Years ago, my sister-in-law said something that never escaped me. As we stood together talking in her kitchen, she recalled a statement about her loyalty to my brother when they got married. She said that she loved her husband so much she would live in a cardboard box if she had to, just as long as she was with him. What struck me most about her candid statement was the honesty with which she said it. I believed her, to the extent that I immediately envisioned their cardboard house exactly as their current house: filled with love.
That statement of dedication spurred in me the same question of my faith. How far would I follow God? To what cardboard box of life would I follow him? Lysa Terkeurst, in her popular book The Best Yes, describes four bellwethers of change in making a decision based on the best yes: emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially. Reflecting on my sister-in-law’s statement, I envisioned these four areas as cardboard boxes, or places where God may be asking me to follow him into a more challenging place of loyal faith.
Most times of growth are uncomfortable. When God is calling me to follow him to places that will require my full trust in him, it may look like:
Physically: A new city? An exercise program that is intentional and one I finally adhere to? A mission trip? To deal with a hurtful habit?
Emotionally: Counseling or therapy for an ongoing struggle in my life? The courage to look in the mirror and face what has been tugging at my elbow for the last ten years— is he asking me to finally be honest with him? To accept the invitation I’ve been ignoring?
Spiritually: A stronger spiritual discipline? We all have a cross to bear, but is my cross’s leverage in my life healthy or unhealthy? Is God being glorified in the midst of my cross and its troubles through my attitude?
Financially: Spending less and giving more? To finally make a budget and commit to using it? Downsizing my current living status for a simpler lifestyle?
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)
In the end, as hard as the struggle may be, I want to follow God anywhere he wants to take me, because I know ultimately that place is the very best place for me. Hearing my sister-in-law’s statement about following my brother to a cardboard box continues to give me strength to say yes to God. It helps me understand sacrificial love. I want to say to God in every season, “I love you so much that I would follow you to a cardboard box, as long as I am with you.”
Faith sometimes requires cardboard boxes. To what cardboard box is God asking you to follow him today? Trust he will be there, and rest confident that the experience will produce a deeper growth and understanding in the God who calls you there.
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