“Get me out of here!!” Have you ever been in a tight place and claustrophobic? Definitely not fun! I took a couple of my nephews to one of those pizza and games places where you pay a whole bunch of money to be surrounded by a bunch of happy screaming kids. Luckily for me, we went on a weekday afternoon when we had the whole place almost to ourselves.
One area was filled with hundreds of plastic balls and long winding plastic tubes. Kids jumped and bounced in the balls and crawled and chased each other through the tubes. As my nephews played in that area they called for me to join them. Ok, now listen, I was a fun aunt. I was always doing silly stuff. Who cared if I was out of college- somewhere in my twenties? I took my shoes off and jumped in.
We giggled and acted silly. I waded through the ocean of multi-colored balls. I crawled through the tubes, looking out of the built-in windows. I don’t know when it happened but somewhere along my journey through the tube, I had a revelation that made me ask, “What in the heck am I doing?!” Listen, I was no small kid and truth be told, umm… I was no small adult. All of a sudden, I was very aware that I was in a place I felt I was too big for. This sudden revelation almost made me breathless and claustrophobic! I thought I was about to suffocate.
Picture me… no, never mind, don’t picture me. Hahaha! Aww man, I could have gotten stuck in those tubes. How embarrassing would that have been?! I could imagine the laughter. I could imagine a giggling cashier over the PA system: “Woman stuck in tube 5! Woman stuck in tube 5!!” Ugh, and when (not if, because my nephews surely would had told) my family found out, I would have to live with the jokes for the rest of my life! Come on, some of you know my family. They would probably have it written in my obituary whenever I die! Heck they still tell a story about how I got into my uncle’s wine and slipped underneath a car when I was like 5 years old- a story that to this day I categorically deny! They made it up!
Anyway, back to the story- I didn’t get stuck, but trust me, as soon as I could, I got the heck out of there and went back to our table. Although I had fun with my nephews, I knew I was in a place I didn’t belong. The thought of me in a play area full of balls (how sanitary is that anyway?) and tracking through tubes cracks me up to this day. Somebody should have said, “Girl, get your tail out of there!” But, no one did. My nephews didn’t because all they cared about was the fact that we were having fun.
So it is in life sometimes. We often find ourselves playing around in areas that are too small for us. God has given us these great gifts, skills, dreams, and desires and we try to contain them in a small environment (usually because of fear). He wants to expand us so we can help others but we too often become complacent and content with crawling around in small tight places. You are supposed to do an album, but you’re stuck in a tube at the karaoke bar on Thursdays. There’s a book in you, but you’re stuck in the tube just writing a blog. You make the best pies this side of Heaven, but you are in the tube- only making them for your family. God pours revelation into you and has gifted you to teach and reach the masses, yet you’re stuck in the tube- only encouraging yourself and your friends. Get out of the tube!
When you know you are called to something more, sooner or later the place you are in will begin to suffocate you if you don’t allow yourself to expand to a place where your dreams and gifts have room to breathe and develop. Right now the environment you are in does nothing to foster the dreams God gave you. You’re constantly drained. You feel as if life is being sucked right out of you! The people around you just want to play! They want you to stay right where you are… with them. “Don’t leave the play area. Don’t graduate to bigger things. Stay in the kindergarten desk although you are a 12th grader. Let’s play with the balls. Let’s play and crawl through the tubes!”
Well, let me tell you what “somebody” should have told me all those years ago… “Man, woman, get your tail out of there! Stop playing and do the doggone thing! Get out of that tight squeeze so you can breathe and expand yourself- your mind! I know it may not be easy but you have to do it. You may have to step away from a play area or a playmate. You may have to step into a place that is unfamiliar, but it is necessary. Things that don’t grow eventually die. Get yourself to a place that can handle the birthing of your dreams! Let’s go!”
~Wendy M. Reynolds
(Taken from the upcoming book ‘Wits, Wisdom, & Wendy!’)