My Reader, do you live your life as a ball or a box? This may be a strange question but it gives us a couple of interesting images to ponder. Take time to think about your initial response to my question before reading further.
If your answer was that you are more like a box, you may find that you compartmentalize your life. You may view life as one big box with numerous little boxes packed inside with each one designating a certain amount of your time for such activities as family commitments, work responsibilities, church activities, and personal relaxation. Or, maybe you have a big weekly box containing seven smaller boxes. Each day of the week you open a different box with specific jobs to accomplish. From another perspective, you may think of each task you complete as a box. During the day you may stack one box on top of another as you successfully complete a task. At the end of the day you have created a tower of accomplishments.
If you are like a ball, you may bounce around from one responsibility to another. You may begin one task but be easily distracted by something else that needs to be done. You may never fully complete anything you start. It may be easy for you to adapt to spur of the moment invitations and emergency situations, but in the process you neglect to fulfill a promise you previously made. By the end of the day, you may be depleted of air and not able to move having wasted your time and energy.
My tendency is to want to live as a box. I like to be organized and there are specific tasks I plan to do on certain days each week. God reveals Himself as a God of order when He created the earth in seven days so I try to follow His example. However, I also desire to allow my schedule to bounce around like a ball when an opportunity to do something different pops up unexpectedly. I do not want to miss any divine appointment God is placing before me.
Next, I want to make a couple of scriptural applications to our ball and box.
The type of ball I am thinking about is one we blow up for children to play with. This reminds me of John 20:22 that says, “And with that he (Jesus) breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Just as a ball can be inflated with air, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit is described as wind when He descended upon the disciples. Then Acts 13:42 says, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Relating these verses to the concept of our lives as a ball, I discover that the Holy Spirit fills us with His presence just as air fills a ball. We can be caught up in the joy of the Holy Spirit like the fun a child has catching a ball.
Now let’s think back to life like a box. Remember how I mentioned that we might tend to build our accomplishments into a tower of boxes? This reminds me of the story of the tower of Babel in the first book of the Bible. From Genesis 11:3-4 we read, “They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks …. Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name’” As I compare a box to a brick, I sense our potential to build a name for ourselves if we keep our lives contained within boxes we build. I do not want to build my life primarily upon my self-esteem.
I consider a box more confining while with a ball I sense more freedom. I think of a box as being self-contained allowing me to be in control while a ball can take unplanned bounces in unexpected directions. A ball symbolizes more freedom in ministry for me than if I keep my life boxed in according to my own plans. I want to allow the Holy Spirit to blow me where He wants me to go and use me in the way He desires to use me for His glory. If we live like a ball, we would be wise to heed the words of Mark Batterson in All In, “You better expect the unexpected because God is predictably unpredictable.”
My Reader, I ask you again, are you more like a ball or a box? Think about this as you go about your responsibilities this week.