(this Musing borrows from a meditation written by Rev Dr Deborah Stowers, Sr. Minister of the Mount Pleasant UMC. in 2013)
These days boxes have taken a new priority in my life. These two eyes can spot and focus upon an empty one from blocks away. Packing peanuts are new treasures too. My appearance may seem to be calm but the voices in my mind have not stopped planning or figuring. They are constant. “Oh, this sturdy box would be good for nick knacks.” “Can a group of small boxes be combined to fit into a bigger one?”
“Can I spare this box to use for my Goodwill donations?” “How many boxes of annual tax forms do I truly need to keep?”
Yesterday I happened to notice an imprint on several boxes and I was reminded of something Rev. Stowers shared with me. The imprint is a ‘box certificate.’ It contains important information that is helpful to read and follow. It addresses how much can fit in the box, what weight can be safely carried inside of it and how much can be piled on top of the box without crushing. Look at the boxes you have stored in the closet and you might find a certificate too.
Apparently the manufacturers of boxes have set standards that report the strengths and limitations of each box. If I were to try packing a drum (25 inches tall) in a box sized at 24 inches, I will be out of luck. And, when I start a new stack of boxes in the side room it’s good to know that they can withstand 32 lbs/sq. inch without falling flat as a pancake and spilling my precious valuables all over the floor. When a carton has a weight limit of 65 lbs before the bottom drops out, a person must pack accordingly. Now you can just imagine why Rev. Stowers felt it was important to tell me about box certificates and how to read them.
Human beings do not have a “human certificate” stamped upon our body. But just think how handy it would be to have that information and to know one’s strengths, abilities and limitation before hitting that red zone where they are in danger of being surpassed. Of course people can stretch and grow and change, but there re-main limitations. We may not have this information handy, but God knows us better than we know our-selves. There is a certain amount of stuff we are capable of containing without bursting. The pressure of those things others pile on top of us can only go so high. God has no intention of allowing the bottom to drop out underneath us. Just watch out for those warning signs, because God does provides that to you. And, there is a way to be shored up.
Our Loving Shepherd does not expect any one to do any more than what we are capable of doing. A person may not believe it in the moment, but no one will be asked to fit in more that the hours of the day allow. We can-not carry a load that is greater than our strength. Yes, these limitations are tested from time to time. There are seasons for growing stronger. Sometimes I have discovered I am capable of much more than I had assumed. That does not mean I do not experience panicky moments.
However experience has taught me that the prayer line to Christ is always open. And, when I am willing to look around me in faith, I have always found a friend, family members, and other good people who are willing to come alongside of me to help. The Christian community cares about you, your family and all those red spots where limitations are being tested. They will help you as they can…. the only condition being that all of us are limited too and occasionally need to rely upon you.
Scripture: “Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, i will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Prayer: “Dear Christ you are my friend and helper. Please help me be mindful of my limitations and give me the courage to speak up and ask for help before they are crossed. The times in which we are living seem uncertain. Still you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We can count upon that. Amen.”

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