Boxed Away, or Out of the Box?

By Deborah Malavé Diaz

The 2017-2019 ministry focus of American Baptist Women’s Ministries is “Feel/Siente.” Information about the theme, based on Luke 8:43-49, Acts 17:27-28 (NLT), and 1 Samuel 2:1-11 (The Voice), may be found at www.abwministries.org/theme. This post is part of a series of “Herstories” from American Baptist women around this theme.

Photo courtesy Creativity103, used by permission, www.creativecommons.org.

These days the more connected we are the more separated we seem. As we are able to gain knowledge almost instantly about anyone or anything through the internet, cable, and social media we manage somehow to lose the realness of experiencing life with all in it. If we are not aware of how much of our everyday falls into a virtual lifestyle, we might jeopardize the blessing of feeling life the way God intended.

Many of us email, text, post, and “chat” every day for work, church, family and friends. We do this with the comfort of the privacy that our PCs, laptops, tablets and smart phones provide. Our life can get compartmentalized since there is so much to do in so little time. This may cause what I call the “boxed away” effect. We might tend to live in-and-out-of “boxes” of duties, relationships, family, and church, with no interconnection among them. We may also overlook our feelings regarding each component of our life. Once I had a coworker that I only knew via email or corporate chat, as we worked in different floors. Every day we exchanged data for reports but never had to see or talk to each other. As time went by, we got friendlier, to the point of knowing each other’s plans for the weekend, hobbies, and so forth. After about six months of this kind of relationship, by chance we saw each other for the first time in the elevator. Our conversation was a short “Hello, how’s it going,” answered by an even shorter “all good.” After that, it was only silence all the way until the elevator stopped at the lobby. This moment was an eye-opener for me. We were boxed away in our virtual world in a little chat box—more  separated than connected, lacking the realness of an actual relationship.

The “elevator encounter” caused me to think a lot about my feelings about other people and, more importantly, how I was relating to God. Did I put God in box? Was my relationship with God like the one I had with my coworker? Was I chatting away with, and about, God like we were virtually so close, when in reality our one-on-one relationship was more like an “elevator encounter prayer?”

I realized that if we are not aware of how much of our everyday falls into a virtual lifestyle, we might jeopardize the blessing of feeling life the way God intended. It’s easy to live boxed away, mixing effectiveness, productivity, and interactions but ending up with very short, meaningless experiences. God’s call to us is to live out of the box, daring to feel for real and not virtually. Put yourself and your life out the box because God is out of the box.  Romans 12 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Deborah Malavé Diaz is the national Coordinator of Events for American Baptist Women’s Ministries.

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