Closed doors

I used to have more of a temper than I do today.

In seventh grade I remember getting furiously angry with my friends over the most trivial things, then holding it over their heads in a sort of demeaning way. I probably wanted to prove something; that I was superior? “Cooler?” Better than them in some way? I don’t remember what kinds of things would set my anger off, but I do remember ignoring whoever was in the path of my wrath until they gave me groveling apologies.

Then I would pick fights with my high school boyfriend. He would make stupid remarks about books I read, ideas I had, anything to get a laugh but instead I would get offended. He would jokingly tease, I would storm away, he would let me cool down, which I interpreted as he doesn’t care, I would often times be the one groveling this time.

After watching my father lose a job in ministry, I claimed to want no part with Christians who were hypocritical, judgmental, legalistic, the list goes on and on of those who I had been hurt by and therefore wanted to abolish from my life. Also, whenever I hear “Senior year” there immediately triggers a shudder in my heart when I recall to mind the gripping pressure of “you can never measure up” in the midst of gracelessness and condemnation from a Christian institution.

By Grace I have since left all of these times in the past; they’ve been forgiven and restored. But not without closed doors that cause me to turn to another one instead. Closed doors on a continued relationship with the high school boyfriend- one of the hardest. Closed doors on my father’s ministry- leaving me bitter. Closed doors on the senior year everyone expects, on a Cross Country award I deserved that was given to someone else, on fair treatment in the headmaster’s office and with dress code policy; am I being vague? Whenever I think I deserve something and it’s not given to me in the timing and manner that I choose, my temper flares. So I have had to learn by all these closed doors that His Hand is covering me, always. That His plans far exceed what’s behind the doors that I think I ought to walk through.

What I’m trying to get at is that door I think I should be approaching, opening, walking through. I know exactly what door it is, what’s behind it. I don’t quite know the reason, but this door is closed. So I am stomping my foot, banging on its cedar with my fists and whimpering for what’s behind it to be delivered to me now. And I always ask “WHY?!” and I always beg when I get desperate, and I always try to fiddle with the lock until I have schemed a way to somehow get inside.

Still, the door remains closed.

The circumstances don’t play out how I always imagined them, with a handsome tall Christian boyfriend who wears his baseball cap backwards and can accompany me on guitar. And so I wait, and I pray, and I “work on myself” in a vain attempt to approach the door- perfect and dolled up and READY. Oh, how ready I think I am. And sometimes I just stand there.

And once I’ve stopped furiously clenching the doorknob, desperately knocking, then I calm down and hear the Maker. The Maker of the door itself. The Maker of me. I hear Him saying, “Don’t you believe that I can do more than you can even ask or imagine? Calm down, baby girl. Right next door is something greater…” …So instead of wishing for a handsome someone who can pour into me, I’ve been asked to approach another door where I get to pour into them. The people I get to do life with, the girls I get to live with, the friends I get to love on.

Like I said, my temper has significantly cooled since my seventh grade trifling fights and boyfriend arguments. Grace has reconciled the past in the places I felt robbed, and I have learned that getting kicked out of the doors I thought I belonged in is actually ok. Yet every so often I glance over my shoulder at that other door, longing for other things I am asking for and imagining.

And then I realize… I’ve already got them.

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{Ephesians 3: 20-21} “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

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