“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” Proverbs 8:34
As I sit in my dining room, attempting to write a curriculum lesson, my dog is attempting to dig her way under the closed door between the dining room and kitchen. I have closed the door in an attempt to block out the happy sounds of “My Little Pony” (which are not that helpful when writing). My constant shadow, our sweet golden retriever, Bailey, had been eating when I pulled the door shut, and was highly offended when she discovered a door separated her from me.
First came the whining, followed by a quick yelp, and then she began trying to dig through tile flooring. But here’s the fascinating thing to me: we have two other ways to get into this room – another door just a few feet away, or going upstairs and coming back down right into the room. My dog’s panic, and stubbornness, has caused her to miss the other doors she could easily walk through. She is so set on wanting me to open the door, that she is refusing to consider any other possibilities.
I sat, getting a tad bit frustrated, since listening to a dog whine and dig is about as helpful as the sounds of “My Little Pony” when writing, but then I let myself SEE the truth hidden in the noise: How often do I get so stuck wanting my own way, that I miss the other doors God has opened. I want to bulldoze my way through one, and only one door, instead of being open to His alternatives.
Two specific doors I’ve been trying to dig under this week immediately came to my mind:
I want my kids to stop arguing this summer, so I default to lectures about treating each other with kindness. The lecture door is not working, but there I stand time and time again trying to make it work. What other alternatives is God providing? Am I wiling to look for, and walk through those “other doors” in search of a way to reach their hearts?
I need to finish writing my book, begin my book proposal, and create something called a one-sheet, all while packing for a trip, writing my regular curriculum lessons and helping my little girl say goodbye to her very best friend who is moving away. I have been determined to get it all done, and get it done in a week. I have been banging my head against the door of self-imposed deadlines and trying to dig under a schedule that threatens to bury me. But just for a moment today, I looked up and saw a glimpse of an alternative. The door of “if it gets done, it gets done, and if it doesn’t, it will be ok” was standing open just off in the distance.
My husband was somewhat forced through that door this weekend, as he was working frantically, trying to finish a woodworking project in order to meet a self-imposed deadline. He had been maintaining a crazy pace of office work and workshop work and was exhausted. He was so close to his goal, he could taste it, but then a slip of the hand, and he received a huge gash in his palm. His pace stopped in an instant. His self-imposed deadline no longer had a chance of being met. And you know what? The world did not stopping spinning.
Yes, there are some deadlines which are non-negotiable, but for those that are, maybe the deadlines we have given ourselves, are not always God’s deadlines for us. Maybe we are trying to force our way through a door that has been closed for a reason.
Do you feel as though you are desperate to get through a door that is not budging? Will you ask God to show you an alternative? Maybe there is another open door just a short distance away, or maybe instead of opening another door, God will join you where you are and wait with you on the other side until the time is right for you to enter the door He has opened for you.
Bailey never did come in on her own, but eventually she quieted down and waited for me to come to her, at which point she receive a belly rub and a doggie treat, proving that sometimes good things can still happen when you are waiting in front of a closed door!