C.S. Lewis: Building Palaces

“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.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I’ve got Senioritis. Between class, finding a job, and savoring the last moments living in community with my friends—time grows thin. Graduating is a blessing, one I realize not everyone has the opportunity to experience. I am careful to realize this in the tiring moments. I keep getting this question from people; maybe you have heard it, “What are you doing after you graduate?” I ask it myself of my friends, too. This question isn’t unusual—in life we always seek the next step, the next hour, another world for which we are waiting. However, for some reason I have found this question troubling. Is it because I feel unprepared? Is it because I will be living in the real world soon? Why is this question so debilitating?

In this moment, before I jump into the “real world”, I have a unique view. I see the world around me that is driven by success, happiness and comfort. Society has taught us to believe the right choice is the one that makes you happy. We are told we are brilliant and this degree proves it. And I expect when people ask that question they want to hear something that lines up with this idea. Even as Christians, we don’t wish anyone to struggle.

The truth is I’m a living house, as Lewis described. I have gone through my undergrad experiencing God’s provision, studying his word, being given wonderful friends, finding a church that acts out the gospel, and the list goes on. This might look like the drains being fixed in a house or the leaks being repaired, as Lewis mentioned. I obviously needed friends and a church and God filled that great need. However, during this time and as I am ready to graduate and be done with grades for a while, I have seen him move in other ways, too.

He has knocked out part of the house. The skills I thought I had, my pride, insecurity, ambition and the everyday unpredictability of life have led me to question his actions. Selfishly, I want this house to look like me, but when I accepted Christ—I accepted a new blueprint. So I have let him build, even when I was not sure it was “building” at all. This is where I am today, senior year. I would like to tell everyone I have it all figured out, but I don’t.

I am only a cottage waiting to be built into a palace. I won’t become a palace overnight, by my own accord, or because I have a degree. Success will not be found when I become a palace and it will not be found in a job. I would like to rephrase the question, “What am I doing after this section of the house is built?” I am continuing to trust, continuing to let God build.

I am not a palace. Though I have been building and watching God reconstruct—this isn’t “it”. It’s a step, but I’m not complete. In life we all feel this way. Perhaps, it would be helpful to remember we are not the cottages we thought. God sees us as more, and while that means more work it also means a more beautiful end product. He is building a palace. Remember that.

Written by Margaret Knors ('15). Maggie is from Maryville, Tennessee. She is studying Digital Mass Media/Journalism at Johnson University Tennessee.

Posted: 3/26/2015 1:52:25 PM


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