Tearing Down The House

Because I’m from Eastern North Carolina, I have followed the news stories about Serendipity—the coastal NC house (seen above) that was the setting for the movie, Nights in Rodanthe. Ever since the movie was released, the local news stations have sent reporters out there practically every time it rains, to see if this time is going to be the time that Serendipity finally succumbs to the pull of the ocean and the torture of the storm. Finally, the owner of the home brought in a crew and moved the house out of harm’s way—to more stable ground.

Serendipity reminds me of something…


Only the difference between me and this house is that I actually choose to stay on the sand, in the path of the storm.

Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sad. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” –Jesus in Matthew 7:24-27

When I asked Jesus to be my Savior and Lord, He started taking my spiritual house down and rebuilding it on The Rock (Himself), one chunk at a time. Now, there are some rooms I don’t mind Him plundering in. But there are other rooms that I really don’t want Him to touch. But the problem is that if I don’t let Him into every room, then eventually a storm is going to come that I won’t be able to withstand.

Can you imagine? The Holy Spirit comes into my house—all dressed up in His hard hat and steel-toed boots—and heads straight for the closet. But I leap in front of the door.

“NO! Don’t go in there! Start somewhere else! How about starting in the kitchen? NO! Wait! I didn’t mean it! How about the bedroom? STOP! No! Not there either. What about the den? WAIT! Hold on! No!”

And so the Holy Spirit sticks His hands into His jeans pockets and waits for me to open the doors for Him. But even then, I try to negotiate.

“Okay, you can go into the den, but just leave the TV. And you can go into the office, just don’t mess with my computer or my books. And you can go into my bedroom, but my relationships are off limits.”

And being a gentleman, the Holy Spirit doesn’t force me to let Him make changes—even though it grieves Him.

At night, when I turn out the lights, I lie in bed and listen to the wind blowing against the walls, the waves lapping at the floors. I feel the house leaning further and further and sinking deeper and deeper.

Until I finally wake up and realize that there’s something much bigger at stake.

For those of you who read this week’s chapter in CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity, this may sound a bit familiar to you, as it’s quite similar to an analogy Lewis shared. Funny enough, I’d never read Lewis’ analogy almost two years ago when I originally wrote and posted the excerpt above. But as I was writing today’s post, I felt that starting from scratch with a new post wouldn’t tell it as well as these words I’d already posted. The truth remains.

Let’s look at Lewis’ version:

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 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 going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come live in it Himself. (Lewis, 174)

And for me, Lewis sums it up best: “But the question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us.” (Lewis, 173)

It’s not about me—what I want and what’s comfortable for me. It’s about Him. He’s the one that created us all and sees the bigger picture—the puzzle of how we all fit together into each other and His plan. Only He knows how it will come together. And my feeble attempts to move the pieces will only slow down the process. The only remedy is to take my hands out of the way of The Builder.

This post is part of a regular discussion that my friend and co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, some of our friends, and I are having on CS Lewis’ classic book, “Mere Christianity.” Please feel free to stick around and discuss, whether you’ve been reading the book or not. And if you’ve written a response to the chapter, please link it up below. Thanks!

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  1. Hi sweet Sarah! He really is patient about admittance. But He has been known to ever so lovingly bring me to my knees and face until I open a door to a room I didn’t think I had a door on! 😛

  2. And once he starts building, watch out! He won’t stop until he’s finished.

    Good post, Sarah.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Anne, I’d forgotten about those rooms that I thought I’d sealed shut! Thanks for that reminder! So true. So hard. So worth it! Thanks for coming by. 🙂

    Glynn, I loved that point in this chapter. It reminds me of that kids’ song we grew up singing… “He’s still workin’ on me, to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be. He’s still workin’ on me.” 🙂

  4. Confession time… some how I got a chapter ahead of you and Jason… As I read this, I was thinking, “Are we reading the same material?” And the answer is, we are not… LOL!

    So to see my contribution on this week’s chapter, we would need to look back to my post from last week: http://rlcblog.com/i-am-not-content-are-you …And today’s post which I linked above, will be a preview of next week’s discussion.


    So now, I have gone back and re-read your post. I keep telling myself that I want to throw every door of my house open and let Him come in to do His thing… and then He comes back and points to yet another door that I have kept locked tight… and then I find doors that I just let Him peak through before I locked them back up.

    I’m working on it, but He is not done with me yet.

  5. I SO want to be the palace He has planned for me to be!

    Reminds me of that Shaun Groves song, Welcome Home, cause, you know everything makes me think of a song. Do you know it? I love that song! Part of it says:

    “Take, me, make me
    All You want me to be
    That’s all I’m asking, all I’m asking

    Welcome to this heart of mine
    I’ve buried under prideful vines
    Grown to hide the mess I’ve made
    Inside of me
    Come decorate, Lord
    Open up the creaking door
    And walk upon the dusty floor
    Scrape away the guilty stains
    Until no sin or shame remain
    Spread Your love upon the walls
    And occupy the empty halls
    Until the man I am has faded
    No more doors are barricaded

    Come inside this heart of mine
    It’s not my own
    Make it home
    Come and take this heart and make it
    All Your own
    Welcome home”

    Can you believe I’ve never read Mere Christianity? I am thinking I need to. Love you, Sweet Sarah! ?

  6. Sometimes I think the problem is that I don’t want to see what is in those rooms and confront them…
    Great thoughts, Sarah.

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, it’s okay that you got a week ahead. I’m glad you figured it out so that you don’t just sit, scratching your head for the next couple of weeks. 🙂

    Joell, I so wish I’d thought of that song! I love it and it totally applies here!

    Helen, that’s such a great point! But it’s like my closet. I dread it, so I avoid it. And when I finally start cleaning it out, it’s crazy-hard work. BUT it’s so worth it after it’s cleaned out. 🙂

    Thanks, y’all!

  8. …the question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us. I loved that! Almost used it in my post so I’m glad you put it in here. People have all kinds of ideas going into Christianity of what it is and what it entails, but there is no “good enough” or “far enough along.” It’s all His. Good stuff–thank you, Sarah.

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank YOU, Jason! 🙂

  10. i figure He is already living in me… while He is doing the construction.

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