It was a small room with a tall plain bookshelf against one wall. On the shelves small plastic containers and some shoe boxes were stored. Makeshift labels made from scratch paper and a black marker adhered to each box. Staring at the shelves I wondered why the Lord brought me to this place. He answered with an instruction.
There are things you need to put on the shelf.
In my hands a box labeled Expectations waited to be shelved. I paused not because I wanted the burden of holding mine or others expectations, but because I didn’t realize how heavy this box had become. I saw a space on the top shelf and slid it in.
Another heavy box waited to be shelved. Validation was filled with unhealthy desires for affirmation from others. This box brought grief to me as I held on to it. Again I found an empty space on the top shelf to store it.
Striving was a pretty flowered box. It represented my shameful attempts to be impressive. Its false beauty repulsed me. I quickly shelved it.
As much as the heavy boxes were a relief to put on the shelves, it was with much struggle to do so. I was growing weary from the process when the Lord spoke again.
There are things from Me you need to take down from the shelves.
I looked up and saw Courage. I pulled it down. I then saw Trust. I began to stack the many boxes I needed in front of me—Vulnerability, Humility, Wisdom, and Freedom.
The last box I pulled down was labeled The Father’s Love. I was both intrigued and overwhelmed. I held this box for some time. Staring intently at the label for what seemed like hours. Finally, I carefully set it down and walked away.
I pondered the contents of that last box. I wondered what was inside. I wondered why and how The Father’s Love came to be stowed away. I wondered why I set it down and walked away. I wondered even more why I wasn’t tearing off the lid to peer inside.
The next day I thought more about the box. What was I supposed to do with it? Letting out a deep sigh I looked out over my desk and stared in disbelief. The bookshelf was empty. Every box I set on the shelves the night before sat in a heap on the floor with the ones I pulled down from the Lord. How did this happen? Did they fall or did I pull them down again? I couldn’t remember. In the middle of the mess I saw a box labeled Fear nestled up against The Father’s Love box.
My spirit woke up.
There was something powerful in that box. Yet Fear threatened to keep me away from lifting the lid and releasing its power. As I came closer I began to believe a powerful truth—my identity would be found within The Father’s Love.
I knew if I could get to The Father’s Love and lift the lid all the other boxes would find their place on or off the shelves, fear would be diffused, and my identity sealed.
I’m going to lift the lid—will you?
Come near to God and He will come near to you. James 4:8
The Father’s Song by Matt Redman