Ok, this one is for my friends that can identify with growing up in some kind of legalistic law. I hope everyone can apply it to their lives in some way though!
When I would hit a road block, or a “closed door” going after something I loved, I took that as my sign that God was telling me no, and it would be wrong for me to continue to try. As I write this, I am so frustrated with this thought process. Somehow along life’s way, it was ingrained in me that a door closed meant turn around, confess the error of your way and be content with life as it is. Live smaller and leave it to God. He would “reveal” the right thing to you as you waited. In other words, the thing you are supposed to pursue will come to you, so just be patient. But this type of attitude does not develop grit, or a feeling that you can succeed in anything if you encounter too many problems or aren’t divinely “called” to something by God. I didn’t want to deal with the wrath of God, or worse, his disapproval if I ignored that closed door and went head first into the unknown. I was just asking to be struck by lightning or a case of leprosy if I did not heed this warning. Filling time with less passionate things that don’t have possible closed doors that could be disobedient if opened.
How tragic. Living this way is the opposite of seeing God as grace-filled and loving. A Creator who let’s us make choices, get messy, fail and try again. Sometimes there is not a clear yes. To be honest, I haven’t really had a clear “yes” in my life for several years. So do I just stay put? I would see other friends have opportunities fall in their laps or they go after something and it works out too many times to count. I would reach out to people on things I wanted or stay silent and wait on the Lord and i would feel like I was forgotten. That I had nothing to offer. I think God was teaching me during this time to own my life! To find my own way. That I was capable and worthy of going after more! But I didn’t understand. I guess this was a first in my life when I was truly left on my own to figure out my path. And I was afraid to fail. So afraid to to a step in the wrong direction. Afraid of not reaching my full potential. Have you ever felt felt frozen by fear in your life? It sucks.
But what if instead of staying frozen in fear you figured out what you love. What makes you tick. Unless you already know. Then you just work on taking the next small step in that direction. And then a step after that. And see where it leads. If you hit an obstacle don’t rush to feeling like a failure or that you are unable. Re-adjust and seek advice from someone you trust that will encourage you in truth. Get up when you are knocked down and keep going. Let’s take the risk and see what’s on the other side of that door. It will be uncomfortable maybe because it’s out of our comfort zone, but that’s where the good things happen right? Amazing books are written, adventures are taken, incredible businesses are built. People get to the end of their lives and don’t have regrets for not going after what mattered to them. All because they didn’t take no, or a closed door for an answer. You have to be smart about things. If something isn’t sitting right in your soul, or people are bringing up valid points to why this isn’t a good thing to do now, you need to listen and re-evaluate things. BUT, if the reason your door is “shut” is because there is opposition, things aren’t falling into place as you thought it would, or it is taking more time, energy and strength, then that might not be a good reason to stop or give up on something that matters to you. The goal is pretty, but the work to get there often is not.
Even if people you respect are saying no to your dreams. No one has the right to say no to your dreams. (thank you for that bit of wisdom Rachel Hollis) .
What if it is taking away time from others and seen as selfish. What is selfish? Doing something you enjoy and that makes you a better version of yourself? Give your “yes” to things that matter most to you. You can’t be everything to everyone. You owe it to yourself to go after things that excite you. Lean into your areas of strength and skill! Show others love and show up in their lives in a way only you can, but not at the expense of what makes you, you! I hope I am communicating this in a way that is effective. I feel like this might be a reason that women seem to lose who they are, or what makes them feel alive, when they become moms. We can start to see our lives and value as just serving others, mainly our kids. And soon we are going through the motions of daily chores, meal making, and carpool lanes and forget what makes us who we are. These are all good things. I don’t regret for one moment the times I spent doing these things for my family. They are special and I treasure them. What I look back on with frustration is a feeling of expectation. That this is my role and to dream bigger, to want more for me, to still be ambitious over things that excited me that was apart from my kids and family, was seen as selfish and no longer significant. And I fell for that fully. Just a lot of closed doors from God and a feeling of a future of no’s to things that mattered to me. Looking back, I feel like I would have been more content if my perspective was different. If I felt like I had the freedom to dream and know that I could go all out in my life. Not to have to live smaller than I wanted. There are seasons when you feel and know it might be best for your situation to stay at home with the kids. Or that your true desire is to be able to be a stay at home mom. That is awesome and a beautiful thing to do. There should be no shame in whatever choice you make. It should be made by you, not by parameters others put you in. It might not even be others, but by things that vaguely resemble “closed doors”. Be brave, see what’s on the other side of those doors. You have no idea what could be waiting for you!
In the end it is between you and God, no one else. He knows you are uniquely made and has great things in store for you. with extra extra extra amounts of grace and love heaped on.
Today’s steps to get you to firm foundation:
- Is there a “closed door” in your life that feels immovable and makes you feel like you can’t be who you were created to be? A few examples are a well-meaning person that you look up to and their “opinion” that they believe as truth and expect you and everyone else to live this truth. Or it could be the thought of “this is taking too much of my time. I feel selfish because I hear other friends talk about how they selflessly give all their time to their children. I should really be doing the same thing.” This is an argument in your head that you will lose every time. Yes, nothing is more important than your children, husband or whoever it might be. But that is not a reason to give up on things you love and that bring you life. Those are important as well! It will make you a better person and give you more energy to give to those people you love. Take the time to fill yourself up.
- Can you carve out an hour or two each day to work on something you are passionate about? Come up with an amount of time that works for you.
- What makes the “door” closed? Is it the season of life you are in? Money? Education? Or somebody talking negatively about you moving forward with your idea? Challenge these thoughts and see if you can figure out different options that might work. Get creative!
I have probably thought of what seems like a million different reasons I should not be writing this first post. I am not a writer. Does what I say really matter? Do I matter? Will this even go anywhere? Will anyone read this, besides the friends and family I force to? I am 41. This…