No Program Can Box You In
What if your body type correlates with a particular personality? What if I could tell, just by looking at you, what kind of exercises you would excel at not only based on your physical strengths but emotional preferences? In The Five Elements: A New Training Paradigm, Charles Poliquin, one of the world’s premier strength coaches, says that each "ancient classification predict quite accurately how different strength athletes respond to different types of training. It also produces quite accurately their personalities and even their weaknesses.”
I was intrigued. This would make my job easier, and increase the my client’s personal success. While researching The Five Elements theory, I found it is the basis for much of traditional Chinese medicine, including the acupuncture appointment I had just returned from.
To test the accuracy of these five elements, I decided to quiz myself. The Chinese elements quiz not only confirmed my affinity for autumn, the color white, and dry weather, but told me what to eat and basically when to work. I thought I found the jackpot of all personality quizzes. But when it suggested I marry someone of a zodiac sign other than my husband, I wrinkled my brows and closed the tab. This quiz went one question too far.
Nobody puts Baby in a corner, and nobody stuffs me into a box.
I started to understand what God meant when He said not to make "a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). He cannot be put in a box. And we, His images, cannot fit into any one mold of man’s making.
Even though I like being cozy and in control, I felt a little too claustrophobic with those all-encompassing quiz results.
The Perfect Cube, Opened!
God’s ways are not cramped and confining. He told Adam and Eve they could eat of any tree except for one. He gives us a lot of freedom, and that can feel scary because we can feel lost, unknown, and undervalued in the expanse. We can feel pressured to make the “right” choice, when God has only revealed which is the “wrong” one. No matter how hard we search the Scriptures, His Word doesn’t tell us what to eat and where to go to the gym.
But the Scriptures do talk about boxes, often in the shape of a cube. After I encountered that quiz and felt the sides closing in on me, the cube shape started popping up in my Bible readings. I read about the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, a box of holiness. I read about the heavenly city in the New Testament and its square proportions:
“He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement.” Revelation 21:17 ESV
Cubits are an angels’ measurement. Lisa Harper in The Sacrament of Happy explains: “In ancient times the cube was held to be the most perfect of all geometric forms. By this symbolism, therefore, John wants us to understand that the heavenly Jerusalem is absolutely splendid, which a harmony and symmetry of perfect proportions.”
John describes the New Jerusalem as a cube. What happens when you unfold a cube? Check out this video at 3:35 for a full demonstration and enjoy the robotic smart-sounding Stephen Hawking narrator voice.
Mind, blown! Or rather, laid open.
As I was pondering these things in my heart at Revelation Wellness Retreat, Alisa the founder kept drawing a square in the air with her finger to demonstrate how 32 counts is a complete measure of music. Eight counts across, eight counts down, eight counts across, eight counts up to complete a measure and exercise move.
I won’t spoil the details for you in case you go to retreat, but all of the instructors in training had an opportunity to sit at the foot of a magnificent cross. I had asked Jesus for forgiveness for a lot of things over the years, but I’m not sure I ever asked Him to forgive me for putting Him there. I felt like my heart was open again, like a box unfolding. I was free to exhale, free to worship in song and exercise free from expectations.
Jesus rose from the dead, and death was split open. It no longer has any power over those who believe. No box, no cage, no prison is strong enough to hold the Spirit of the Living God inside you.
His love dwells within us earthen vessels, but His four-dimensional love has no bounds:
“That you may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19 ESV
As Rhyan Shirley expresses in her song More of You:
Depths of you only get deeper
Heights of You only get higher
We want more of you, more of you
May we never stop seeking
May we never stop finding
More and more and more of You
As I was digging into the Chinese elements, I felt a strong pull to delve into this ancient knowledge, to discover the secrets of health.
But I felt a voice closer to home saying, “You want to know who you are? Ask Me.”
Chinese medicine may have some truth to it, and I want to respect truth because all truth is from the Lord. But God’s truth is longer, wider, and deeper. His love surpasses knowledge. Knowledge makes me crave more, but love both satisfies and creates a child-like curiosity.
Let us not limit our belief in God’s power, nor place expectations on ourselves based on any secular system.
God’s future has no glass ceiling and His cross covers your past. His love is wider than the cosmos, yet he holds you like a suspended planet in the palm of His hand. His love is longer than an eternal river, and we get to float with the stream of grace.
Let’s not put ourselves in a boxed system of eating or exercising. Boundaries are good, but above all, let’s listen to the voice of our Creator, the lover of our souls, who gives us the gift of freedom and power of His Spirit. This is a box meant to be opened!
Reflect and Respond
Has someone told you who you should or shouldn’t be?
Have you ever asked God who you are?
Are you trusting in any system other than the Lord’s love for you?
The rules that come with temporary programs feel safe and doable. The freedom afterwards can feel scary. Bring your fears to the Lord and ask Him to be your guide as in Psalm 23.