This is a story of two houses.
Years ago, I was introduced to the idea that from the beginning of life, we build a house for ourselves. This house is constructed of the strategies we use to make life work apart from God. It’s how we find our place, protect ourselves from pain, feel loved and needed. Our houses all look different but in many ways they are the same. They serve us well. They help us. They make us feel secure.
Along the way, if we meet God, He will offer us another house. It’s a far superior house, as all God’s resources are superior. It has a better foundation, one grounded in His truth about us. It’s not affected by wind or rain. Really, it’s a better place to live.
So sometimes we live there. But often, we’re not even aware of it, or if we are, we don’t feel a need for it. The house we’ve built seems quite sufficient.
The problem is, though, it’s not really a house. It’s a prison.
When I learned about these houses, I began to see how well my prison held me. My well-constructed strategies of staying put together and performing well keep me from being free, from being vulnerable. They kept me from the very solid existence in truth that I thought they gave me.
God’s house looked appealing. The problem was, I didn’t know how to live there. It felt too open, exposed, unknown. I looked back at my own house and thought, “Well, I can’t live there, but I don’t know how to live here.” I felt emotionally homeless.
Over the years, I have slowly been learning what it looks like to live more consistently in the house God has for me. It’s a house where life and love come not from something I do or what the world provides, but from His deep and unchanging love for me, and who He says I am.
I hoped at some point that I would be able to burn the old house down so that it was no longer an option. This seems reasonable to me – why would God want me to live somewhere else? At times I have asked Him to put me in His house, to lock the doors and board up the windows, so that I can never leave. I know that every time I try to use my own strategies to make life work, I dishonor Him. I deny His love for me. I reject the life He offers. I put myself back in prison. I want Him to keep me from doing that.
But He won’t. The choice is there every day for me. Will I choose to rely on my own ways? Or will I leave behind what feels like life and trust in that which truly is? It means living by faith, having the courage to be open, to keep my heart awake, to not retreat to safety but hold tight to Him.
What about you? Where are you living today?