"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 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."
-C. S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
My best friend and my sister each wrote twenty-nine letters, so that I would have one from either of them every other day of all the days I spend in Thailand. Today, that was what my friend wrote. Through those words, and C. S. Lewis' God-given ability to see things as they really are, I saw that that was the misunderstanding of my heart.
I think that we (meaning "I") push our own low-expectations onto God. From the very first cruel insult heard on the playground--all the way up through the cruel insults heard in high school, college, marriage, etc.--, we continually hand our Creator the lying words that we have grown to accept as truth everyday for the entirety of our lives. "Inadequate", "loser", "incompetent", "ignorant", "good-for-nothing"... all these words written on our bodies and self-esteem, the Lord's creations, by ourselves. We do this until we truly believe with all of our miserable heart that our Father thinks just as much (or little) of us as we do.
"You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace..."
"A decent little cottage" might as well be "a friendly lady with exceptional skin that is the leader of the youth group and whom everyone likes"--it's all the same if that's all it is. "A good enough mother that manages to train up her children to not be hooligans and never loses a sock behind the dryer." It might seem lame, but these are the things I want to be someday when I'm grown. A wonderful mom like my own, a wise woman like the women in my church, joyful like them, too. When it comes to wanting to be like someone, you could definitely do far worse than those ladies (in fact, I don't think you could do better)...but they're not me, and I'm not them. They will always be so much more than I could possibly copycat, and I...I will be so much more than them, in my own way.
He is the King, and I am His daughter. So I am a princess, we all are. But not because we deserve the title or have somehow earned it, but because of Who our Father is. Only because of Him. Always because of Him.
"He intends to come and live in it Himself..." A locked, enclosed garden; a holy temple--isn't that what we're supposed to be? However, only holy because of His presence inside, and only a temple for Him. Jesus said that we Christians should be as visible and unmistakable as a city on a hill; but the only things on the hills here in Thailand are temples, visibly and unmistakeably honoring a god people have made for themselves. A god who cannot hear they chants or anguished cries, for it has no ears to hear with. Nor can it ever answer, for it has no tongue, only molded, cold gold. And it cannot possibly love, for it has no life and never will. Yet they still bow down to it, chain themselves to it every single day.
Just as we do ourselves to our man-made gods.
My body, the chambers of my soul, are not supposed to be a home for selfish picket-fence dreams; for money or a passport with every blue page stamped; for ourselves or anyone we know. It is supposed to be a home not for my gods, but for my God.
"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..." Build, tear down--why shouldn't He do with it (with us) as He sees best? After all, didn't we say we were His clay? And a cottage is nothing compared to a palace, and He wants all of us to be palaces. Houses of God.