Half-Filled Boxes and Grace


A week ago I went to a pot luck of a dear friend whose family was getting ready to move. They host this pot luck every Sunday and this particular Sunday was the last one at their current home. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to have things in order. I really don’t know how else to explain it, but I have always felt this internal pressure to have things “perfect.” I guess in a way it makes me feel as if I have everything “together” which of course is actually impossible, but I guess I like to pretend. When my husband and I have ever hosted anything at our home I definitely want to make sure everything is “together.” I’ve loved when people have come over and commented on how beautiful our home is, etc. This particular get-together that my husband and I went to, however, had a completely different feel to it. Because this family was moving they had boxes everywhere. Things were half packed; things were undone. Let me tell you what, that pot luck was one of the most soul refreshing get-togethers I think I have ever been to and it wasn’t because we knew everyone there and had great conversation, because actually we only knew the owners. Everyone there could have cared less about what this family’s home situation was like. They weren’t looking at the half packed boxes, they were just enjoying the fellowship and enjoying one another. The hosts of the pot luck were not looking at the half packed boxes either and wondering/worrying what their guests thought. Instead they were loving on their guests—real, authentic life was being lived out in front of my eyes, and it was just so beautiful.

My husband and I are actually in the process of packing up our house and moving as well, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen my house in such disarray. I currently have dirty dishes in the sink, wet dust rags on the floor, and cabinets opened and half empty. I’m overdo on laundry, and boxes are stacked everywhere to the point where you can barely move through our living room at all. And there’s just a lot more packing to do. I’m typically of the mentality that when you start something you finish it in that sitting, and, well, that’s just impossible in this scenario. It’s truly been a challenge for me; I’ve felt so anxious.

The whole process of moving into this new house is just a list of one grace after another as the Lord has orchestrated the entire thing. It has been such a gift to us! The Lord opened my eyes to my anxiety and just how ungrateful that was in the midst of everything that was occurring for our family. I was confessing and praying about how I just don’t want to care about the half-filled boxes in my house, and I read from the In the Garden study 1 John 2:15-17: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” The Lord revealed to me how I was yearning after the desires of my flesh in wanting to be perfect and “have it all together” by stressing over my dirty house instead of fixing my eyes on the One who was giving my family a gift and reason to have those half-filled boxes all over the place.

I started to think through those verses a little bit more and was just seeing the comparisons that were being made—God or the world, we can’t have both. I thought again about the pot luck I had gone to a week ago and could see how in a way that was an analogy for God or the world. I felt so much more refreshed and uplifted when I left a place that was full of grace and just filled with love despite the half-filled boxes than when I left my own home with a constant to-do list flying in my mind about all I need to get done to keep it all somewhat together. Do I want to look to God and fix my gaze on Him or do I want to look to the world (the desire of my flesh) that says that my house always needs to be in order?

Today I heard a sermon on the transfiguration from Mark 9. The pastor went into intense detail on the very tiny glimpse of glory that Peter, James, and John were able to experience on the mountain with Jesus prior to Him going to the cross. The pastor explained the context of what had just taken place prior to the transfiguration—Jesus had explained that He would suffer on the cross and after three days rise again. Peter did not want to hear this from Jesus. It says in Mark 8:32 that Peter rebuked Him because Peter didn’t want to think about the powerful Messiah that he had heard about for so long having to die. But Jesus goes on to tell Peter that his mind was set on the things of man, not of God and then goes further to explain that if anyone would come after Him they must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. Jesus says in Mark 8:36, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” While the transfiguration was unbelievable for the three disciples that were able to witness it, Jesus then still had to go to the cross. The pastor said, “This story doesn’t end in glory, it ends in humility.” Jesus was preparing the disciples for the cross and pointing to the cross because it was the cross and what Jesus was going to do there that was going to allow them to bask in the glory that they were just able to experience. It is because Jesus went to the cross and took our sins that we are going to one day be able to experience the true glory of God. The pastor went on to explain that yes, we absolutely get tastes of glory here on this earth, but right now it’s not promised. We’re actually promised a cross. We are called to pick up our crosses. The pastor asked the question, “Do you really believe that there is stored up glory for you in heaven that is coming?” He pointed out how Paul believed this. Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

I started to think about that tiny analogy of half-filled boxes in my house—the world or God? Because Jesus died for me, I have been given the grace to fix my eyes on Him and not this world. I have been given the living hope, the hope of glory, and when I look to that instead of my half-filled boxes and messy house, for example, it’s so much more refreshing. This world and my half-filled boxes are passing away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Planted for His Glory

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