When We Box Ourselves In

There are so many things I want write about, I get overwhelmed and write about none. And the crazy thing about that is, it feels like I keep myself locked inside a cage.

Only, I have the key.

It’s fear that keeps me locked up. An irrational one, at that. Fear that I’ll somehow get it wrong, miss the mark, say the wrong thing. But, I’m the rule-maker. I must give myself permission to also be the rule-breaker of those self-imposed rules.

We do that sometimes, don’t we? Set perimeters and boundaries in our life, ones only dictated by us. They box us in. Hold us back. They stifle and quench. They are not ones set by God. Rather, He calls us to be free of them.

And I hear Him calling. I can step out of this cage. I can walk right out — if I want to.

Walk. Free.


Just the thought of it is making my heart beat a little faster inside my chest. It’s my own personal, inner battle. It’s not a battle with the devil, or a wrestling with God. It’s my own fear of failure that is impeding my forward progress. I battle my own self.

I know this battle well. It usually comes at the brink of something new. New beginnings bring a sense of uncertainty — an uncertainty that frightens me to the point of denial that I’ve heard a call at all. I look for a way of escape. A way that is any other way than the way I know I should go.

It’s the first step that is sometimes…many times…most times…the scariest.

I sabotage myself before I even begin. I peek out beyond the first step, and I fabricate an imaginary pathway — one that leads to an end I cannot possibly predict, though I try. Once I see the end I’ve imagined, I shrink back in fear. And I remain, motionless.

See, it’s an irrational fear of the unknown. Irrational, because it’s fear of something that doesn’t even exist — except in my own mind.

I shuffle back and forth, pace the floor in my mind, take another peek out, and wonder if I take a step what the next will bring. Will I be disappointed? Will I disappoint? Will I fall? And will it hurt if I do? Will I lose? Will I regret if I go?

Or will I regret if I don’t? What will I miss? When God’s call comes from afar, from a distance He calls, and I know He wants me to follow Him. If I don’t, I miss out on, perhaps, the greatest gift this life has to offer — one that brings joy unspeakable.

God’s pleasure in me.

God takes no delight in a soul that shrinks back. It’s impossible to please Him without faith. Faith is a walk that is not by sight. Only each step lights the path ahead, and each step of our lives — is a step only we can take. Though we cannot see, God’s Word is the lamp to our feet that illuminates the way.

I’ve held back, here. I’ve held myself back in my writing, and in so many way in my life. It’s time for me to turn the key, and walk free. Or at least, take the first step.

In a way, this is my first.

My steps have been ordered, established, directed by the Lord. Ps 37:23

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“The LORD directs
the steps of the godly.

He delights in every
detail of their lives.”

Ps. 37:23 NLT

  • MsLorretty

    Staying out of the box with you. Blessings and hugs!

  • Kathy Schwanke

    I am familiar with the battle. I call it the idol of productivity..or the idol of performance..or the paralysis of analysis..or the beginning-of-all-things anxiety….. for grace to trust Him more.

    Early on in my walk with Jesus, my mom told me something that has been so valuable. She said, “Anything my flesh doesn’t want to do, I do it.” and that has enabled me to begin many things while feeling fear, but it’s only in the ‘breaking-in’ place — eventually the fear subsides.

    That verse…God directs the steps of the godly and delights in every detail of our lives. (NLT) It’s a friend of mine. πŸ™‚ Granting such sweet assurance that I am NOT in control… ah, Spirit comfort. πŸ™‚

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ Michele-Lyn


      That’s a lot of names! But it gives me a new perspective — seeing things a little different now. Fear can counterfeit as pride, can’t it? When you start calling out idols, this is what it makes me think of.

      Your mama is a wise women. There are things I should know and live by now, but it seems like the longer I live the less I know. πŸ™‚

      And you are right about the whole “not in control” thing, being a sweet assurance. I forget that too often. It reminds me, I’ve not been casting my cares. No, rather, been holding a little too tightly to them. Thank you!! You’ve left me lots of nuggets of truth and wisdom in your comment. πŸ™‚

      • Kathy Schwanke

        YES, I feel like that too. I should be further along, but I have also noticed that the battles are shorter, I get my foot on the neck more quickly. So there is progress. πŸ™‚

        Every time I struggle with something difficult, such as forgiving someone, it seems the relief comes in letting go. {Oh! God IS in control and not that person or that situation-or worse: me!!!} Yay!

        • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ Michele-Lyn

          From glory to glory… πŸ™‚

  • Christine Clifton

    Sometimes it feels like we are picking our foot up for the next step before we can see where it will land. The incredible thing is that even the steps we cant see, are already known by our loving Father! Keep taking those bold steps! You are a blessing!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ Michele-Lyn


      Yes. Yes. All of that! I’ve served the Lord for nearly 2 decades, and it seems I’m just beginning to understand this. Sigh… Though, He is FAITHFUL! Thank you for your encouragement!!!