Are You Living in Your Shack or Your Palace?

Once upon a time, a man received a letter stating that he had been named in the will of an obscure third cousin of his half uncle. Upon arriving at the attorney’s office, he was astonished to find that he had inherited two houses, tax-free. He was promptly handed the deeds, keys, & directions to both houses as he walked out to his car.

He drove to the first house and discovered that it was a broken-down deserted shack:

Somewhat disheartened, he nonetheless drove on to the second address and feasted his eyes on twenty million dollars of opulence with its own paid-for staff:

Here’s the question: Which house did he choose to spend his evening in?

“What?” I hear you say. “Anybody who owned both houses would choose to spend his time in the beautiful, comfortable house that would bring him joy.”

Yes, I agree, it is the obvious choice.

But do you know that YOU have the exact same choice today?

You, yes YOU, are in possession of two houses right now. They are not houses of wood and brick but houses you have built in your mind. One house, your shack, is constructed of all the things that are wrong and that you don’t like about your life plus all your emotions, attitudes, and reactions to these unpleasant things. The other house, your palace, is constructed of all that is good and beautiful and loving and true about your life, and all the emotions, attitudes and reactions you have to them.

Picture in your mind’s eye both of your houses. Picture your shack filled with all the disappointments, failures, bitterness, & lost dreams you have, past & present. Look in its rooms and see your bad job (or no job), failed relationships, money problems, poor health, or whatever causes you grief or pain right now.

Now picture your palace and fill its rooms with the people who love you and whom you love, your relationship with God, the beauty of God’s creation, simple pleasures like a sunset or a good meal, and all the joy, peace, and gratitude that go along with them.

Now, I ask you: Which house are you living in, right now? Your shack or your palace?

I’m not asking you to ignore problem areas of your life or pretend they don’t exist. Your “shack” is real, and you may need to spend some time remodeling it. BUT DO YOU NEED TO LIVE THERE?

No, you don’t. You can freely choose to let your thoughts and your soul dwell in your palace. Remember the words of Saint Paul when he wrote, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Choose to live in your palace today.

11 comments to Are You Living in Your Shack or Your Palace?

  • I really appreciate your message. Bob

  • What a wonderful visualization exercise to stretch ourselves into thinking what is possible. I definitely like the look and sound of the second house better. In my mind, I already can picture how mine is going to really be like! Thanks for this post!

  • Beautiful and captivating. Thank you!

  • This is a beautiful blog post. The visualization exercise is right on.

  • ~Dawn

    Sometimes I see myself in a half-way house.. but it is amazing how our mind has so much power.

  • Amen :) You have a great style for Biblical illustrations.

  • Eugene

    I am looking for some idea and stumble upon your posting :) decide to wish you Thanks. Eugene

  • Rob

    Its a great illustration offered here. God bless.

  • Michael

    The mansion is the obvious choice, however, if I had the decision of which house to inherit, I might take the shack. Why? Because health and wealth will not bring joy. They might bring happiness that lasts for a little while, but it is through pain and discomfort that we come closer to God. If everything is just peachy, we may lose that. Living a life close to God is also a life of pain and discomfort, but it is worth it.

  • Leah

    It’s funny that my initial reaction was to the shack because I love restoration. I wonder if that isn’t part of the problem in my life too. I’m always looking for the next thing instead of enjoying what’s in front of me. I’m always looking for something to fix instead of relaxing and enjoying the things that are perfect (or nearly) around me. Thanks for the very interesting food for thought.

  • ros

    Beautiful posting. Thanks for sharing.

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