Monday, May 14, 2012

Doors to Nowhere

They are doors to nowhere and they are everywhere. During a recent visit to northern Minnesota I saw them. I grew up in this part of the country and vaguely remember seeing them, but on this recent visit their prevalence caught my attention. They are doors, sometimes front doors, that are installed several feet off the ground. But no stoop (or steps) were ever built to make them functional. They are doors to nowhere.

Clearly, some were planned as an entrance when the house was built sixty or more years ago. Either the builder or homeowner never got around to building the stoop, or, over time they realized they did not want to use the door. Perhaps a side or back door proved more practical. However, I wonder why the door was not then removed. But some appear to be newer construction, giving the appearance that these elevated, unusable doors are actually desirable! Either way, it’s odd to see a door with no way of using it, and this is also potentially dangerous when you think about it.

These doors to nowhere got me thinking. In life we often do this same thing. We go to great lengths expending a lot of time and energy and even dollars to build "doors” to things we think will  “lead somewhere” but they don’t. We hear a pitch on how to get rich on TV or at a seminar and we open our pocket books and adjust our time to go through this ”door.” It rarely leads to the promised outcome. We meet someone and are taken in by their charisma or glitz and immediately begin creating ”doors” to the relationship, often closing other doors in the process. These may be potential friends or lovers, but the impulsive nature of such social decisions can end up leaving us with, at best, superficial and short-lived relationships, and, at worse, dangerous entanglements. In either case important personal resources have been wasted, and often other relationships are diminished or even destroyed. 

When we are tempted to get drawn into constructing these ”doors to nowhere,” there are FOUR  STEPS to take in order to avoid the wasteful and dangerous consequences.

ONE, do not act quickly either in laying out money or time. If a person or concept promises life-changing results for your life, go home and sleep on it ... for at least a week. Often, what seems so convincing and compelling up-close-and-personal fades substantially when given some distance.

TWO,pray and ask trusted friends to pray also. Ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance. Praying yourself at least potentially submits your thinking to the Spirit of God. Asking others to pray holds you accountable to perspectives you desperately need when taken up in the excitement of a new concept or relationship. I wonder how much heartache and brokenness--relational and financial--could be averted if we did this?

THREE, look down the road ten-to-fifteen years and play out ALL the possible scenarios. Be honest and balance what you are hoping to gain with what you know you could or will lose. Be realistic in the face of forceful idealism, especially when it is emotionally rooted.

FOUR, and finally, recommit yourself to make even better use of the “doors” already functioning well in your life. Whether it is a relationship or a job or something else, recommitting your time and energies to it can give new life and greater significance to your doors that are leading somewhere for sure!

There are plenty of times when life slams us with closed doors or tragic circumstances prevent us from completing the entrance to doors we have installed. We cannot avoid these. But by taking these simple steps we can eliminate many doors that lead to nowhere. The great news is that the great God of mercy and grace is able to take our doors to nowhere and transform them.  But that is another blog. Stay tuned!

Can you identify a time when you almost built a door to nowhere but realized it and avoided the consequences? How were you able to do that?

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