk.

    1. God is great at shaking up those boxes, isn’t He! I might need a trunk or two, to hold all my baggage, as well…but I’m so glad that He willingly carries those burdens on His shoulders. Thanks for visiting and for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Hi there Tiffany. I’m reading this late! Been juggling too many boxes to visit your blog, I guess! :-) Seriously, I can so relate to this. We try to put God in a box, but He’s got to be the Master of our boxes. So much time I spend rummaging through boxes I shouldn’t be opening all because I don’t go to Him first and ask for His leading and His perspective. Blessings on you today, friend.

    1. Hi Betsy! Gods timing is perfect and it’s never too late to visit, right each other?! :) I’m guilty of trying to take control of boxes not intended for me either. Amen to seeking Him first and trusting His direction. Thanks for being here.

  3. Oh Tiffany, you are not the only one. Not by a long shot. I put God in a box all the time, but he’s slowly showing me who he truly is, and that he can’t be contained. And how boring would he be if he could? Your words always resonate, friend. Love you and your heart.

  4. Beautiful post! I think we all have our boxes, to some extent! It’s hard to empty ourselves so that God can fill us up, but oh SO worth it. I’ve been trying to pray things like, “God please just show me the way, lead me in the right direction, help me to understand where i need to go,” instead of planning or asking for very specific things. It’s something I’m going to keep working on!

    1. Yes! So worth it, Laura. The hard things with God prove to be of greater worth than anything without Him. I’m a planner, so I forget that sometimes but I’m grateful for grace and God’s loving guidance as He leads in that right direction. Thank you for being a part of the conversation…blessings!

  5. Your post brings me to the verse from John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.” It’s the verse I pretty much started the year with which really for me was all about giving God His rightful place in my life. And not that I have it all figured out or don’t mess this up, but I have discovered when we are on the right path the “boxes” in our life start to better align. I’m not sure if I said that all how it was intended but hoping it made some kind of sense.

    Great post, Tiffany.

    Blessings.

    1. Beautiful, Beth and amen. It makes total sense. My heart is for God to increase as well and that everything else would pale in comparison to Him. It’s a journey with frequent detours but one I’m committed to staying on. Thanks for visiting me. Blessings on your journey to more of Him.

  6. He’s Lord of our boxes. Love this, Tiffany. I like my boxes too. But I do like when God works outside of the box for me! :) Thanks for this encouraging post to not box him in.

  7. Tiffany,
    I can so relate to this post! I am learning over these past few years new ways to consider God, outside of the box I always kept him in. I didn’t even realize it until he came along and pursued me to know him better and differently. These words of yours speak truth! (Enjoying being your neighbor at Faith Barista today!)

  8. I’m pretty sure that this message was meant for me today. I’ve had such a hard time breaking loose of this desire to fit everything in its own box and stack those puppies to the sky. I ask God to set my priorities for me (every. single. day) and then I have a tendency to make excuses as I try to squeeze one more thing in. I haven’t allowed Him to “take His rightful place.” I think the change in life has truly sent me into a tailspin. Don’t get me wrong, I just love this new season I’m in. But it’s so unfamiliar to me that I just try and do what I’ve always done by cramming as much into a day that I possibly can and leaving myself so very empty.

    Is it ok to admit all of that here? Oh, I’m seeing the reason for this change. I’m gaining clarity on life. There are still moments of being scared out of my wits and then my lack of trust inevitably follows. I forget to make him Lord of my life because I’m too busy trying to keep up.

    You’d think by now that I would let this all fall into place. That I wouldn’t fight it. I wish that were true…

    1. It’s absolutely, 100% okay to say all of that here and I relate to every single word. I too try to squeeze every drop out of the day and often I’m the one who is wrung dry at the end. And it’s not that I’m doing things I shouldn’t, a lot of what I do – we do – is necessary and valuable, even things we want and enjoy. It’s just that they don’t all have to be done today! :) It’s the over achiever in us, right? We can’t rest until every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed – until every box is sorted and organized. The thing of it is, that balancing all those boxes makes us miss the joy of savoring the still, small moments and catching God in action. Perhaps we can hold each other accountable in this season, Jenn? Let’s remember to be spirit lead, to listen for His voice, and to give Him the room to order our steps. Love you, sweet friend…so, so glad you shared your heart here.

  9. Tiffany, what a beautiful, amazing post. Yeah, I’m guilty of trying to keep my boxes in order. When God mixes them up to bring about His better plan? I get a little frustrated sometimes. And trying to wall Him in with my expectations? Yeah, I’ve tried that too. Unsuccessfully. Thank you for the beautiful reminder that He has so much more for us. And that His grace is more than enough to help me accept His priorities for my life.

    1. I get frustrated too, Jeanne. He knows our frame and gives us ample opportunity to come to that place of acceptance, doesn’t He…with grace upon grace. Here’s to seeing our mixed up plans through His eyes and with that mind of Christ. Blessings, friend…thanks for being here.

  10. Oh, what a perfect way to describe how I feel! I like things boxed up and compartmentalized–but Jesus doesn’t fit in a box, and he’s always teaching us by showing how what’s in our boxes connects to things from other boxes. May we always continue to grow and learn!

    1. I like that, Anita…the things in the boxes do connect often and it all connects back to Him one way or another! So grateful He never gives up teaching us his best ways. Blessings to you!

  11. Challenging words here. I can relate! I especially love the way you said this: “Instead of grasping for what we cannot see, we need to receive what God offers.” Yes, this is how I want to live, open handed to Jesus, giving what He asks me to give and readily accepting, with thanksgiving, the bounty of blessings He gives. Thanks for the encouragement. Glad to be your neighbor today at #TellHisStory.

    1. Open handed to Jesus – it’s really the cry of my heart too, Becky. Though I often clench my fists and struggle for my way, I’m so grateful that God’s will prevails – that He brings so that we can receive. So glad you visited today, neighbor. Blessings!

  12. If only life would stay in its nice, neat, organized compartments. My personal quest has been to allow God to blur the lines-even when it causes my heart to race. To give up my agenda for his. Thank you for the illustration of boxes. We will get this thing together!

    1. I love that, Sam – allowing God to blur the lines. He does it in the most beautiful ways, doesn’t He. As much as I often think I want things just so, I’m so glad that God’s way prevails and He brings beauty out of even the messes. Blessings, friend and yes…we will get this thing together!

  13. Great post, Tiffany! I’m so glad he didn’t skip the cross. :) I’m glad he knows how to take my boxes and rearrange them (or get rid of them) if necessary. Blessings! -Tasha

  14. Ah yes – those boxes only box us in… but He came that we may live free and have life abundantly! I heard someone say recently that the only time or reason that God is in a box is simply to be with you. But His desire is to be with us out in wide open spaces! Love this!

    1. I like that, Karrilee…it makes the boxes more appealing to think He is beside me. Now to make sure we are sitting in the right ones! :) Blessings to you and thanks for being here.

  15. I love my boxes, too, Tiffany. And like you, I pick up (even open!) boxes that don’t belong to me. I’m with you, Sista! Empty myself — my boxes even — before Him. Thanks for this!

    1. Those sneaky little boxes wiggle there way in there, don’t they?! I’m all for emptying myself too and choosing my boxes more wisely. Thanks for visiting, Dianne!

  16. I really love this. My kids go to a classical Christian school. I didn’t even know what classical education was until we visited the school before my daughter enrolled in kindergarten. As the principal explained how God is taught throughout all the subjects, not just during “Bible class,” I realized that’s what God wants for my life too. He’s the foundation of everything – of all the boxes – and wants to be involved in it all, not just church time or Bible reading time. Thanks for this reminder. It’s an important one, Tiffany, and you shared it so well. xoxo

    1. Such a great example, Kristin. God wants to be all over us, in a sense, right?! I’m not always great at compartmentalizing – but I can often forget that He doesn’t just want bits and pieces of my life or pieces of my days – He wants all of me. And He gives us all of Him in return. Thanks for being here, friend … and bright and early too! :)

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