“You can stand there all day, but it’s not gonna open.”
My daughter’s words woke me from my busy fog. I looked up from my phone and forced back the thousands of thoughts swirling around me in time to see that I was, indeed, standing on the wrong side of the automatic door at our local grocer. There I was, responding to multiple texts, arms full of groceries, trying to organize the next 12 errands all the while listening to my 7-year-old talk without breath about the holiday decorations in her classroom at school. In my chaos, I must’ve went to the wrong door and had been standing there for who knows how long, waiting for it to open.
I looked at my daughter as the situation began to sink in, and she said the words again. “You can stand there all day, but it’s not gonna open, Mom.”
I could almost hear myself saying to this same phrase to her when she was little and would repeatedly go to the wrong door, seeing if she could “trick it this time”. For the record, she couldn’t. And neither could I.
Yesterday, weeks after this incident occurred, I found myself at the same grocery store and in the same doorway. This time, I had chosen the correct door, but just barely. I was, once again, busy looking at my phone and running from place to place. I caught myself in time to step to the right and go through the correct door. But as I did, those familiar words rang through my mind once more.
You can stand there all day, but it’s not gonna open.
I was perplexed by the feeling that came over me as those words sank into my heart. I had this odd sensation that someone Great was trying to tell me something – that there was a message for me, on the tip of my mind’s tongue, trying to penetrate that thick skull of mine.
I made it to my car and inserted the key, ready to go to the next store on my list. And then, it was as if the weight of all my internal bricks fell and I heard the message loud and clear. I heard what was being said to me.
You can stand there all day, Shivonne, but it’s not gonna open.
One after another, quickly as can be, thoughts flickered through my mind. I saw myself sobbing in the babies’ room – the room where Isaac used to be, playing with us, reading his books, enjoying his toys. You can weep there all day, but that door to joy… it’s not gonna open.
I envisioned myself in the middle of a recent panic attack… my heart pounding and my breathing shallow, rapid. Anxiety made my mind feel light and I remembered that I kept putting off all those doctor appointments I was supposed to make. You can panic there all day, but that door to healing is not gonna open.
Next, I saw my Bigs. I saw them arguing and fighting, lying and sneaking. I felt myself getting angry and bitter in the memory of it all, wanting to run away and live alone just to never have to hear one more bit of untruth, one more tattle, one more scream. You can be the victim there all day, but that door to connections and love is not gonna open.
Finally, I felt all the failures. All the helplessness I’ve been experiencing. Trying to start a business but not having the know-how or the abilities. Trying to help our church grow but all my efforts being in vain. Trying to get ahead financially and having the car break down again. Trying to lose weight but the doctors not being able to find out what’s wrong with my body. Trying to keep my calm with my kids but constantly losing my temper. Trying to make our old home nice while the roof leaks into my living room. Trying to be all things to all people, while simultaneously trying to keep myself from going off the deep end.
Shivonne, my love, you can fail here all day, but that door to freedom isn’t going to open.
Needless to say, by this point, I was the crazy lady sitting in her minivan crying hysterically in the grocery store parking lot. People passed. People stared. People quickly tucked their heads and moved on. And in that moment of release, I didn’t even care. I couldn’t care. There was not enough energy to be found to give one thought to what other’s would possible conclude about me in that second.
Because God was doing something. He was showing me all the doors that were not opening. He was pointing out all the times that I stood at the wrong door and tried to “trick” it into opening with my silly ideas of grief and panic, victimization and failure. To think that if I cried hard enough, the door would open. To imagine that if I told the door all my failures, it would take pity on me and let me pass.
It was nonsense. All of it.
In the book of Revelation it says this in chapter 3:7-8, “What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
There I was, weeping and failing at closed doors, when all this time God’s been like, “Um, yeah… there’s an open door right over there. Look up! Take off those blinders! Cancel some errands and stop expecting closed doors to open!”
The verse even says it… God sees our little strength. Friends, does anyone else out there find themselves in the status of Little Strength right now? Yeah. That could be my Indian name, quite honestly. But God sees that! He sees it and is saying HELLO, WAKE UP!!! He’s challenging us to walk around these closed doors… to MOVE…and to find the doors that He’s already opened for us to walk through.
Sometimes in life, we have to face hard things. We have to let go of things that we hold onto so tightly. We have to stop knocking and setting up camp at the doors of dreams that He hasn’t called us to in the first place. We have to move past the things that look good on the outside because He’s opened a door to something that’s great just around the corner.
We can stand there at those closed doors all day, but they’re not gonna open… because He’s already opened all the doors we need. He’s already made a way. The door is just around the corner. Pick up your tents, roll up those sleeping bags. There is no need to mark time at closed doors any longer. It’s time to Move.