My dentist has a poster on the ceiling at his office. He put it there so his patients would have something to look at while they’re in the chair. I think about it sometimes because it reminds me of myself. It’s a picture of a tiny kitten looking up helplessly from the bottom of large cardboard box. The caption reads,
“I’m much better at getting myself into things than I am at getting myself out of them.”
Maybe you can identify? Isaiah put it this way,
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way… (53:6a)
Kittens, sheep, people. Sometimes there’s not much difference. No one plans to get himself or herself into a pickle (sorry…I like to mix metaphors), yet we all do at one time or another.
Many couples start backing themselves into The Box early in their relationship. Something happens and one of them has hurt feelings. Maybe it’s the woman. (Sometimes it’s the man.) If she says something to her partner about it, he might minimize her feelings or get defensive about his actions or intentions. He means well, but it doesn’t help her feel better. (I’ll tell you the story of Mark and Cathy in a future note.)
At first, it seems like a simple thing. Each tries to forget what happened, to move beyond it because it feels so childish to them both. However, the outcome of those early hurts starts a cycle of negative interactions that will continue to grow and solidify over time. Before long, they’re trapped in The Box.
In The Box, he believes that she is overly sensitive and avoids sharing his own thoughts and feelings with her. She believes that her feelings don’t matter to him, and she withdraws, too. It’s lonely being in The Box together.
Getting out of The Box is simple, but it isn’t easy. The Good Shepherd is there to help. Just ask. He may suggest you find a local “shepherd” to walk with you through the process and show you the way step-by-step. If He does, give us a call. We’re here to help you get out of The Box. It’s a process, and I’ll write more about that in future notes, too. In the meantime, I’ll be praying for you both!