Nobody likes to feel caged. Lack of freedom. Limited mobility. Inability to grow, soar, run, chase, frolic (okay, maybe not frolic) and flourish. Live the way God intend. Yet, a lot of us feel caged in. Stuck. In neutral. That begs the question: What’s keeping you in the cage? What is preventing you from flourishing? Here are three things I’ve been mulling over in my own life.
Love of comfort
Whether or not we’re willing to admit it, we can get comfortable in that cage. It feels safe. It’s familiar. We know the routine. To venture outside the cage door invites discomfort. Danger. The dreaded unknown.
Think about the Israelites in the wilderness. God had miraculously delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians, and what did they tell Moses? We wanna go back. At least there we had food and water. As if the God who had brought the plagues and parted the Red Sea couldn’t give them the necessities. They got uncomfortable and wanted to go back–even though that meant slavery.
Love of control
The cage is a controlled environment. And our lives can be a pursuit of control as well. To grow and flourish necessarily means that we give up and element of control. To grow means not knowing the outcome. It can go great–or I can fall on my face. But can I be real honest? Trying to hold onto control is like trying to grab a greased pig. It’s messy. It’s tiresome. And you could find yourself face-first in the mud–or worse.
Ask yourself this question: What would it like to loosen the reins of your life and allow things to unfold without your trying to dictate the outcome? What possibilities could that bring that you’ve never considered before? You may be missing out on untold joys because you weren’t willing to take a risk.
Love of certainty
My daughter hates to watch suspenseful movies. Recently, we sat down to watch a new mystery together. She kept asking me what was going to happen next. I had to keep saying, “I haven’t seen this before, remember?” Why did she ask that question? Because she wants a fairy-tale ending. She wants the good guy to win and the bad guy to get his comeuppance. She doesn’t want to be startled, surprised, or disappointed. Her heart is so tender.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s human nature to crave certainty. We want to know what lies ahead so we can prepare ourselves for it. We want to soften the blow of disappointment, arm ourselves against difficulty, and shut ourselves off from pain.
Here’s a difficult truth to swallow: Disappointment will happen. We will face hardship. And we will get bruised and battered. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people. None of us is immune to suffering.
You and I can spend our lives guarding against the bad that could happen, trying to control every minutia and idolize the comfort of the known. Or we can run headlong into the adventure God has planned for us and ask for the grace to deal with the inevitable pain along the way.
You can pursue a joyful, abundant, vibrant life or you can choose a safe one.
You can’t have both.