Sometimes I Really Miss the Box

I've always been an adventurous person. I've been on many wild trips around the world. If you haven't sat me down to tell you stories, you'll have to ask me someday about the time I got chased down by creepy men in Mexico because of my long blonde hair or the time I was mistaken for a prostitute on my 19th birthday in Paris. How about the time I thought I could go ice climbing in Interlaken, Switzerland and instead spent the afternoon on the back of a moped with a would-be Abercrombie model. Remember the 10 days I spent singing in a band on the streets of Russia when I was 14? Or the countless nights I've spent on a benches in foreign train stations and on the floor of British airports. I've got anecdotes about clubbing at gay clubs in London and the summers I've slept in tents for weeks at a time in Northern Ireland with unshowered teenaged boys. How about when I ate only gelato for an entire weekend in Venice without getting sick or when I almost flew through the window of a bus in Argentina? The list goes on and on. I absolutely love being out of my element, flying by the seat of my pants and just seeing what happens. This is greatly juxtaposed by my rule-following, religious perfectionism and care-taking. It's really hard to live inside a box (narrow theology) and outside of it (wandering sojourner). I've waffled between the two my whole life. 
Theologically, I'm very much living into that adventurous spirit and running far, far away from any boxes at all. But on days like today, when I'm still in my pajamas at noon, caring for a fussy toddler and trolling through my Facebook feed, sometimes that damn box nostalgia kicks in and I feel sad. 
I went to private school all through my childhood, culminating in a high school experience that was a real faith high. It's a time in my life filled with treasured memories, wonderful friends and a total certainty about Jesus. This world is a place where "Jesus" is everywhere, where struggle always has a purpose and where everything fits together. Everything is viewed through the lens of faith and nothing works outside of it. Sometimes I really wish that had been enough for me. I genuinely do. I see pictures of old friends children dancing excitedly on a stage with "Jesus" scrawled on the wall behind them. Dancing for Jesus looks so fun and safe. His name comes up in every conversation. He pertains to your day, your politics, your health, your relationships. (If this sounds like I'm mocking this life, I'm really not. I'm being genuine when I say I miss it and I in no way judge the faith or lives of these people.) I remember when I saw him everywhere. There was a certain comfort in having his name written on the back of every puzzle piece of my life. Somehow everything really did fit together.
I don't deny that Jesus could be in the childrens dancing. In fact, I wrote a piece not long ago that clearly stated my awe and reverent feelings witnessing the community experience of my daughters school performance. And I'm not saying God won't someday put the pieces of our lives together in a beautiful tapestry that suddenly makes sense. It would be pretty amazing if he did. I'm just no longer operating under that assumption. That's just not how I view the world; it's not how I frame my experiences or how I fit together the stories of people all around me. I'm not going to force my Jesus stake in the ground and declare a parcel of land for myself. I'm not in a place to authoritatively put his name on my choices, my views and my circumstances. I don't want to pull out Bible verses at the ready and speak with confidence about how everyone should be living their lives. I'm not sure what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, so why would I put that on other people? 
Perhaps this is the difference between faith and hope. "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (NLT, Heb. 11:1). I hope God is here. I really, really do. I think he is. Am I confident that everything I hope for will come to pass? No. I'm not sure how we can truly be confident about that which we cannot fully know, see or experience in the present. But man, do I hope. Oh, I hope for so many things! And like any deeply-held hope, these things shape the way I see the world and how I live my life.
Above all, I hope that God is good. Man, I really hope that's true. That's the one that I base all my other hopes on. I hope that God made me human on purpose, that his love and my humanity are enough for Him, that I don't have to be ashamed of myself or pressure myself to be more than I am. I hope that the Jesus who loved the pariahs and called out the proud elite is still relevant. I hope that being a good neighbor, accepting and loving myself and living into my personal values brings good into a sometimes very shitty world. I hope working on my own emotional and spiritual baggage will benefit my precious daughters and the world by extension. I hope gay people were made by God as gay as the day is long, that he does not condemn that which he has made inherent and that they will be given the dignity, equality and justice they deserve as human beings. I hope that blacks and whites can come together as two sides of the same coin, having been made equal and beautiful humans. I hope that we learn to identify ourselves in our racial power struggle and fight for equality, even when that means admitting we're part of the problem. I hope everyone experiences the glory and the all-encompassing grace and love of God whether in this life or the next, that all that has been lost will be made whole, complete and perfect in the end. 
I may not live in total confidence and assurance, but living in hope has become enough for me. Don't be afraid to step out of the box if those walls start to close in on you. I really do believe that God is big enough and exists outside of all the lines we want to draw on his behalf. Perhaps there's hope for all of us after all.