As little girls we all dream of being a princess in a castle. We pray Prince Charming will one day come and sweep us off our feet. We dream of the perfect place to build our castles and how we would decorate the interior. We dream of the people we would invite to our garden parties and even our royal balls. We dream of being the perfect hostess and spending time with those we love.
Personally, my castle would sit in the foot hills of the Appalachian Trail and have a great deal of houndstooth and crimson. I would have an indoor climbing gym, an Olympic size pool as well as a professional grade dance studio. My garden would be filled gazebos and swings. There would be fire pits and climbing trees with tire swings, nestled up next to streams waiting to be explored. There would also be yellow roses and Gerber daisies as far as the eye could see.
What most ladies don’t realize is that even though we may never live in an actual castle, we spend our entire lives building them. As we experience certain events in life, we build our castle walls. Both positive and negative events make up the great stones that build our walls. For some, life is easy and their castle walls are open and inviting. They look like the castles we see in Disney movies. Those ladies look like Cinderella and Belle. For some, the walls become so thick and so high that their castles resemble more of a fort than an actual castle. They may look intimidating like Notre Dame and they feel more like the hunchback, rather than a princess. For others the castle walls are nothing more than a facade and hide what’s lurking on the inside. They feel like a princess trapped in the body of a frog.
If someone were to walk up to your castle, what would they see? Are there people milling around your courtyard? Are your lawns neatly manicured? Do your windows shine? When people walk into your grand foyer, what do they see? Is it clean? Is it warm and inviting? If you were to invite those people into your sitting room, how many people are there? Are you a socialite who loves to be surrounded by people, or one who prefers an intimate gathering? Are there pictures of people and places you love on the walls? Do you maybe even have your favorite scriptures posted on the walls? I would be willing to guess that for many of us the front entrances of our castles are warm and inviting. I would also guess that for many of us that we don’t allow people to venture much further into our castles than the foyer and the sitting room. If you were to walk down the hallway just a little further our castles become a little less inviting.
Most ladies desire deep and meaningful relationships. We may have a husband or a couple of girlfriends we have been brave enough to allow to walk just past our sitting rooms, but very few are ever allowed into the inner sanctum of our castles. When people see our castles they are just what others expect them to be. They look how they are expected to look. Our sitting rooms are truly warm and inviting. We keep the fireplace lit at the right times of the year. There are plenty of refreshments on the tables. The pictures on the wall are of happy families and wonderful memories. They give the illusion of a great faith and a well put together life.
Most of us choose not to let people walk down our hallways. If they did, they would see high, thick walls. The rooms beyond our sitting room contain things we are either afraid of showing out of fear of being ridiculed, or they contain things we may be embarrassed for others to see. These are the rooms that contain the true essence of who we are. They hold our most precious hopes and dreams. They also hold the messy parts of our lives along with our guilt and our shame. They hold the things we only wish we were brave enough to share. They hold things of the lives we desire to live, but in all honesty are afraid to live.
I’ll admit that my castle looks exactly how it should from the outside. I have always been the obedient one and have pretty much done exactly what was expected of me. In recent months I have had read several books and had several conversations that have shown me that my walls are high and thick. I tend to keep people at arm’s length. I long for close intimate relationships, but most of my relationships are fairly superficial. I have allowed others to see only a small fraction of who I am. I am realizing that my husband, inner circle of friends and those I work with don’t know the real me. They only see who I have allowed them to see. They see what I have deemed as safe. They see the image of who I desire to be. They see what they think is a strong, confident Christian. I refuse to let them see my faults, or inner workings. I am willing to bet many of your reading this, if honest, would say the same thing. We forget that the walls we build to keep the bad out, also prevent the good from coming in.
Why are we so afraid of letting others down the hallways of our castles? When did we decide that we weren’t worth enough to allow those closest to us into those sacred places? Have we decided that those closest to us can’t be trusted with what lies beyond the sitting room? Have we decided those we love won’t love us anymore if they knew what is in those closed off rooms? Have we even decided to try and keep the Lord out of those rooms? Have we spent so many years of trying to look perfect that we have allowed those actions to affect our faith? Have we decided that the Lord will only love us if we look perfect? The Lord longs to walk through those rooms with us. He longs to help us work to open those rooms to those who are closest to us. We were created to be in deep intimate relationships and so many of us choose stay closed off. We miss the blessings of an intimate relationship with Christ as well as those around us.
There is great freedom in Christ. One day, we will live in the great castles on the streets of gold that He has built for us. In the meantime, it’s time to start looking at the walls of our self-made castles and start remodeling. First, pray the Lord would join you beyond the front sitting room of your castle. Pray He would show you the walls that need to come down and which rooms need to be opened. Pray He would give you the strength to complete the remodel. When the remodel is complete, pray He will show you who in your life needs to be invited into those rooms. Pray He will strengthen the relationships with those in your inner circle and allow you to trust them and rest in your relationship with Him. It’s time to the princess He created you to be and enjoy life in your newly remodeled castle.
I’m Heather. I’m a tomboy in tennis shoes who adores my ballet shoes. I’m the type A, obedient one who wishes I was more of a free spirit. I desire for others to see the real me, but have perfected wearing my mask. I crave transparency and vulnerability, but love the safety of my walls. I’m the one who loves a porch full of friends, but tend to keep them at arm’s length. I love the Lord, but struggle with grace and acceptance. I’m learning to see myself through the eyes of Christ. I’m working on allowing the Lord to tear down my walls and enjoy my freedom in Him. I am thankful to know that in spite of all of my contradictions that I am a daughter of the One True King.
My passion in life is to encourage ladies to take a holistic approach to health based on Luke 2:52. This means encouraging ladies to grow in their walk with the Lord and maintain healthy relationships with those around them. This means taking care of our physical bodies through exercise and a healthy lifestyle. This also means keeping healthy boundaries and addressing any mental/ emotional health issues.