2005-06-15 - Compartmentalization
Originally Published 2002-07-31
Ephesians 5:1 (NLT) Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children.
I love little boxes; I have them all around my home study. Just like those boxes, I have a very strong tendency to place areas of my life in little "boxes," or to compartmentalize them. Then when I try to evaluate how life is going, I just open up my imaginary boxes and start analyzing.
Work box: Going well. Nice to have a job these days. Stress is manageable.
Family box: Looking a little jumbled, with teenage kids and aging parents. Needs some work.
Relationships box: Need work. No time to build this box up right now.
Play box: Riding my horses everyday; managing stress with play and diversions.
God box: Let's see -- reading my Bible, praying, attending church, going to Bible study. Yeah. That box is okay, too. But is it really ok? Am I growing in Christ? Am I becoming more like Him everyday, less like Him, or just staying the same? This box should be an ever-expanding box!
Sounds simple...But unfortunately, a life of neat little boxes keeps God out. My "God box" should be a huge box that contains all my other little boxes. But my inclination is to push God out of all the little boxes. And I certainly do not believe I am alone in pushing God out of my neat little compartments. Some corporate executives, who are Sunday School teachers and self-proclaimed people of God, must have left God at home when making some terrible decisions that cost many innocent people their savings for retirement, kids' college tuition, that new house and the like. Well-meaning people come home from work, and they cannot take another conversation, another argument, another stressful event. They go outside the family box into a self-centered Godless box, only to escalate tensions further.
Who has time for meaningful relationships these days? It takes work and effort. It takes time to call up a friend, just to say hello and ask how life is going. But our God is a God of relationship. He wants us to have them not only with Him, but also with each other. Take a little time today to call someone and just ask how life is going. You may be surprised by his response.
Now, let's try to put it all together like my Russian Nest Egg Doll, which was given to me by my mother. I am sure you have seen them. They are wooden dolls that fit neatly inside each other. Each one is smaller than the next, fitting into one large doll. In all our busyness and hecticness, join me in trying to surround all our boxes with one huge, expanding God compartment. A container that never shrinks, never has a limit in size and is always expanding. Is that a deal?
Questions or Comments?