The Open and Closed Door Myth

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For I know that when our faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow….”  James 1:2-4 NLT

For many years I operated under that assumption that when I was “walking in God’s will,” and things would go smoothly that “doors would open”.  I discovered that God can use “closed doors” to also get me to the right place.  As a matter of fact, those “closed doors” shouted much louder to me than “open doors.”

As I shared this past weekend, I felt my business career seemed to be a big open door. I was proceeding under the assumption that God was going to use me in the business world to honor Him.  I had great success in that area.  I was advancing and, at a time, when very few women achieved the level of Vice President, I was being groomed for that position.  We had moved to Seattle for a job opportunity for my husband, Rich and I was able to transfer to the Bellevue Office. 

About 2 years after working in the Seattle office and getting rave reviews, my boss, the Vice President of the NW Region, decided to move back to his home state of Alabama.  I felt I was ready and he felt the same.  As a matter of fact, he recommended me for the position.  In my mind, it was a “done deal” and I was preparing myself for the new task at hand.

Shortly, I received a call from the Western Regional VP informing me that the decision had been made and they decided to hire a new young guy who lived in Texas.  He had no experience with our products and services (or with marketing for that matter) and he hoped I would be available to help train the guy.  As a mature business woman, I thanked him for the call, told him I was disappointed and would have to think about the training thing.  I hung up the phone; went into the bathroom and bawled my eyes out–and then I called my “mommy.”

After much prayer and talking to people of wisdom in my life (Pastor Tim for one), I decided not to stick around to train the new guy.  I gave up my career with that company and quit my job (Something I most often advise people not to do, by the way).  That was an event that was a changing point in my life, and through a series of events it brought me to my new career as God’s sales and marketing person at Washington Cathedral.  Which is where, I know now, God was getting me ready for and pointing me to become.

I only know this as I look back at the series of events in my life.  I had no idea at the time, instead I had to claim in faith the words God gives us in James “when trouble comes your way, consider an opportunity for great joy.”  I have come to believe with all my heart in soul the words of Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understand, acknowledge Him in all you do, and he will guide your path.”  It doesn’t really matter whether the door is open or closed, when you are walking with your Lord he will guide you through, around or turn you the other way.

May you find His joy even in the face of troubles.

Pastor Linda Skinner

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