“It’s like you have Bob the Builder in your head. I kinda wanna stick construction signs around you and sing, ‘Can we fix it? Yes we can!’”
Words only a true friend could speak – and she made me laugh.
God has me in the place where I’ve been made to question all the little unspoken rules I live my life by:
If they say this, I say that.
If they do this, I go here.
If they ask this, I answer short.
If this happens, I’m out.
Whole sets of habits and unconscious rules that I’ve been following since I was small. We all have them. They’re our mindsets, our worldviews, our assumptions, our inner vows, our judgments, our promises. Psychologically, we develop most of them before we are 8 years old – these rules that we live our lives under.
And we rarely identify them for what they are. We just quietly live.
You get to a point in your growing, or you learn something new, or someone asks you a question that so profoundly rocks your core, that it unveils one of those little rules you live by – and suddenly you have a choice (spoiler – you always have a choice). You get to choose: You don’t just default to your gut-instinct, inner rules.
You stand at the crossroads.
You can respond how “old you” would respond, or you could choose to make yourself new right now and take a different way, a second look, an extra breath before you move.
Will you take the road less traveled by? Normally not the first time. Don’t worry, God’s patient.
Maybe the third or the seventh or the 70 x 7th time it clicks and you make a new choice. And you squirm a little at how uncomfortable it is. I hear you. I squirm too. I’m a classic rule follower. My old default setting was “overthink things to death.” And definitely, definitely – never disappoint anyone. Heaven forbid (that’s sarcasm). But “new me” has taken a different, freer road – and laughed a lot more.
That’s the whole goal of stretching, right? To be able to reach higher, further, easier?
I’m telling you, it looks hard, but day after day… it gets easier. You get more comfortable with it. It flows more naturally. And suddenly you realize – “Wow, I could have never done that before, and this time… it was easy.”
Maybe it’s the patience to wait instead of spew out your anger.
Maybe it’s to give someone a second chance.
Maybe it’s getting to know people who aren’t like you.
Maybe it’s just owning what you like instead of feeling apologetic for it.
Maybe it’s not being so afraid to disappoint.
Maybe it’s just being yourself, better.
At first I freaked out about the situations and people that challenged me.
Now I’m thankful for the way they stretched out my assumptions, and asked me which ones really made sense, and made me only keep the ones that spoke worth and truth and freedom.
So now it’s my turn to ask you. What assumptions keep you from living your most free? Assumptions about yourself, others… God?
God stretches you outside of your comfort zone so you can change. So that you can see your choices and make them; own them, love them. God isn’t shaming you into change. He’s calling you into more joy.
It’s okay to be in a stretching place. It doesn’t mean you’re failing. It means you’re reaching outside your comfort zone for more life. Because despite the fact that most change comes with some measure of pain, or questioning why things have to be this way – I’ve always found myself to be strangely, inexplicably more joyful.
Hence my friend singing Bob the Builder – “Because you’re tearing down all your walls and building up something new, but even though it’s crazy, you’re like ‘YES WE CAN.’”
Because we can, friend. We really can.
God is all about freedom. He’s not mean, He’s not trying to make a point. He’s trying to change your point of view. Because yeah, stretching hurts.
But our God stretched for us too – two arms flung across rough wood, stretched out wide enough to hold every wrong choice we’ve ever made – so that we could take the risk and make a new choice.
A God-choice. A stretch-for-the-stars kind of choice.
Because man, if someone didn’t know God… would they see me living a fearful, small life and think that’s what he was like? Or wonder at the laughing, free one that he wants us all to have?
The world is a bigger place than I ever knew it was. There is so much more wonder than I’ve ever felt. And I’m giddy over even these small steps forward – and I’m praying you take your own small steps too.