Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Doors

“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts” -Prov. 8:34 I just returned from a tremendous conference in Nashville. Nearly 8,000 therapists from all over the world gathered for the week, all organized by the American Association of Christian Counselors. I love going to the conference every year. But when I go, I’m always stirred to compare myself with all the other “professionals.” You’d never know on the outside. But inside I’m measuring and judging and determining how well I “fit in.” Then I realize again that God has opened up every door in my life. It has truly been an amazing ride. But no doubt, along the way, I have walked through doors He did not open. Those doors led to success but not fulfillment. True fulfillment is only found when we walk through the doors that God ordains. Yes, God used me in spite of my motive, but it’s not the best. I come to professional conferences and the doors are numerous. There are so many that I want to open. I want to open them because I think the more doors I open, the more important I become; the more I hustle, the more I succeed; the more I work, the more important I am. But my loving, dear God is the perfect door manager. He manages the doors to perfection. He opens doors, not so we can earn His favor at all. After all, He already loves us completely. But He opens the doors so that we can glorify Him in our work. I know in my spirit when I am correctly walking His way. For when I create a door to open, I compete with all the other door openers. Writing books, speaking engagements, degrees, licenses, credentials- the types and dimensions of the doors go on and on. And I realize again that I am only called to walk through the doors that He opens. I was brought up in a family of achievers. And I love that heritage. My three brothers and I were taught to work hard and make a difference. Our motto was “if your ship does not come in, then swim out to it.” So much to do, so much work, so much sweat, so much to earn. And though I’m proud of our heritage, I realize it comes with a price. If the ship has not come in, then perhaps it’s not my ship at all. Perhaps the purpose of my life is to remain on the shore and fulfill my purpose there. Many of us would rather drown swimming out to the ship than to rest on the shore. Why? Because work is our savior and our peace. We are afraid to rest, slow down and wait. But work is a poor god. Our cup of significance can only be filled by the loving God of the Universe. Work is a great thing, but only if it is what God initiates. If God leads to write a book or get a degree, then most certainly go for it! But don’t do it to earn anything. Do it because He has opened the door. At the conference, I learned again to rest. I’m reminded that every door I have walked through has not been by my own ingenuity or wisdom. They have all been His doors. May we all rest and wait and be willing to only walk through His doors. May we dedicate all we have to the Lord of the doors, small and large. May we rest… …whether the ship comes in or not. By Eric Joseph Staples ©