Do you feel like you've been labelled, or "put" somewhere that you don't want to be? Did a teacher tell you that you wouldn't become anything great? Did a partner leave you a mess? Did certain experiences place you into a life you aren't comfortable with?
Let's learn from a specific toddler who refused to stay where he was put... CLIMB OUT.
Sometimes we can feel like we've been put in a crib, behind a gate, inside a fence... but like a toddler Tina raised, we can refuse to stay there. We can CLIMB OUT!
Join today and listen in as Tina talks about refusing to stay somewhere we no longer want to be.
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ACOUSTIC GUITAR # 1 by Jason Shaw https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Jason_Shaw
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Anyone raising, or has raised a child that you’re positive is part “something” other than human? My second born son grew up part monkey. I’m sure of it. We didn’t actually have him tested… but time and time again we saw the evidence.
Now this child, who is now a man in his 20’s, would not stay anywhere he was put. Doors, railings, gates, fences… all these things meant to be boundaries, to him, were merely challenges.
Like you’d put him in his crib, and he’d smirk. Like he was saying “see ya back in the living room in a minute”. And you would. You’d see him again in a minute, not in his crib.
So, we put a baby gate in his bedroom doorway, and again, he looked at it like a new rock-climbing wall to master. He was excited for the challenge ahead of him.
I’d hardly call it a challenge. I’d be insulted if I had designed the gates myself.
But he wasn’t just a climber. We put a hook and eye clasp on the back door. Way up at the top where he couldn’t reach it. He had mastered how to unlock the door knobs to get outside. Childproof handles slowed him down but didn’t stop him. Surely if he couldn’t reach a hook and eye… he’d be locked in the house with us. Right?
Again, this only stopped him for the length of time it took him to find the broom. Which he used to stretch the handle up to the hook and eye, and pop it out of place. And off he went, back outside.
Listen, we reserved pretty quickly to the fact that this child could not be contained. He would not stay where we put him. We ended up putting alarms on doors. We couldn’t stop him from opening them… but for his safety, we needed to know where he was heading, and when.
I got thinking about Jesse and his antics and how frustrated we could get, being worried about his safety much of the time. But as I was reminiscing this week, a new perspective emerged. Yes, it was difficult to contain this child who needed to be kept safe, but symbolically speaking, when I look back on those years, I am quite taken with the fact that I witnessed what it means to refuse to stay somewhere you’ve been put.
Maybe you missed the importance of that line, or I just didn’t do it any justice. Let me try again.
There will be times in our lives when people see us in a season – and they will try to keep us there.
There will be times in our lives when people meet us and get to know us as someone they then try to keep in that place.
There will be experiences that have us thinking and feeling and acting a certain way that end up getting us labelled, and then people will try to keep us captive to those labels.
Do you know what I’m saying?
Can anybody listening today think of an example? Maybe your husband left you a mess. Guess what, you can refuse to be kept there. You can climb that gate.
Maybe you had a teacher growing up that implied that you didn’t have what it took to get anywhere in life. You can refuse to be contained in that room.
Maybe something that has happened to you tried to label you as weak or scared or just without the capacity to deal with life. You can climb right out of that crib, over the gate, grab a broom, pop the hook, and walk right out the back door of that prison.
There is no way we need to learn to settle for staying in a place that we feel like we’ve been put in.
There was a time when we knew Jesse had outgrown his crib. Well, he was a tiny little thing. He probably could have stayed in it for years, size-wise. But his mind was too big for the crib. His determination was too big for the crib. His capacity for climbing out of somewhere he no longer wanted to be, was too big to keep him there.
And I think there is something for us to learn from a stubborn little child who refused to be kept where he no longer wanted to be.
See, I tried to use physical objects to keep a child where I wanted him to be. But they were no match for his willpower, determination, fortitude, and intellectual problem-solving skills.
He didn’t know it was for his safety. He didn’t care either. All he knew was that he no longer wanted to stay where he was put.
How many of us right now, are somewhere we don’t want to be. What is keeping you there?
Maybe you know you’re to be there. For some reason. And it’s a good reason. But what about those listening who know you should no longer be comfortable to stay where you have been put in life. What is still holding you there?
This may not be a physical space. This may be a mindset, an attitude, or a belief. Maybe you have started believing what others have decided about you. Maybe you have settled in that place where people know you as someone you no longer are, no longer want to be.
Then climb out. Don’t stay where they put you. Refuse to be contained in an old version of who you used to be.
Maybe you are being held captive by memories. They feel like huge boundaries to another life. There are walls of memories keeping you from the freedom of life on the other side.
I can tell you this. If you are living held captive to old memories. You are living in hell. And you won’t have a memory harder to deal with, than what it takes to live in hell.
We can climb out.
Don’t live where the memory left you. Don’t live where your abuser left you. Don’t live where addiction put you. Don’t live where your haters said you need to stay.
It is one thing to look around and say, “I will not die here” … but sometimes we need to look around and say, “I will not live here either”.
I’m gonna climb out. I can’t stay here. I won’t be kept here.
I will not die where you left me. I won’t even live where you left me. You can’t chain me, tie me, hold me, lock me up. You can’t keep me anywhere I no longer want to me.
I’m coming out of this. I’m climbing out!
I’m climbing out of this fear. I’m climbing out of this abuse. I’m climbing out of this addiction. I’m climbing out of this debt; I’m climbing out of this dysfunction.
You cannot keep me where I no longer want to be. Put an alarm on the doors if you want to know which door I take and when, but you can not hold me here any longer.
I will settle for nothing less than the freedom to be where I decide I want to be.
Listen, the gates and fences and doors that get put in front of you, they are put there to keep you in your place.
You’re not smart enough. You’re not pretty enough, you’re not strong enough. You’re too far gone. You’re too poor, too weak, too something and not enough of something else.
Those are labels to keep you in your place. Climb out.
Are you a widow? Are you a divorcee? Are you an addict? Are you an ex-convict? Are you homeless? Unemployed?
No! You are a man. You are a woman. Break yourself loose. Climb out. Up and over those barriers of where people, your past, your memories, your experiences have tried to put you.
Climb out of what they think. Climb out of what they said. Climb out from where they left you.
I don’t know who is listening today that needs to know that the gate in front of you is not to stop you. It’s a challenge. Smirk and go up and over it.
Some people put on a podcast episode today to be entertained… and some people put it on today to climb out of something that has tried to put them in their place… only it’s not your place. You don’t belong there. And you don’t even want to be there anymore.
No one can stop you if you’ve decided it’s time to climb out. Maybe you’ve just been waiting for a sign that it was time.
Well, here is your neon flashing sign sweat pea. It’s time.
Now look, here’s another element of why I was trying to keep Jesse contained at times. Yes, it was for his safety, but also, when I put him to bed at night, I was hoping that he would stay there for the night, for MY COMFORT.
I wanted to feel comfortable knowing Jesse was where I put him, and I could relax for a bit.
Listen, I once found this child in the kitchen, in the middle of the night. He had opened the fridge door for light and brought his toys to the kitchen floor to play in the light in front of the open fridge door.
There was never any relaxing! I tried to figure out how to keep him in a place for a length of time, for my comfort.
And people will do that to us. They will try to put us in our place, for their own comfort.
People will lock you into labels for their own comfort. Watch out for people who are quick to tell you who you are. Even if it sounds good. They may be locking you into too small a room for all you were created to be.
People can tell you who they are, the power move is you telling people who you are. That’s climbing out!
Look, I know that we all have problems. I’m not saying let’s turn a blind eye to them and pretend they don’t exist. What I’m saying is that we all have problems – but those are barriers. Those are cribs and gates and fences. We may all have problems, but we all have promise too. And our promise is on the other side of those boundaries trying to contain us.
We can and we have to climb up and over the problems to get to the promise. We don’t belong in our problems. We can’t die there but we also can’t live there. On the other side of the problems is the promise. It will take effort to climb, but that’s part of claiming the other side. It’s not just waiting for you. You get to get there knowing you earned it. It’s yours because of what it took to get there too.
Jesse never looked sheepish or ashamed when I found him anywhere but where I left him. He looked proud and accomplished and quite pleased with himself.
Oh, may we learn a huge lesson there.
We don’t ashamedly show up where we are meant to be. We show up and stand tall. Shoulders back. Head up. It took a climb to get there. And climb we did!
You are not responsible for someone else's comfort. You are accountable to be where you are meant to be. And that is not where someone else is comfortable. If you are not comfortable where you are… climb out.
If you climbing out makes someone uncomfortable, then maybe they are somewhere they don’t belong… like in your place. It’s yours.
As I prepare to wrap up for today, I want to mention one other thing about Jesse. And it really could be a whole other episode… but I’m just going to mention it quick knowing that it will mean something different to different people, but I trust you will take it ponder on it and let it speak to you the way it is meant to.
But this is it, this is what I want to say.
Jesse never ever entered a room and left it the way he found it.
Is that another way someone has tried to put you in your place and contain you?
When you enter a room, do you have the ability to change it somehow, but you’ve been told to sit down and b quiet and touch nothing?
Because I can tell you, Jesse would have never allowed me to tell him to sit down and be quiet and touch nothing.
Jesse always left evidence that he had been in a room. And I don’t even mean that it was destroyed. He wasn’t a destructive little guy. Not on purpose. But he was curious.
He could not be contained because he has places to be and things to do and adventures to be had.
He has things to pick up and investigate and figure out how they worked and what they felt like and smelled like and sounded like and even tasted like.
He’d go in any room he wanted to go in. He’d look around and see what caught his interest. And then he would go to it and grabbed it up. He’d study it and take it apart and figure out all he wanted to know about it.
Who needs to know that beyond climbing up and over barriers, they get to go into places they have been wondering about and check it all out.
They don’t need to sit down and be quiet and touch nothing.
And if by the time you feel like leaving that space, you have left your mark on it??? All the better.
I know that there is a saying about us leaving spaces better than how we found it. But what is better? What does better mean?
Sometimes I think we need to leave a space, just with a mark on it that says we have been there. That we were there, and we mattered, and we did not sit still or quiet.
We entered, we made some noise, we explored and touched things all up and until it was time to not be contained there either. And then we moved on again.
We were not brought in this world to find a place to sit still in. We are not here to look with our eyes only. I tried that line with Jesse over and over again. I’d say ok, we are going in here and looking with our eyes only.
But Jesse could not be contained, and he could not be quiet or told to touch nothing.
To this day… if he has something to say, he’ll say it. And if he has somewhere to go, you can’t stop him. And wherever he has been… you’ll know it. And that’s just fine with me.
May we all learn to be a little more like Jesse, but in our own way, in our own spaces, and in the places, that we want to go and be.
And let’s leave our mark. Let them know we were here.
Until next time, when I meet you right back here, this is Tina saying good-bye for now… and we’ll speak again soon.