Originally published Friday, 16 September 2011.
How do you overcome discouragement when you run into one dead end after another?
If you've ever house sat or been volunteered to water your friend's plants or feed her cat while she was away on vacation, you know how important the keys are.
After you've pawed under the mat or turned over the flower pot and come up empty, you figure she forgot to put the key out. The thought of shriveled ferns and a dried out feline drives you to hit the panic button.
You dial your friend's number.
After exchanging a few pleasantries, you confess you can't to find the keys.
You're so sorry, but could the keys be somewhere else?
O, yeah. Your friend chuckles. I forgot. The keys are hanging on a nail. Behind the downspout. Near the back door.
Does this scene sound familiar?
I'm not simply talking about the keys to a house.
I'm talking about the keys to God's plans for you.
You've prayed, read your Bible, and done everything you could possibly think of -- to the best of your strengths and even to the detriment of your weaknesses.
But, the keys to your questions can't seem to be found --
-- that opportunity you've been knocking down doors to open
-- that breakthrough you've been waiting for, hanging by a thread
-- that big problem you've been trying to solve, failure instead of success.
What can you do?
Shock and Loss
I was processing a stack of mail when I pulled it out. It was an official looking envelope from the State of California. It's the kind of letter you open right away.
Reminder: Your business state taxes are due by the end of the month.
I started a business and became a statistic.
In less than two years, I closed up shop and liquidated all inventory.
It was a shock to me and our bank account because it was the last thing I expected.
I crunched the numbers and accepted the risk. I became a entrepreneur because I believed God was in it 100 percent.
My needs were real. I was a new mom who needed a job with flexible hours and a greater desire to stay home with baby.
My priorities were godly. Motherhood and family. Slam dunk, right?
My prayers were answered. I prayed and sought God's guidance for a year, as I did the market research, built a business plan, and prototype. At every intersection along the process, I saw God confirm prayers.
My due diligence. I sought wise counsel and applied my expertise from a career of releasing products for high tech corporations.
Business opened and sales looked promising. I was hopefully optimistic.
Then, the market crashed.
Never Would Have Guessed
Why would He lead me down a path that He knew would not only be fruitless, but a loss?
The answers to this question merits a book, which I'd love to write one day.
But, I'm telling you this story because I sit here in the red years later, with a business closed and the door to a lifelong passion opened: my writing.
To market my product, I created a company blog.
I have always longed to pursue writing. But it passed me by like the midnight train to Georgia.
I faced one dead end after another. I gave up hope and resigned my writing life to an underground pursuit behind closed doors and a motley crew of notebooks.
Then, my business died, along with the company blog.
But, I didn't want to stop writing.
If I blogged for a product, why can't I blog for purpose?
What if I wrote about all this stuff in my journals and published it online?
Would anybody read it?
I would've never guessed in a thousand years I'd be here to blog with you today.
My disbelief didn't change God's plans for me.
Yours won't change His plans for you either.
The Doors We Cannot Open
Do you have a plan for your life that hasn't gone the way you expected?
Are you confused to why God's led you down one path and not another?
We can try to engineer the perfect solution, with sincerity and by faith.
But there are some doors that we cannot open.
Six Keys To Overcome Dead Ends and Discouragement
If you find yourself discouraged, remember the 6 Keys To Overcome Dead Ends and Discouragement:
1. God has the keys to your life and purpose.
2. God hasn't forgotten to tell you where they are and you aren't left out in the cold.
3. In His time and wisdom, God will open the doors of opportunity for you. No matter what.
4. No hardship or personal failure can keep that door from opening. No matter how late you think it is.
5. Stay faithful in unchanging situations, while God aligns the needed sequence of events with your heart.
6. If it is time to make changes, set them in motion.
Nothing is wasted. Everything done by faith that is unseen is visible and useful to God.
It may seem door after door is shutting closed in front of you, but God has his hand on the special ones reserved. Just for you.
At the right time, you will walk through them, with a smile on your face and amazement in your eyes.
"These are the words of him who is holy and true,
who holds the key of David.
What he opens no one can shut, and
what he shuts no one can open."
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By Bonnie Gray, the FaithBarista serving up shots of faith for everyday life.
Join Bonnie at http://www.FaithBarista.com, on Facebook or Twitter.
Bonnie Gray is an inspiring Christian writer and blogger, offering encouragement to keep faith fresh in the daily grind. Her writing springs from the belief that the beauty of faith often takes place when life goes off script. Bonnie is the Founder of FaithBarista.com and featured writer for Hallmark subsidiary DaySpring's (in)Courage. Bonnie is a native Californian living in the heart of Silicon Valley with her best friend Hubby, wrangling their two heaven-sent boys on the homestead.