Do You Regret Closing an Open Door?
That one door of opportunity that brought chills of excitement and meaning to your life. A feeling that God had handed you exactly what you wanted, and the door was wide open. All the signs were there, but fear of the unknown got the best of you. Or maybe it was advice from a friend or family member who didn’t share your enthusiasm and their negative reaction was enough to keep you from taking a chance. Whatever the reason…the pain of closing that door seems to lurk in the back of your mind.
My Open Door
I know this pain all too well. I had been seeking a career change for several years…pleading with God for a new job. It was as if God heard every itty-bitty detail of my prayer request, and then, He tailor made an opportunity for me. Confirmation was everywhere! I am not one to read too much into signs and wonders, but it was unavoidable…I could not deny what was happening. God was answering my prayers.
But the Door Came with Risks
I had a vision of what life might look like on the other side of the door, but also many unknowns…questions I could not answer prior to making the decision. Risk was involved. The “What-If” dialogue began to spin in my head. Fear and doubt grew.
I Cowered Out
To put it as direct as possible…I was a coward. The feet of my faith didn’t equal the voice of my faith. Though I believed wholeheartedly this open door was from God, I lacked faith. Instead of focusing on all God was doing…I began focusing on the unanswered questions and potential problems. For as a Christian, “We walk by faith not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7 and I failed.
“The feet of my faith didn’t equal the voice of my faith.”
Living with the Pain of Regret
Most days I mentally kick myself in the head. The pain of not trusting God and walking through the open door haunts me. How could I have been so faithless? There are moments at church or in my quiet time that tears well up in my eyes and I feel like such a failure. For as a Christian, “We walk by faith not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7
“The pain of regret is greater than the pain of trying and failing.”
Types of Closed Doors
There are many types of closed doors. Maybe it was a job opportunity that you didn’t take or an educational path that seemed too long and hard. It could have been a relationship you didn’t invest in and it faded away. Or a volunteer, ministry or missions door that you just didn’t think there was time for. Maybe it was an opportunity to have a conversation or spend valuable time with family/friends, but work seemed more important and the door closed. Whatever the kind of door…now that it is closed what do you do?
Steps to Overcoming the Regret of Closing an Open Door
The first step is to forgive yourself. Hind sight is 20/20 and it is easy to say, “I should have.” Realize that at the moment you did the best you could. God doesn’t hold it against you…so neither should you.
Forgive the Nay Sayers
The second step is to forgive anyone in your life who encouraged you NOT to walk through the open door. These folks didn’t share your enthusiasm or in your hopes and dreams. Understand they meant well. And, in fact, thought they were imparting wisdom into your life by playing it safe. Forgive them. “Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13
Reopen the Door
Some doors can be reopened. Have the courage to make contact with the person(s) where the door closed. Ask to see if the door can be reopened. It can’t hurt. Proceed with humility and confidence. If it is God’s will then any closed door can be reopened, but you will never know if you don’t ask. “Nothing can stop God’s plan for your life.” Isaiah 14:27
If the door is forever closed…then it is time to move on. The past is gone and nothing can change that. Look for new doors of opportunity. God doesn’t waste anything. He might be building your faith through this situation so that when the next door opens…you run right through it!
“But forget it all- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
Learn and Grow
Take time to reflect and learn from this. God is in the business of character development, and His desire is for your faith to grow. Let this draw you towards Him. Don’t let regret and bitterness take root, rather allow God’s love to overcome your feelings of failure and regret. God always gives His children second chances. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops straight of character, and character develops our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4
The pain of regret is complicated, and its depths vary for each person’s situation. However, God has called us to learn from the past, live in the present and hope for the future. We will never be perfect nor can we expect that we will make perfect decisions all the time.
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Because I am so passionate about this topic I am going to give away a copy of the book from my last book review: All The Places to Go How Will You Know by John Ortberg. Enter by subscribing to the blog before Oct 1, 2017.
Sincerely with Hugs,
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