Leaky Pipes

Does it not make a great difference whether I am, so to speak, the landlord of my own mind and body, or only a tenant, responsible to the real landlord?

C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity

This quote… It stood out to me so much the first time I read through Mere Christianity. As I have worked through this book a second time, revisiting previous underlines and notes has been such a fun experience. It has also been so incredible to see the way those same quotes and chapters can take such a different meaning or reveal something so new the second time around.

I was fascinated by this analogy. The thought that my body is a home built by someone else that I am simply blessed to be residing in is such a wonderful way of understanding the relationship between our body and spirit. It is also SO important to realize we cannot ever have enough to purchase our own “homes”. They are so beautifully built that only the blood of Christ could pay the price. He has not only created this beautiful home for my spirit, He owns it, too.

As I followed this train of thought, I was so thankful. My body is truly an incredible thing. The fact I have been gifted it is so overwhelming. But as I thought through this, less positive thoughts quickly filled my mind…

Obviously God has created my “home” and it’s beautiful in appearance, but is it really fair I seem to have quite a few “leaky pipes” with my health? They cause so many issues that I seem to always be trying to fix. Why couldn’t I have had a “home” that is perfect?

How sad is that? How incredibly sad is it that I can be SO blessed to have something so beautiful, and I can only appreciate it for about ten seconds before I suddenly feel sorry for myself.

But that’s so easy to do when I feel like I am constantly fighting. It’s so exhausting. I recently made it through another week of poor health. I haven’t slept more than 4-6 hours a night in a week. Lack of sleep and brain fog are making me feel like I’m walking through a dream instead of reality. My joints seem to be screaming at me. Eventually I just reach a point I am so tired and sick of being sick. I come to a place where all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry. Cry hard and somehow miraculously come to a place of peace without pain.

It’s draining. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

As I sat there, feeling sorry for myself, thinking about this flawed “home”, I heard the Lord say, “Darling, do you realize you don’t love yourself?”

Is it strange to say this almost offended me? Growing up, I had a difficult time relating to other people who struggled with self-image. I never seemed to have trouble seeing the beauty in the way God created me, at least when it came to physical appearance. Even now, when I see others struggling to see the beauty God has given them, it hurts my heart and I so passionately want to help them see it, but I have never had a clue how to understand where they are coming from to start.

So I was confused. How can I not love myself? I know God created me in His image, I know He made me to be beautiful in His eyes… so how can I not love myself?

“Do you realize you can appreciate your beauty and still lack appreciation and love for your physical body?”

Suddenly I saw a picture so vividly. It was an archway- a doorframe- in a home. One I saw in Pinterest months ago that I loved, but forgot to save. It was different than most doorways. Built to be an odd shape, it had exposed brick and almost seemed like someone had knocked a hole in the wall and decided to leave it. It was such an interesting design and so unique.

“This is your health.”

I am made in God’s image. Following this “home” analogy, that means God designed billions of houses, right? And each one is modeled after His own house. Every house contains pieces of the architecture, design, and decoration of His own. They are modeled after His, but unique in their own way.

I was given one of these houses. For free. Because Christ bought it for me. He is the landlord, I’m just a tenant. Well, I obviously really appreciate this house. From the outside, I can see it is very beautiful. The architecture is pleasing. Most of the inside is as well. However, I notice this doorway in my new home. It catches my eye almost immediately. It is not easy to miss at all.

Unfortunately, I decide immediately I do not like this doorway. It looks like something is broken. Actually, what it looks like is someone broke the wall and decided it wasn’t worth fixing, so they slapped some paint on it and called it a day. So, because I don’t like it, I start calling my landlord every day after I notice it. I don’t like it, so He should come fix it for me. In the meantime, I do everything I can to patch it up, cover it up, and get rid of it. But nothing seems to work.

Actually, I get quite irritated because I know the landlord knows EXACTLY what I am complaining about. I can’t understand why He won’t come fix it. Until today. Today, when I call again, very upset about this doorway, He responds saying, “Have you ever thought maybe I designed it that way for a reason? Actually, this house is still mine, and I think that doorway is beautiful. In fact, that doorway is modeled after one in my own home.”

Where my eyes see something broken, His eyes see a work of art. I see something poorly designed, but He sees something that took time and thought to create. My eyes only see a problem which needs fixing, but He sees something beautiful.

There are no leaky pipes. My house is very well built. It was perfectly designed. Unfortunately, there is a part of it I am struggling to see the beauty in. It still looks a bit lopsided to me. But the truth is, it was very carefully designed by someone who sees it as perfect.

Wouldn’t it be so sad if I live in this house my whole life and choose to say I hate it just because of one doorframe I don’t like? It seems like such a big deal even though it’s such a small part of this beautiful house I have been given. Maybe it’s not my taste, but this house doesn’t really belong to me anyway. I’m just blessed to be living in it while I’m here on this earth. Even so, I think if I’m going to live in it my whole life, I should probably take time to try and appreciate the thought and creativity the architect put into creating this whole house. Every single part of it.

It will take time for me to be able to see my health as something beautiful. My body and I don’t get along very well most days because of it. It will take time for me to learn to appreciate something I struggle to see the beauty in. But thankfully, I know it was part of the blueprints for my body. God didn’t make a mistake. He put time, thought, and care into creating me the way He did.

It may take time for me to really know it, but I am beautiful in every way. No leaky pipes.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Do not be afraid of discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Deuteronomy 31:8

We’ve been working through the story of Abraham in Genesis over the last couple months. I went into it a bit closed-minded, thinking I wouldn’t enjoy reading through the same stories I’ve head so many times. I really need to stop doing that when reading the Bible, because every time God shows me such incredible things I never noticed before. He takes a story I’ve heard since early childhood and flips it into this incredible tale that captures my attention and leaves me in awe.

Over the weeks, God has really been reminding me of His incredible faithfulness and what that looks like. As I’ve worked through Genesis, I’ve had the opportunity to read about every promise the Lord made to Abraham through his life, and then see the way the Father fulfilled those promises time and time again. In addition, I’ve seen how God prepared a way for Abraham to reach those promises, no matter the hardships, doubts, or fears that tried to hinder him.

If I had an account of my life like Abraham did, I think I would be awestruck with how the Father has been faithful to me (and will be).

I’ve seen him answer prayer after prayer in the past. He has provided strength, courage, and hope through the toughest parts of my life. Regardless of my decisions, He has stayed by my side and waited for me to turn around and fall into His open arms. He has prepared a path for me in areas that still leave me awestruck. I already have seen Him do so much.

Sometimes it’s so easy to see this and be grateful. But, I think a lot of times, it’s easy to be discouraged in life and lose sight of that. There’s times you don’t see results, life becomes extremely difficult, and you seem to be stuck in something with no way out. It’s so easy to miss the blessings, love, and joy the Father offers us. At times, He feels distant. It’s hard to remember He’s there at all. There are things like this I struggle with on a daily basis. There are things I have been praying for for years, but with what feels like no response.

But Abraham and Sarah waited over 25 years for a son. They were in a place where it was actually impossible to have a child. Sarah even resorted to giving Abraham a servant with the hopes of continuing the family line. It became a situation that seemed completely hopeless. Until God transformed it into an incredible, impossible miracle. God was faithful.

I feel in a lot of ways that I have been very judgmental of Abraham and Sarah in the past as they took matters into their own hands. After all, God did promise them a son, yeah? But this time as I read their story again, I was able to see it from a different perspective. Having a son, and someone to carry on their lineage was a HUGE deal then. It was something that showed value as well. Children were prized. And they had none. They had waited well past the time their bodies were physically capable of producing children. That is such a hopeless place. No wonder they tried to find another option. But God was faithful.

I do that too, in different ways, I think. In times I feel hopeless, I turn to other things. Sometimes it’s to take my mind off what is bothering me as I scroll through social media. Sometimes it’s searching for comfort in other people around me. Sometimes it’s reading or working or filling my schedule to keep myself busy. These are not bad things on their own, but often, I do this in place of turning to God. Instead of coming to him for comfort and love when I feel hopeless, I try to take care of that feeling in my own way. But God is faithful.

We have a loving, patient Father.

He is faithful in fulfilling His promises, yes. He is also faithful to us, remaining with us through every situation we walk through. Even when I can’t see what He’s doing, I do have the opportunity to see Him. What an amazing thing that we have a God that walks alongside us through this crazy life!

Father, thank you for being present and faithful always. Help me to see your faithfulness in every area of my life, and to have confidence in You, knowing you are with me and preparing a way for me wherever I go.