Friday, July 27, 2018

On Discovering the Door With Your Name On It

How we love to pray for open doors.

We like those celestial answers our way ... kind of like a fast food drive-through.

Easy.  Quick.  No muss, no fuss.

Opportunities, prayers, wishes, hopes, dreams ... whatever you want to call them, we can find ourselves becoming desperately laser focused on receiving the specific desire of our hearts.

But what if doors never seem to swing open wide or we're becoming more disappointed and frantic as we wearily rattle the reluctant doorknob or continually kick at the splintered wood?

What if we're not sure what God wants for us ... or it feels like the heavens are closed to the cries of our frustrated, saddened, or anxious hearts?

This may sound odd, but I've learned to pray for the closed door.

Huh?

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Yep, I've spent far too much time along the way trying to finagle specific answers to questions that have no quick fixes or are too lofty for me to attain.

But a closed door that doesn't budge no matter what I do?

That reality I can fathom.

Our faith in Christ morphs and stretches as we fully trust Him with what He's telling us ... especially if it's news we have no interest in hearing.  Like, 'No, this door is not going to open for you.  But walk ahead with joyful expectation because I've got one right down the hall with your name on it.'

As we indulge in less hand wringing, throw all our preconceived agendas to the wind, faithfully pray for His will to be done, and become truly willing to listen up, the Sacred Doorkeeper stills our rattled exhaustion and whispers direction to our eager-to-discern hearts and minds.

Because Isaiah 30:21 is oh so true ... 'Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk ye in it.'


Shelly Miller said it beautifully in a recent Sabbath Society newsletter.  'The more I submit my desires to Jesus while letting go of outcomes, the more He seems to answer the deepest longings of my soul.  His abundance always surpasses my imagination and fulfills the prayers I didn't even know I needed to pray.'


if this post has somehow resonated,

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visiting with

30 comments:

  1. I can remember in my early Christian life explaining to God why situations had to work out exactly a certain way. :-) I've learned better, since then, to pray for His will to be done rather than my own, and that my will would be in sync with His. Often I still have a preconceived outcome that I hope works out, but I trust His noes as well as his Yeses.

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    1. Praying for His will to be done ... and really mean it with all our hearts ... is the key to our freedom and peace, isn't it.

      But our opinions and agendas still lurk in the background. We think we've got it all figured out.

      * sigh *

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  2. I understand your prayer for the closed door. A while ago when I was taking up an opportunity that I believed God was calling me to I kept praying that if I was wrong he would close the door. He didn't, so I took up the opportunity and there were several ways in which it was more challenging than I could ever have imagined, but somehow because of that prayer I never doubted that it was where God wanted me to be. I'm grateful that we can trust in his wisdom rather than in our own.

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    1. Yes, Lesley. If the door is closed, I think we really do want to know. Even if it doesn't make us particularly happy.

      What might we have missed along the way because we were lingering far too long at what was not for us.

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  3. Linda! What a breath of refreshing, peace-filled air this is. Thank you, my friend!

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    1. Oh I'm so glad, Lois. Thanks for letting me know this worked for you, friend ...

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  4. I honestly don’t care what the answer is as long as it is God’s answer...even the death of a friend, broken relationships, heavy responsibilities, life changes etc but the second guessing is one of my major downfalls. The closed door is a great way to pray but I would second guess that too. When I “hear” God speak through something, I can cling to that more easily. Boy, do I complicate my life.

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    1. You're so right, as ever, Carol. We do have ways of making even the simplest things way more complicated than we need to. I'm thinking that our first thought-filled response {not knee-jerk reaction} is often our best ... especially if our aim is to be completely entwined with the heart of God.

      If He's continuing to speak to us minute by minute and we're attuned to that cadence, I'm guessing that more and more our first instincts will be His.

      We'll talk!

      ;-}

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  5. I’ve accepted closed doors but not sure I’ve explicitly prayed for them. I can appreciate this turn of thought.

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    1. A different twist on how we live out faith and trust maybe?

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  6. how many times have i opened a door that was closed? How many times have I forced open a door that was locked? Ho*w many times have I told myself a door was open when it wasn't? How many times did I finagle a door open? More toes and fingers than I have.

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    1. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I've absolutely been there and done that. And my soul and emotions took a beating in the process.

      Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one, Bill ...

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  7. I've prayed for God to take 'it' away, if it's not His will or way so I don't drive myself crazy thinking or hoping for an outcome. And move on. But I like your way of expressing it as asking God to close the door so can be turning to the open doors. Always so much insight here, Linda. Thank you.

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    1. You're so right, Lynn ... we are craving His will, His way, deep down inside. We don't always realize it because we {I} think we know everything about everything and exactly how it should be done.

      But we really want Him and all He has for us.

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  8. Thy will be done . . . the one prayer that is always answered.
    Blessings, Linda!

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    1. Who would have imagined that those four words could lead us to such a joyful release ...

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  9. I've had plenty of closed doors. Some opened suddenly outwards and hit me in the face.

    God bless.

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    1. Ouch. That hurt.

      And yes, that's happened to me. Literally and figuratively.

      No fake.

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  10. This does resonate with me too, Linda. There are so many closed doors that I am SO thankful for in my past. I didn't realize it at the time, but they were a huge blessing. God knows best.

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    1. Good point, Lisa ... your reminder that even though some closed doors make absolutely no sense to us, God still has purpose and blessings in store.

      And because we can tend toward being short-sighted, we need that reminder of His faithfulness.

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  11. Sometimes, I think we assume "open" doors when they really aren't there? This whole, "please close this door if it isn't Your will, Lord" can sometimes be a backhanded way of saying, "Look God, I am moving ahead regardless, and unless you break my arms and legs and burn my house down, I'm ASSUMING You are good with what I'm planning on doing anyway!" This time, however, my newest prayer is SO FAR beyond my ability to accomplish there is NO WAY I can do it on my own! So, this time, ALL the doors are closed UNLESS He opens them! I think, at least for me, it is better this way. There won't be any doubt at all who did what if/when the prayer is answered!

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    1. I couldn't be happier that our paths crossed this week, Allison. You are a breath of fresh air ... and I am grateful.

      And this, right here -->'There won't be any doubt at all who did what if/when the prayer is answered!'

      Yes, yes. If God want it to happen, it's going to happen. And nothing and no one will stand in His way.

      Talk about confidence ...


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  12. Lovely post, thank you! I really needed this. Sending you an "Amen" from UT!

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    1. Deb, thanks for letting me know there was something here worth keeping. I'm so happy to welcome you!

      ;-}

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  13. A cup of cool fresh water for my weary pondering soul. Thank you, Linda. I think we're tracking on the same path today.

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    1. It helps to know that we're not the only one, doesn't it.

      So glad you're here, Lisa ...

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  14. Linda, I love this post! Especially this quote, "As we indulge in less hand wringing, throw all our preconceived agendas to the wind, faithfully pray for His will to be done, and become truly willing to listen up, the Sacred Doorkeeper stills our rattled exhaustion and whispers direction to our eager-to-discern hearts and minds."

    When I pray, I picture Jesus, my Shepherd, in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm. I take whatever concern I have, or person for whom I am interceding by the hand, and I walk out to the meadow, the green pasture, and I place my concern, or the hand of the person for whom I am interceding, in Jesus’ hand--knowing that He is sovereign, He loves me, and He loves the person for whom I am interceding more than I do. He has a plan, a hope, and a future for each of us, and I walk away, thanking God for how He is working in my life and in the lives of those for whom I am interceding, experiencing a feeling of peace--positive relinquishment--as Catherine Marshall prayed, “Lord, I trust You…You know what You’re doing, I relinquish my will to Yours.”

    Many blessings to you!

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    1. Yes, yes, Beth. Knowing that God loves us and loves the person we're praying for even more than we do is a powerful freedom. This reality frees us up from thinking we've got to convince Him to unleash His love in their lives!

      What a wonderful Savior!

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  15. Most people pray for the open door and as you described above they become frustrated when they can't find the right door. I love your perspective of praying for the closed door. God always has another door for us. I'm thinking that you have the right idea. Thanks for this message today.

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    1. There's always another door. Yes, Mary. And sometimes we need to be reminded of that beautiful invitation that awaits somewhere 'round the bend ...

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