Is that Box the Right Size?

February 17, 2011

Some tweets and Facebook posts get more responses than others.  I can always tell when something strikes a chord.  And last week, this one struck a chord:

“So what if you don’t fit inside the box people try to squeeze you into.  God is in the ‘Custom Made’ business.”

We’ve probably all had experience with someone else trying to squeeze us into a box.  But why do we try to squeeze ourselves into a box?  Teen girls have a penchant for this.  Unless they look, act, and sound like other teen girls, they’re afraid they won’t be good enough.  But have you noticed?  We adults are pretty good at working that mindset too.

As a writer, I’ve admired the way other writers turn a phrase, and I’ll hear myself thinking, Why can’t I write like that?  Is my writing good enough? As a speaker, I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched other speakers and thought, If only I could be like that. Our collective lists could go on and on . . . Why can’t I sing, teach, parent, draw, lead . . . [insert yours here] . . . like that?

It might go deeper, as we ask why we don’t look like that or have a personality like that.  Maybe we think we’re not a good enough Christian unless we act just like that.

We all fall prey to the comparison trap from time to time, but when it leads to a nagging discontentment, it’s time to tell yourself:

Climb out of that box.

The gifts, talents, and inherent qualities of others—as opposed to a skill set you can learn—are for them.  Their box is for them.  It’s not your size.  Trying to squeeze into it will only cause you to feel “less than.”

God’s got enough creativity to fashion a unique combination of gifts and talents for you.  In fact, He already did, when He formed you in the womb.  And even before that, He knew exactly what your purpose on this earth would be.  You can be sure that whatever He’s given you is more than enough to walk that out.

Who were you meant to be?  Ask God to show you and to help you be that best you, for His glory.  Then step into your own custom-made box.  Trust me, it fits perfectly.

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  • Reply Shannon Litton February 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I wish I’d left the comparison trap behind as a teenager, but I often find myself still there. Thanks for the great reminder that we were given not only a unique purpose but also the uniqueness to accomplish that purpose.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Shannon — why is that trap so hard to cut loose? We “get” that we’ve been given a unique purpose, but then we climb into a box to accomplish that purpose. One of my recent prayers is for God to show me “me” and to be comfortable with whatever qualities, style, and path He’s given me. May it be so for all of us.

  • Reply Jessie February 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    As I read this, I got to thinking about how I’m always trying to put myself in a different box. I think I’ve tried to put myself in so many boxes I’m not even sure which one I belong in anymore. I’m a people pleaser and want everyone to like me. In my head, if someone doesn’t like me there has to be something wrong with me. For me, this started with my parents. I find I’m still looking for the box that I should have always been in that would have made them want to protect me and not always find something more important than I was to them. Now, after reading this and giving it some thought, I’m thinking there is only one box that I fit into because the one person who loves me unconditionally is God. I know in my heart He loves me just the way I am.

    HUGS to you, Kim! Keep writing, you truly inspire me and give me food for thought to pray about and take to the Lord.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      Oh, Jessie, I could so hear your heart through your post. It really is true that we can spend most of our lives jumping from box to box, depending on whom we are trying to please, and never quite find our own. But you stated it perfectly: “I’m thinking there is only one box that I fit into because the one person who loves me unconditionally is God.” Yes! He loves you, and He formed you with a purpose. Keep your focus on Him and let Him lead you in accordance with the custom-made plan He has for your life. ((HUGS))

  • Reply rachel February 18, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    I read this post and started thinking about how I can teach my daughters to trust in Gods creativity. I want to led by example, but have to really examine the areas that I still quietly, desperately try to achieve conformity and incognito. As a multiracial family in a small town, we will always attract attention. Learning to trust Gods creativity in my every day life and decisions MUST be something I strive for. The responsibility to show my children joy in HIS handiwork in every aspect is an awesome responsibility. Thanks for this encouragement and perspective.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Rachel, I love how you said you want to lead by example but have to examine the areas in which you try to achieve conformity… So true. Sometimes I’ll be telling my daughter something, and I’ll hear in my own heart, “You need to follow your own advice.” Like you, I want my kids to appreciate God’s creativity and handiwork in them, to truly believe that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. But you’re so right that it has to start with US finding that joy in every aspect. Thanks for your perspective as well!

  • Reply Veronica Fields Johnson February 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Powerful post Kim!! And I love your new blog!

    I, too, have found myself trying to fit in someone else’s box, or boxes I should say. Your message is a great illustration of why we have to renew our minds daily!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks so much, Veronica! Oh yes, sometimes we have to climb out of more than one box, don’t we? We try to squeeze ourselves inside without even realizing it sometime. You hit the nail on the head…renewing our minds DAILY. We need that light of the truth to shine through and through, to show us the God-directed path chosen for us. So glad you stopped by!

  • Reply Pamela February 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Hi Kim,

    This is SO true. I think we all deal with it at one time or another.

    I suspect that even jealousy can creep its ugly head in as well, so people have to be very careful. We have to encourage each other, and value the gifts in others…and keep our eyes in our own lane that God has us in, and not compare ourselves to others. We are all designer originals, and if we yield our lives and busy ourselves in the things of God…I truly believe He will lead us.

    Some are so concerned with…What is God’s purpose for me? I believe that if we just get started, like teaching a Sunday School class, or working with teens, or helping someone understand scripture…all the while seeking God’s face and getting to know Him in studying His Word and praying…He’ll lead us in the right way. He has GREAT plans for us…ALL of us, and we have to really trust Him.

    Also, we need not box God in, but believe that He is a rewarder of those who truly seek to know Him on an intimate level. God has only the best for us…we need to be happy for others, intercede for others, endeavor (through time) to know God on an intimate level, and start somewhere in helping out in the things of God…God will lead us to where He wants us to be, we need simply – Yield!

    God Bless you Dear!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      Okay, Pam, so we now have a blog post within a blog post–“don’t box God in.” :) You said SO much. Jealousy is definitely something we need to watch out for as we admire others’ gifts. So true that our focus needs to be on encouraging that gift in others while staying in–and being thankful for–our own lane. Such wisdom in everything you said! I’ll be looking for your wisdom all the time on this blog! lol Thank you so much for sharing such awesome truths!

  • Reply Saundra Dalton-Smith February 18, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I sometimes wonder where I would be right now if I had spent the first half of my life outside of the box. Boxes are designed to package things up to store. Not going to spend another day storing up the unique talents and gifts God has entrusted to me. Bye Bye Box!

    Love having you back Kim! Your testimony and your journey motivate me to live box-free. Alway an inspiration and a blessing.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm

      Saundra, I love the way you put that. Indeed! I wonder how many truly use to the full those unique gifts and talents God has given. You are certainly gifted, and I’m glad you have purposed in your heart to use those gifts! Thanks so much for encouraging me as I step back into the blog-saddle. You’re an inspiration and blessing as well. Glad to be on the journey with you!

  • Reply Samone Yancy February 19, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Hi Kim!!! I love the honesty in your post, you know we are ALL guilty of this and as I was reading your post it reminded me of Eve and the serpent when they were in the garden…we all know that Eve loved God and I dont believe she ate from the tree because she was trying to be disobedient, but she was deceived and she ate because she “thought” she would become “more” like God, even though Eve had ALL she would ever need the enemey still deceived her and made her “think” she needed more. ALot like us today God has equipped us all individually with what we need in order to carry out His will…but their is still the deceiver out there. But the blessing with you and me and everyone else who has responded to your post is that WE ALL RECOGNIZE and we can catch ourselves whenever those thoughts arise…be blessed!!! You are such an inspiration to me, so glad I stumbled across your first book in the library, I read the 2nd and now I’m reading “FAITHFUL”.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 19, 2011 at 8:17 am

      Hi Samone! Oh my goodness, yes!! It is so true that the enemy is at the root of our discontentment, when we start to think that our own gifts and talents aren’t good enough. We do have to be discerning when those thoughts come into our mind and immediately cast them down as a lie. I am so thankful to God that we EACH have MORE than we need to do His will. Thank you for touching on this because it’s so important. And thank you for your encouragement and support with my books…many blessings to you!

  • Reply Maria February 19, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Wow! The Holy Spirit is moving because this is exactly what we are discussing in my Ladies’ Bible Study small group. We’re learning that when we are striving to be what the world wants us to be and not what God has called us to be this causes stress in our lives. Your message is a blessing. We should not allow others to squeeze us into a box. My determination is to walk in the way that the Lord leads. The Lord has been slowly transforming my weekly schedule. He’s called for me to participate in two small group bible studies (both are true blessings). That may be too much for some but it is appropriate for me because it is the Lord’s doing not mine.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 19, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Maria, I love when the Lord sends us same message from different sources. It DOES cause stress when we try to be or do something that God doesn’t intend for us. His grace isn’t there, and we’re trying to do it on our own. How awesome that you are seeking the Lord’s will for your life and can see the ways in which He is leading you. Those bible studies will bear immense fruit in your life. Thank you for posting! I’m loving the input from all of you!

  • Reply Kathy Hart February 19, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I love the title of your ministry “Color Your Life With The Perspective Of Christ”. That’s a powerful title!! I think it really begins with where we are with our relationship with Jesus. How strong our walk is with HIM, I think will define how we perceive everything else around us. And I love the blog’s title–Is That Box the Right Size?–made me really stop and think. I love one thing in particular you said “God is in the ‘Custom Made’ business.” So very true! I’ve always struggled myself from time to time with this issue, wondering why can’t I be more like that person I admire? The enemy loves to put these kinds of thoughts in our heads. Part of the answer I think is I need to look “deep within” to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying and remind myself that I am “Custom Made” by my Heavenly Father and HE never makes mistakes. And I also echo a previously stated reply–it’s imperative to keep renewing our minds daily. Thanks for such an inspiring blog. Hugs :)

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      Kathy, I was nodding my head as I read your words, “How strong our walk is with HIM, I think will define how we perceive everything else around us.” Bingo! And the interesting thing is that we have to continually walk that strong walk. I notice the difference really fast if I get busy or I’m traveling or something similar, and I don’t have as much time in the Word and in prayer. Those are the times it’s easy to be attacked with thoughts that we need to cast down. But yes, when that walk with God is strong and we’re focused on Him and His plan for us, there’s nothing like that place! Thank you so much for your post!

  • Reply Rhonda J. Smith February 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Hey Kim,

    I’m so glad God had you write this. I have been grappling lately with comparing my ministry with two ministries that I admire. This is coveting, trying to have something the way God meant for someone else to have something. You are so right: we can’t fit into boxes meant for others. I don’t think we realize, at least I don’t when I’m in the midst of my comparisons, how we are dishonoring God, putting Him in a box even, expecting our gifts and talents to be packaged the way WE think they should be, not how HE thinks they should be. Shame on me, but praise God for His redemption that comes from His word and His servants like you. Thanks Sis.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Rhonda, I love your post because we’re set free when we’re willing to be honest with ourselves. As I said above, I’m guilty of the same. And you’re right…at the time, we don’t realize how we are dishonoring God when we do this. You have a willing and teachable spirit, and I know God will use you mightily through the gifting and talents He’s given you. Thank YOU for your transparent post.

  • Reply Carla Cash August 31, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Kim, this is so awesome. I learned years ago to get into my own box. It took years but I did finally get it and believe me it made a big positive outcome for my life. It will also help you identify with what God’s plan for your life. Keep up your awesome work and I will see you on 9/15/11. Love you. Carla

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate August 31, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      Hey Carla! I was so excited to see you here! :) So awesome that you are focused on staying in your own box. You’re exactly right…it does help you identify God’s plan for your own life. When we try to walk out God’s purpose for someone else in THEIR box, it never works. And it only leads to frustration. Even more exciting than seeing you here is knowing I’ll see you in person on the 15th!!! Love you too!

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