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When Doors Slam Shut

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Jason and I have definitely experienced “closed doors” seasons. We definitely did not see it coming in advance! These closed doors are the kind that punch you in the gut and knock the breath out of you momentarily.  They absolutely require you to return to God in humility with seeking hearts, searching for fresh grace.

Those seasons can be so tough. They can be challenging to our faith. They can cause us to even question our ability to hear God. But like all things with God, He is steadfast. Dependable. Reliable. What looked like a misread to us was simply an opportunity for God to show us the real door behind the door.

Here is what we have discovered about grappling with disappointing seasons in our lives:

  1. We all can easily misjudge God with our own misunderstanding. One of the worst things you can do in seasons of disappointment is to decide what God thinks about that disappointment.  For most of us, we conclude that God must be absent or aloof from our suffering.  The initial human response is to feel abandoned and that nothing is happening to take that suffering away.  When an expected promotion gets passed over to someone else or a spouse suddenly decides to walk out the door, these kinds of massive disappointments can lead us to misjudgments of God’s presence.  This is a fallacy and it could not be further from the truth.  God is Omnipresent- it is impossible for Him not to be in the middle of our situations! He is always working even when we do not sense Him.  Do not misjudge God’s heart based on your broken one. His ways are not your ways. His plans are always working in your favor. His movement can occur without you realizing it- and eventually, that movement becomes known action.  Stay the course and find God in the midst of your pain.  Ask Him what He is thinking through your disappointment.
  2. We can easily shut down to new opportunities.  Have you ever heard the old adage, “Burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me?”  I am not sure the origin of this saying but it accurately describes most of us when we have faced repetitive disappointment.  Eventually, we shut down trying to numb ourselves from the pain that disappointment brings. We can automatically shut down any new ideas or thoughts and become paralyzed in our present state as a safety mechanism to prevent further disappointments. The way to combat this idea is to encourage fresh hope blossoming in your life by bringing redemption to the disappointment.  Find a way to redeem it.  For Jason and I as a couple, this has meant finding a way to give it to God.  At other times, this meant giving something we loved away or helping someone in need, even though we were in need too. You have to process disappointment in light of redemption and renew its purpose in your life. When you redeem your disappointment with acts of kindness, you renew your hope and you ultimately overcome.  You also demonstrate that you can still bring forth good things even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Stay in hope. God doesn’t give you dreams to dangle disappointment over your head. If the dreams are from Him, He will open the right doors. We are living proof of it!