Have I mentioned that I'm a telephonophobic? I'm not sure that's the scientific name for my particular phobia, but, trust me, it's real. I don't like talking on the phone.
If you call me, I'll answer. That is, I'll answer if I can find the phone. You know how it is with these cordless telephones we have now.
And my mama taught me how to carry on a civil, polite and amiable phone conversation. So you don't need to fear that my fears are getting the better of me as we carry on our business. I can handle a telephone call. Truly I can. Don't worry about me if you need to phone me.
But I don't like making calls. I don't like picking up the phone and interrupting someone's day...even if their day consists of sitting at a desk and waiting for calls like mine in order to schedule appointments, answer questions, or provide information.
I suppose I fear the part of the conversation I can't see: the body language, the facial expressions, the attitude, the preoccupation with something else while we're talking. What if you can't place me, don't remember who I am? Or what if you are truly busy with other things? Or what if my questions, my requests, my needs don't make any sense to you and we both find ourselves at a loss for words?
Ugh! I hate placing phone calls.
Almost as much as I hate knocking on doors.
Change of venue. I'm not referring to real, physical doors on houses. I'm talking about those doors we all have to knock on occasionally if we are contemplating going somewhere new in life, somewhere we haven't been, and maybe even somewhere we don't know where is!
Recently I've found myself at one of those junctures where I think God is pointing in some new directions. In fact, on one particular path--the path where my daughter is graduating from high school and venturing off to a college I've got to send money to periodically--I know He's directing me down a new road. And out before me on those new paths are multiple decisions that need to be made.
But I stand on these new paths wondering which doors I'm supposed to walk through and which ones I am supposed to stay away from. While sometimes I believe God swings new doors open and beckons us to walk through them with a fresh "welcome" mat and a blazing porch light, other times I find that we have to knock and see if the door will open to us.
And knocking on doors can be a little risky.
Once again, sometimes the door we approach swings open and we hear the music playing within the walls and the aroma of fresh baked goodness wafting out to greet us. We walk in confidently, knowing we are welcome here.
Other times, the door barely cracks open and we have to peek inside, looking for the light or a voice or at least an indication of safety. And sometimes, through that small opening we glimpse the light of hope and anticipate a warm welcome only to have the door shut in our faces before we can even take a step inside. If we're smart, we see these closed doors as divine intervention and protection, and we take a grateful step back. But the closing of the door, the lost opportunity, still smarts. It hurts our feelings, makes us feel we may have wasted precious time knocking at the wrong place, leaves us wondering where we went wrong, and teases us with what ifs.
Yes, knocking on doors is definitely risky.
Knocking on doors requires patience, perseverance, proper perspective, and more patience.
James 1:2-4 says, "...when you encounter various trials, know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
I know we usually apply this scripture a little differently, but today it reminds me that there are times in life when patience and faith are not demonstrated by sitting still and doing nothing, but by knocking on multiple doors until the right one opens. Faith walks away from the closed doors, trusting that something better lies behind another one. Patience keeps on knocking on doors, even when one is exhausted from the rejection of closed door after closed door. And endurance turns away from the closed door and humbly walks toward the next one, trusting that God will eventually open one.
And if we're having a hard time delineating between the doors we should knock on and the ones we should steer clear of all together, the next verse in James one sheds a little light on that quandary.
James 1:5 says, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
If God is leading you to knock on some new doors today in order to discover your next assignment, take courage. He is a good God. He is not playing some sick and risky form of Let's Make a Deal with you, where you risk ending up with a donkey or a gaggle of geese instead of a bright future. He may take you on a journey before you finally get to the place of blessing, but He will be walking with you, granting you wisdom so you will know which doors to knock on and which ones to leave alone.
Have you been knocking on doors lately? I'd love to know.