It’s C. S. Lewis Friday!

Yes kids, once again I have decided to just willy-nilly invent a special day! I read a quotation today by the oh-so-quotable C.S. Lewis and I wanted to share it with you guys. Then I came across this picture:

…and ol’ C.S. was just so dang adorable, I decided to make this a weekly event! (And by *weekly* I mean *whenever I remember to do it.*)

Anyway, maybe it’s because my mind is so wrapped in up HOUSES these days, but this quote just jumped out at me today:

“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

When I was younger, I was so much surer of so many things. I would get a clear idea of something I wanted, would pray for help, and then just go after it! I didn’t spend a lot of time dithering about trying to discern God’s will for me, because if I wanted something really, really badly (and I’m not just talking about material things here, it was the same for life decisions as well) it seemed impossible that it was not something God would want for me as well. More than once, my will and God’s will didn’t exactly synchronize and I found myself in the position that C. S. describes above, not understanding why He was knocking the house about in such a hurtful way and wondering what on earth He was up to.

Life has kind of kicked the certainty of youth out of me. I no longer assume that if I feel/want something strongly, God is automatically on board. But since I am not one of those people that ‘hears’ from God on a regular basis, or gets all kinds of tingly feelings that tell me I’m making the right call in any given situation, I have to rely on the kind of faith that often truly feels like I am stumbling around in a room in the dark, looking for doors. I cautiously make moves towards what I THINK is God’s will for me, praying all the while that He will open a door if I am to proceed and slam it shut if I’m not. It’s kind of like carrying a candle that will only light my way for a few steps ahead of me, instead of having some huge spotlight illuminating the path that I should take. But instead of feeling less sure of God’s involvement, I actually feel much more peaceful and willing to let Him guide my steps. If I blow it or get off-course, I count on Him to redirect me.

This whole move-to-Columbia thing is a case in point. I truly feel that the reasons behind our decisions are valid and wise and even God-given. We’ve found a house that we all have fallen in love with. However, there are A LOT of things that have to fall into place, and be timed just so in order for this thing to work, and honestly? There are very few of those things that I have any control over whatsoever! So all I know to do is to be dead-honest with God, tell Him how very much we’d love to sell this house for a good price and then buy the other one and move– but (and this part is sometimes said through clenched teeth) if that plan is NOT what God has for us, I will not only accept it, I will (eventually, probably in hindsight) appreciate it. I’m not saying I’m going to like it if His plans are way different than mine, and yes, there may be some bitchin’ and moanin’ going on and some tears shed, but ultimately, I am asking for and counting on His direction. See, these days obedience is rarely the issue in my spiritual life. I’ll obey– what I need is clarity!

So, to personalize C. S. Lewis’ analogy, I am trusting that if my comfortable little cottage plans start to fall apart, it is because the Master Builder has another set of plans for me. And maybe His idea of what it takes to build a palace and my idea of what I want that palace to look like are two different things…

OK, those are my Deep Thoughts on this particular quotation by C.S. Lewis– I would LOVE to hear yours! What jumps out at you, how do you interpret and relate to this?

22 Responses

  1. MostlySunny

    When we moved cross-country almost 17 years ago, there were so many things that HAD to fall into place that I laughed and knew FOR SURE we weren’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon! But one by one, every hurdles, pothole, mole hill and mountain was taken care of and every dang thing fell into place!! And at the perfect time!! I remember watching my car being driven onto and loaded into the moving van (Yes, they even moved my car so we wouldn’t have to drive 2 cars through a dozen states from one coast to the next!). It all seemed so insurmountable then – moving day – and of we went! Piece-O-cake!

    10 years ago we moved into a townhouse – same thing! So I don’t fret over moving anymore! But the garage sales were fun and we made a bunch of money while getting rid of stuff. Closets have remained (somewhat) clean!

    And that “God re-doing and re-building the house” stuff – that’s a lifetime!

    Love the golf course selling point! What a hoot! My kids would be over to see me every day!

    Praying for a buyer for you!

  2. MostlySunny

    OK, I just Googled Columbia, Tennessee – THEY HAVE MULE DAY!!! Can’t wait to hear the Tori blog about that!

  3. auntie


    You seem like one of the few people in the world who can use the word bitchin’ in a post about God’s will and get away with it :-)

  4. auntie

    Oops – I meant to say I meant that as a compliment!

  5. Cynthia

    Many times we say “I’m not perfect”, but do we really believe those words; if someone were to point out our lack of perfection would we say yes, or sulk because they dared to shatter our perceptions. We say we desire God’s will, but @ times isn’t that simply expecting the Lord to fit into our “mold” or “form” second guessing his wishes. We have never met; but I would say that your faith and trust in Christ is much deeper now, than when you were young. Hebrews tells us that True faith is the evidence of things not seen; which means he holds the “blue prints” and without faith we cannot hope to please him. I think he knows and loves his daughter; and her sense of humor. Tori he has truly blessed you with the gift of communication; and he knows the desires of your heart, I believe you will find satisfaction in whatever the Lord places before you. Have a great weekend.

  6. LindaB

    Hey! I just recently posted that quotation of C.S.Lewis on my Facebook page! I love that adorable man, and he’s so smart too!

    All my Christian life I’ve heard about finding God’s will, and I have to tell you I’m still not sure how that should go! It still seems like some sort of mystical experience with no concrete rules or order. And I can’t find anything in Scripture about the process, except for that verse in Proverbs that says, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” So, maybe, if you live in obedience to what you know is God’s commandments, He will somehow “push” you onto the right path or decisions?? I don’t know. Does he put something in your mind about moving to another house and that’s your direction? Or if you meet a roadblock that seems to stop you, is that Him trying to direct you down another path? Or that the idea in your head is……well, just “your head”? And you should stay put? Sometimes when folks say that everything worked out great and they knew it was the Lord’s direction—– I have to think—lots of nonChristians make decisions that work out just fine too, where every door just magically opened for them. And I’ve known some Christians that made a decision they thought was in God’s will for them, and it turned out to be a disaster! I am so confused about this “process”…….after how many years? I wish there was some sort of ordered steps to find “God’s will”—–like, pray with three pastors, wait three days, write all your choices on pieces of paper, throw them into the air, and whatever lands closest to your right foot, THAT’S what God wants you to do! It’d be so much easier than all this mental wrestling and theorizing. Or, cannot He MAKE any decision you make “work out for your good” and the good of the Kingdom? I’m so confused. But maybe it’s just me. I’ve always kind of envied folks who just KNOW they are doing what God wants them to.

    I’m gonna pray that God will show you “clearly” what He wants your family to do, and that it all goes smoothly to prevent a lot of energy sapping stress! You’re going from one lovely home to another, but the one sort of in the country with lots of land is a plus to me! Lots of room for growing things…….for taking long walks……and keeping animals. However, there is lots of work keeping up a large property. But I don’t know what God thinks about it! Sometimes He can be sort of vague, I think. And this subject is on my list of “Things to ask God when I see Him”. (Sorry for rambling.)

  7. Gramma Jac

    LindaB–You’re not rambling, or, if you are, we love it!

    We’re cleaning our garage today (said thru clenched teeth–as in, clean the dratted thing or burn it to the ground!) I was thinking about how a BloomrNation cleaning caravan would be good–clean Tori’s closet, Jac’s garage.

    Then I got deeper (Thanks a LOT Tori–cleaning garage with DEEP thoughts!) and thought about your “rambling” LindaB. Sometimes God uses our friends (including those we only know on-line) to help in building that palace!! Sometimes we’re part of his crew–so ramble away, ALL OF YOU because I grow a little from all of your wisdom. Thanks!

    Back to the garage!

  8. LindaB

    You’re very kind, Gramma Jac! Good luck on that garage.

    “I no longer assume that if I feel/want something strongly, God is automatically on board.” What about “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”? (Ps.37:4)

  9. nancy

    Well I had to get a password and weigh in on this topic!! I was raised in a Baptist church where they taught me everything in life was black or white and God’s perfect will was the goal and He cared about everyting including whether I had cheerios or wheaties for breakfast! So as an adult now 50 years old I have spent my life trying to sort out this topic and find a happy medium ….if there is such a thing! I do believe God works in ways we don’t understand much of the time. And I want God’s will in my life BUT trying to be patient and accepting while waiting for Him to move or accepting His direction which is different than my own is so hard at times. I want to have faith and believe but sometimes its very hard to wait and wait and wait and wait! My inability to trust HIM after being a Christian for a long time is embarassing really……its just a very hard thing for me. I’m going to print off this CS Lewis quote and post it on my bathroom mirror to read each morning because this is a truth I need to grasp sooner than later. Thanks for sharing Tori!

  10. tori

    MostlySunny: You sound like you’ve been in the same place I am in now– just moving towards the goal, one step/one day at a time, and willing to have my plans changed if He wants to! And you just know a city that has a Mule Day Festival is RIGHT up my alley!

    auntie: HA! Yeah, God’s kind of used to that from me by now, I guess…

    Cynthia: Thank you for the kind words– and you’re absolutely right, I WILL be fine with whatever God wants for me. I just really wish I knew what that was! :)

    Linda B: You really just posted this, too?! Wow, two great minds with but a single thought– I’d never read this before today! I know exactly how you feel, I would love for God to just send me an email and I would totally do whatever He required of me– it’s the trying to figure it out part that is so hard. And I think that the verse about getting ‘the desires of your heart’ probably has a built-in caveat that includes the phrase “unless it’s something that could be really bad for you that you are too stupid to realize”! Thanks for your

    Gramma Jac: Good luck on the garage– I envy you! And I totally agree with you about gaining wisdom from friends, I get that from you guys all the time.

    nancy: Your feelings aren’t embarrassing, they’re authentic and real– and I bet most Christians (if they dared) would totally agree with you!

  11. JanetB

    I read an article in a Christian publication recently entitled “God Does NOT Have A Plan For Your Life.” I read it – it made me angry. Among the many strange ideas in said article (written by a Christian educator – uh huh), the one that really got me was that God uses the “big” people, like David & Moses & Paul…and Billy Graham & CS Lewis…and even Russ & Tori! ;) But us “little” people? We’re on our own. She said that God doesn’t call someone to be a maid at the Best Western in Lenexa, Kansas…He only calls those who will do something “grand” for the Kingdom. We ordinary folk have to use the brains God gave us to muddle through on our own.

    My reaction was “Yeah – says you.” I don’t believe that for a second…because, for one thing, God is no respector of persons. There have been plenty of “big” people in the Kingdom who were found out to have black hearts. For another…well, the list is a long one!

    One quick personal example of discerning God’s will…back in the summer of 2009, it was announced in June that the newly reunited GVB would be doing a video taping in July in San Antonio. Now, I live about a gazillion miles away from San An, but I wanted to go. BADLY. My husband, bless his heart, even tried to help me figure out a way to get there. Nada. Wasn’t working out. Every door slammed shut. Fine, I said. You don’t want me to go? Have it Your way…but I’m not a happy girl about it.

    A week or so later, my younger sister was diagnosed with cancer. As it turned out, the very night of the concert in Texas…I was in Iowa City with my sister, who was having a CAT scan. So, see? I was needed somewhere else that day…God knew that long before I did, of course. And now – I have the dvds…and they remind me that God is in the details.

    And…I don’t know if that is even on-topic. LOL Same family, though – yes?

    Gramma Jac…if you could come & “inspire” my darling hubby to clean out HIS garage, I’d be eternally grateful. :)

  12. LindaB

    Oh my goodness, Janet! I’m with you—–that “educator” needs an education in the things of God! The idea that God only uses “the big people” and the rest of us “little people” are on our own is just so wrong on so many levels!

    You’re so right—–He did say He is no respecter of persons! And didn’t He say the first will be last and the last will be first? Didn’t He use a young slave girl to deliver His message to Naaman about how he could be healed….and recorded her story in Scripture? Didn’t He use a little boy’s lunch to perform a major miracle that’s been told and retold by Christians everywhere? I see in Scripture so many examples of God using ordinary people from humble places to do great things in His power……that’s His M.O.! That way all the credit goes to Him and not the “big” people! I like that about Him! That “educator” was all wet, if you ask me.

    And that maid at the Best Western in Kansas can very well do great things for God if He chooses to use her. He’d get a big kick out that!

  13. Gramma Jac

    I do believe God has a plan for all of us–and I also want to be in His will. But, just to throw in another thought (since we’re being deep today–why on a Saturday?), have you heard Mark Lowry talk about when Bill called and asked if he would come back to the GVB. He took it to God and basically “heard” from God that He would use Mark if he DID go back or He would use him if he didn’t. So Nancy, you mentioned the cheerios or the wheaties–and maybe God does have a preference what you eat (I’m speaking metaphorically here), but maybe He’ll bless or use us or teach us regardless!

    JanetB–I’m actually quite pleased with my hubby today–he accomplished more than I thought he would! He has this tendency to not know where to start, so when he had to leave for an hour or so, I sorted all of his stuff into piles, threw away the obvious trash,….just made it look not so overwhelming. Without that hour, he wouldn’t have been nearly as productive, he would have been lost!!

  14. Gramma Jac

    What I just wrote made me think of a story: Near my hometown, there is a woman who wrote a newspaper column until she was 90 and published at least one book. She was sort of a local Garrison Keillor. I remember reading one of her little essays about how to get your husband to do something. She used the example, if I remember correctly, of hanging a shelf. You’ve asked him and asked him to hang this shelf. She said to get out all of the stuff to do it yourself,..then he’ll take over and it’ll get done. What I loved though was her “punchline” at the end; she said that in 1492, LOTS of people thought the earth was round, but only Mrs. Columbus started building a boat!!! :-)

  15. bettyrwoodward

    I often think we see God’s way better in hindsite! There have been times when I have been sure that God has spoken and told me what to do but he also gives us commonsense and he also gives us likes and dislikes and he doesn’t usually (not never) call us to go against these.I think he sometimes uses these times of indecision or change to bring us closer to Him. As for “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”? (Ps.37:4) if we really delight in Him we are close to Him and then our desires are His too.

  16. delightedabroad

    I totally agree with you, bettyrwoodward. And I think that God is much more relaxed about our decision-making than we are – because He can lead us by a devious route to where He originally wanted us to go/be (provided that we indeed made a silly decision which I hope is rarely the case :-/)
    Often enough I had been in a situation where I could only see if it had been God’s way by DOING/GOING. It can be really frightening but with the above mentioned thought in mind it’s ok.

  17. Barbara M. Lloyd

    I’ve been praying big time for the Taffs to become farmers in Tennessee. And it all seems to be coming together so well and so quickly that I cannot believe the Lord is not in it. In fact, He’s probably thinking He doesn’t know why y’all have been so slow in coming arfound to the idea! Not only that, He knows your heart and, so, He knows that, most of all, you always want to be in His Will….regardlewss of how tough it might be at times. He knows Hiw children even better than they know themselves. I can see straw hats aned corncob pipes walking down a long country lane….and all four are cute as buttons. And, of course those corncob pipes are only puffing air…..ccountry air.

  18. Gramma Jac

    I’m picturing their American Gothic photo–Russ with the pitch fork in his hand. ‘Course I’ll see it and be singing the Green Acres theme song–da da da dada, bum bum! :-)

  19. tori

    janet B: Holy cats, what a stupid article– it totally goes against all KINDS of Scripture! I love your GVB story, I have definitely had instances in my life where hindsight showed me exactly why certain things went down the way they did.

    LindaB: Preach it, gurrrrl!

    Gramma Jac: I totally agree with your theology. I think God rewards those who diligently seek him, and if that’s our mindset He will bless and lead us even if our little peanut brains can’t figure out the exact “right” next step He has for us. And I LOVE the columnist story!

    bettyrwoodward: Yes and amen– we certainly do tend to lean in closer when we’re trying to make decisions, don’t we?

    delightedabroad: Well said! And I agree.

    Gramma Jac: You just totally guessed our Christmas card picture…

  20. Barbara M. Lloyd

    What? You didn’t like the corncob pipes, sweet pea?

  21. tori

    Momma Lloyd: OH MY GOODNESS, how did I miss you?! OK, I can’t see me with a corncob pipe (Russ, yes– me, not so much) BUT I can totally see me with a looooong cigarette holder, a la Lisa on Green Acres… not lit, though. Ewww.
    And thank you for those prayers, I surely appreciate them. Hoping to have a good report soon.

  22. JanetB

    Tori – Ok, but…if you get a pet pig named Arnold, that’s taking it a bit too far, don’t you think? ;)
    And…I want one of those Christmas cards. LOL

    Momma Lloyd – You make me laugh. And, I needed to laugh. Thanks. Love you.

    Gramma Jac – One thing I learned early on with my darling is, if I want him to do something, he has to think it was HIS idea. Now, just how to motivate him into thinking that cleaning the garage is the best idea EVER…I’m still working on that.

    LindaB – You know what really got me about that article? It was the comments…people agreed with her. Just stunning. I wanted to comment, but I didn’t. “You’re stupid” just didn’t seem to be the Christian response I was looking for. ;)

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