Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
Find more info. about Jennifer at youareMygirls.com.
She prays for clarity about God's plan, His will. She won't go forward in her decision making, she says, until He makes it perfectly clear. The popular prayer is that God open or close a door. But I wonder if that is how God works. Yes, sometimes He shuts the door completely, so there is no way for us to go through. But more often, I think, He allows us to be the decision maker regarding whether we reach out our hands around that handle and open or shut the door to where He is. He is with us, on one side of the door or the other. But I wonder if we see where He is if we are too focused on the door itself, and not where Jesus is, with us, right now, and where He invites us to go with Him.
Change is hard. Moving through a door takes risk. Staying in one place, not going through a door we want to go through, waiting with Jesus on one side of the door and not going through, is hard, too. I've never prayed for a closed or open door. I don't pray for clarity much. Maybe I should do that more. My prayer, more often, is that I see where Jesus is, I see where I am in relation to Him, I see His face and the shape of His hands and what He sees and who He calls me to love. I care about doors less, I guess, than holding Jesus' hand and being on the same side of the door as He is. A door is an opportunity, a yes or a no, an invitation to listen, no matter what side of the door you are on.
Maybe, as we pray for wisdom and guidance in our decision making, the choices we make about how to live our life, we do so by studying and waiting and then going. Going forward. Going forward and saying thank you for what He has given. Going forward and seeing who He has already created you to be, what you love, who He has put before you to love--and if that door will enable you to love these people in a way that allows you to lean on God with everything you are, surrendering your desires for His desires for you.
I wonder if going through a door with Jesus is heading into that wide, open space where there are no doors--a gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) but always exciting and life-filling invitation to joy. What if we stop looking at doors so much except only as what might be the personal barriers we create for greater intimacy and life with Christ. A door is the worst door ever if it is one closed to Christ and His knocking.
A door is good for hearing Jesus knocking on the other side and for realizing, if we are hearing Jesus knocking, we are on the wrong side of the door. In that case, we better get that thing swung upon, pulled up, off its hinges as fast as we can. It's no good being on the wrong side of the door, Jesus on one side and us on the other.
Let's stop praying the safe prayer for clarity and go and do something. Pray to hear His voice, pray to hold His hand, pray to walk more closely, pray to move completely in His step. Pray for boldness and our strength in Him. Pray for faith to take risks, not knowing what in the world is around the next bend but it's okay because we aren't stuck behind the door. We are through it, moving way past it, and Jesus is right there with us, and we can feel His breath steady and sure, even with the path getting bumpy and the steps uneven and long.
Go forward and pray. Wait on Jesus and pray. Look where He is and trust, if you can't see Him, and you don't know where He is, He is behind the door you haven't yet opened. Or He is so close you can't separate Him from yourself and you need to quiet down a bit and stop freaking out and listen more intently to His heartbeat, in sync with yours.
I'm not sure how Jesus feels about doors, but I know that when He talks about them in the scriptures, He is talking about being on one side of the door and wondering why we are on the other side. He isn't going to barge in, and that's one of the things we like best about Him. But He is capable of coming on in, if we want Him to. And I don't think we want to live the life being all polite and and passive all the time. Maybe praying for clarity is fine; looking to Jesus for our decisions is definitely the way to go. But let's not pray the polite, do-nothing prayer for clarity if we have no intention of going through the door Jesus has open for us, all along.
Want to hear some more on the topic of waiting. . . and trusting . . . faith? Try these words, with scripture:
Are you looking at a door right now? Where is Jesus? What move is He asking you to make? I love gathering here, with you, seeking His face, listening for His voice together, friends.