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Wisdom for Life


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. Half the windows were gone, the roof was caving in, and the stench from the rotting garbage inside was revolting.

Somewhat disheartened, he nonetheless drove on to the second address and feasted his eyes on twenty million dollars of opulence: a stunning ten thousand square foot palace filled with the very finest furniture, complete with a stocked gourmet kitchen and its own chef with the best view in the city.

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,

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly.

Choose to live in your palace today.


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