Cottage or Palace?

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”  CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

When it comes to a cottage or a palace, it depends…there are many days that I dream of owning a small cottage on the coast of Maine. I can hear the waves, feel the cool ocean breeze, and taste the salty air on my lips as I am daydreaming about my cottage even now. But when it comes to other dreams in my life, a palace would be the perfect fit!

But, we’re not talking about actual cottages and palaces. I believe CS Lewis was referring to our inner being, our hearts or souls. I love the way he describes us as a “living house”. In essence, our bodies provide refuge for our souls and spirits, the part of our being that gives us life, which comes from God. Without God, I can’t breathe on my own. Every time my heart beats, He is the life force behind it. It rattles my mind when I try to understand it and multiply it by over 6 billion people. But, I am getting off topic. We will save that for another blog!

I also love the way Lewis describes that we understand or are okay with God doing some general house maintenance tasks like fixing leaks and cleaning drains. However, when God starts “knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense”, we start to freak out a little…okay, maybe a lot!

“Wait a minute, God…what are you doing here? This wasn’t in the cards. You didn’t warn me about this. I mean, I live here. I know what is best for my body and my life. What….ahh, no, you can’t take that out of my house. Are you kidding me? I knew it, the minute I gave my job to you, I would get fired. I can’t trust you. Never have been able to trust you. I knew I shouldn’t have opened that door when you knocked. Now, get out of my business. Things were a lot better before you showed up on my front porch.”

And, so we settle for the cottage when God wants to give us so much more.

Wow, I have been there. Conversations similar to the one above have happened between me and God. I have wrestled with God and probably will again. Often in my life, I settle. I settle for less than the best for myself. I do this when I am afraid, or anxious, or unsettled about something. I let fear get the best of me and before I know it, I have settled for mediocrity instead of God’s best for me.

When I am at this crossroads on my spiritual journey, I have to pause and remember that my cottage (palace!) is not complete. There is more to be discovered, engineered, and built. I want to be clay in my Potter’s hands, even if it means that He has to tear down some walls to add that new wing or rip out the roof in order to build a second floor with a terrace overlooking my Promised Land!

What condition is your cottage/palace (aka: soul) in? What are you settling for when you know there is more that God wants to give you? Pause, even now, and ask God to show you what the next best step is for you.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Cottage or Palace?

  1. This was really touching and it hit me. I have been there and think that I am in that position now. I try to just relax and enjoy, but it is hard for me to give up control. But this is a great way to look at it. Thanks Lizzie!

    • Thank you, Jamie! I am often there myself….I have to hit the pause button and remind myself that everything I have comes from Him. He has always blessed me and always will. It may not always be what I want, but it is what I need!

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