Focusing too much on the box


Elizabeth* skipped into our office for her orthodontic appointment a little more bubbly than usual.  Her smile was bigger than usual and her eyes were a little brighter than usual, too.  Elizabeth has been one of my favorite patients since she was four and smashed her mouth on her scooter.  She is almost 13 now.

As she brushed her teeth, she exclaimed through the bubbles, “Dance starts today!”  That was the reason for her excitement!

Due to Corona, it has been a season of drought for dancers.  Along with everything else, classes were cancelled for hip hoppers, ballerinas and tap dancers.  Cold turkey.  And it hurt.  Very likely they have all carried on at home-I mean who can stop a dancer?!  Yet, they have not been allowed to dance TOGETHERRRR.  Until today!

I had questions.  Did they have to wear masks?  Did they have to stay six feet apart?  Yes on both.  Elizabeth told me matter-of-factly that the instructor had taped off boxes on the floor-six feet apart-for them to dance in.  Everyone had their own square where their dance bag would be waiting.  The more she talked, the more enthusiastic she became.  She had missed this for OVER THREE MONTHS!

After her visit, we walked outside to give her mom an update on her teeth then chatted about dance resuming.  I asked about the box and she laughed.  “It’s about four feet wide or maybe six.”

“Ohhhh,” I said.  That made a big difference.

When I had tried to picture the dance box, it was tiny.  In my mind, my feet were together and I only moved my arms.  In real life, it was much bigger allowing more movement.  I was focusing on the box, not the dancing.

Unfortunately in my lifetime, I have focused too much on “the box.”  When my heart has wanted to soar, my feet were often concreted in my comfort zone, where I felt safe.  The fear of failure limited my moves, keeping me from stepping out of the box into new territory.

The Bible is full of out-of-the-box stories I can learn from.  Fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) got out of the boat and became fishers of men.  Matthew/Levi left a lucrative but unfulfilling life as a tax collector and joined them.  Moses went from prince to fugitive to shepherd to leader of the Israelites.  David moved from being a shepherd to being a king.  Rahab courageously escaped a life of prostitution beginning a new life with new people, ultimately becoming the great-great-grandmother of a king.  Shew and PtL!

Isaiah 43:18-19 encourages me to stretch my boundaries: “But the Lord says, ‘Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago.  Watch for the new thing I am going to do…’”

With God’s help, I can step outside the box and be used in sometimes unexpected ways!

Now that I think of it, David was a big-time dancer, too (2 Samuel 6:14)!

*name changed

Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at  


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