So, I spent an amazing weekend “frome” as Humpty Dumpty calls it in Alice- or ‘from home’ a portmanteau word; two words squashed together, making the meaning more than the two separately, and also more efficient. Don’t ask me, it is Lewis Carroll after all…!
I do all sorts of awesome things on these extended weekends, lots of prayer meetings, other meetings, days with friends watching TV, shopping that doesn’t end up in any purchases, (but who cares about that bit!) claytons coffee, claytons cake. One of my favourite things to do is free-talk with my friend Tracy. Truth comes out of our mouths that we didn’t know was in our heads.
This weekend it was about transition and closed doors. Seasons of transition can be tricky to navigate, because they mess with our brains, our bodies and our souls in the same way that transition in labour messes with the brain of a woman giving birth (so I have been told- repeatedly- by women who have given birth several times, and have had the experience of going from being self possessed, and in-charge people to feeling like their world has been flipped upside down and inside out.
We were free-talking about the current events in our lives; which is just letting feelings, thoughts, different perspectives on events flow out in random sequence. Circling around an issue until God uncovers the solution to a problem we either didn’t know we had, or connecting dots until we arrive at His conclusion to an issue that we have been living with- sometimes for years- and haven’t been able to solve.
This time, a bold statement came out of left field. “Stop knocking on closed doors.”
It took a few moments to really process what had come out. We had been trying to get to the bottom of what had looked like a completely different issue. Something that we had been dealing with for years, but God had just dumped it all upside down and given us a new perspective.
So here we had been, using a lot of time and energy trying to ‘push through’ several different situations, looking for what we were doing wrong, wondering why nothing was working, when really what we were doing was not interpreting the times correctly.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
One of the problems with life transitions? Sometimes while you’re waiting for things to move forward, the life that God gives other people to live looks so attractive, that we start knocking on other peoples’ doors; or old doors that we closed behind us because they were toxic, they start looking attractive. We begin ferreting around looking to see if we can do something that we really aren’t meant to do.
No matter who we are, what we’re called to, no matter what kind of gifts we have been given or the season we’re in; closed doors can feel like people are rejecting us personally. We can also fall into the traps of misplaced anger, cursing, blame, and a host of other things. We’re managing to do a whole lot of damage to ourselves and others that is completely unnecessary and the enemy hasn’t had to lift a finger against us.
However! Those things that we process as rejection? Those things that we allow ourselves to be blinded with? The person or people on the other side of those doors? They often have no idea that the door between us is closed!
If we are processing rejection or even worse, considering other people to be deliberately setting out to stall us, but it’s really God closing doors, then we’re allowing ourselves to be assaulted for things that aren’t really there. When push comes to shove, we’re doing the enemys’ job for him… operating out of our own strength, persisting in behaviours that we have actually outgrown, wasting time and energy that we could be using to enjoy ourselves in other pursuits. And laying onto others the very things that we may be blaming them for.
It’s actually quite liberating. This means that there might be things in our lives that we; like Peter, James and John, can drop like fishing nets on the side of the lake of Galilee and instead follow Jesus.
I think there is a difference that we do have to acknowledge here. It’s the difference between a closed door and a door that Jesus has asked us to engage with on a long term basis. Sometimes, especially in frustration, they might feel like the same thing, but it’s His perspective we need to look for, not ours.
This now begs the question. Which doors are the ones that are actually closed, and which ones are we supposed to keep hammering on until Jesus (who is really on the other side) opens for us…? -He does love a paradox after all-
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. Mark 4:34 (NIV)
The good thing is, if we don’t know what’s going on, and we stop long enough to actually listen and seek to understand, He will tell us, in ways that we understand. The difference between the two groups of people in this verse is the level of relationship they had with Jesus at the time. The closer our relationship with Jesus, the more He will reveal intimate details about His intentions, purposes and plans to us.
He wasn’t backwards in coming forwards with people then, and He isn’t like that now. Remember this verse?
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? Luke 12:56 (NIV)
Sometimes we do know better… there are doors that I have kicked shut because of my own terrible behaviour that are not my place to open. I no longer have the right to go there; the power to open those kind of doors belongs solely to the people on the other side of them. There are doors that Jesus and I have closed deliberately which are toxic for me and I know dang well I should not approach these even in my mind, because of where they lead. In seasons of transition, and when I’m on the edge of doing something good, these are the doors that the enemy tries to make really attractive. Nope. Illusion. Jesus.
It is also right and good to close some doors because a season has ended. Without any negativity or fanfare, sometimes doors close. Sometimes they open again.
What I need to learn from the bomb Jesus dropped this weekend, is that it’s not always about me. Sometimes it is, and I need to do some internal work in order for the situation to be safe, or for me to be safe in it before I can move forward. Sometimes, it’s just about Him saying, “Not your business anymore. Go have fun, drink coffee, hang out with friends, write stuff, play with the dog, do whatever while you wait for Me to deal.”
So now, what I need to do is make sure I haven’t made a huge mess of things, and clean up any mess I have made, and then enjoy the ride!
God Bless You Very Much