Dealing With Fear: Walking Through Marked Doors

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My friend, Beth Vogt, talks about the things that happened in her life when she opened the door marked, “Never.”

I’ve been thinking about that idea of doors in my life. Which doors I’ve opened. Which ones I’ve kept closed and locked up tight.

The fact is, when there is a closed door, two things must happen. First I must choose to deal with the fear what may (or may not) be on the other side. Second, I have to be open to change.

ImageEvery door I’ve walked through in my forty-something years on this earth has led to a change of some sort.

Why do I choose not to open certain doors? Sometimes, I’m afraid of what I’ll find on the other side. Will it hurt me? Does a painful memory lurk just beyond the door? One I’d rather forget? Sometimes, those doors are best left locked. With the key forever lost.

Image Sometimes, though, fear keeps me from curling my hand around the knob, unlatching it and pushing the door open. One door I kept closed for decades was marked, “You could never.”

“You could never sing a solo.”

“You could never work at a church.”

“You could never write a book and get it published. Especially not fiction.”

“You could never blog.”

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For years, I believed these lies. Nourished them with the words I spoke.

But God wouldn’t let me forget some of these things. He piqued my curiosity, so that I had to open that door and peek in from time to time. The first time I was brave enough to audition for a worship team? I was accepted.

When I was offered a job helping in women’s ministry at our church? Color me shocked! I almost said no. But one question burned in my mind. If I was to look back on this opportunity in five years, would I regret saying no?

And the answer was, Yes. I would regret not trying it, seeing what God had to teach me in that season of my life.

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Since I was fourteen, I thought it would be cool to write a book. “But I could never come up with characters, setting and a plot. I’m not that good.” So I left that door closed. I celebrated a couple of friends as they embarked on their writing journeys. A secret part of me wished I could walk through that door  too.

But I could never…..

A few years ago, Hubby and I attended in a couples retreat. As we listened to one couple’s story, the name of a heroine and the mode to take the story from beginning to end popped into my head. My heart raced! Did I dare open that door marked, “You could never”?

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Long story short, I peeked inside, took a step into that room lit with a flicker of candlelight and wrote my first book.

One thing I’ve learned about this door, “You could never,” is that I must not shut it again. Certainly not lock it.

Because this is one door I am choosing not to be afraid of anymore. I never know the dreams God has hidden just on the other side.

What about you? What doors in your life you’re glad you opened? Are there doors in your life that fear is holding you back from opening? Care to share what it is?

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18 thoughts on “Dealing With Fear: Walking Through Marked Doors

  1. I’m lucky – there is nothing I can’t do.

    I got that obnoxious self-confidence many years ago, when I realized that I could place a bullet on a stationary or running target from over a klick . It seemed like magic to me – and suddenly I was the magician!

    There is a door I kind of regret having opened, and that is the one marked “childhood”/ Mine was bad enough for my (very experienced) therapist to call it the worst she’d ever heard.

    Walking those roads again, even for catharsis and excision, was horrible, and the process changed me. I knew myself better, and wanted, as a result, to crawl into a hole.

    Time passed, and it healed nothing. But the point is that time passed, and life went on. The changed me was damaged by the door he’d opened, but he made choices subsequent to that which were not mistakes.

    So…glad I opened it. If I could go back and take the choice again, I’d follow the same path. I’ll accept the damage – which is unredeemed in its specifics – in exchange for the good.

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    • Andrew, thank you for your transparency. I am sorry you had to relive such a horrible time, but I’m glad your therapist was wise enough to make different choices in helping you work through all of that.

      It sounds like your confidence is now tempered, influenced by wisdom, which is a good combination. Confidence is a gift, I think. 🙂 It comes much more easily to some than to others.

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  2. Ah, Jeanne … those doors marked “Never” have hidden some of God’s greatest blessings.
    And yes, I agree with Andrew. There are some doors that I believe are best left closed … sealed because the pain was enough once.

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    • You’re right, Beth. Some doors do need to remain closed, locked, and sealed up for good. Throw the key away.

      I’m glad you’ve also found some of God’s greatest blessings behind those doors marked Never. Courage to walk through some of those doors leads to wonderful changes, yes?

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  3. I’m so glad God opened those doors for you, Jeanne! Glad to have you in the writer community, gal.

    And I don’t balk at doors…I tend to try to make doors where there are none and keep charging ahead. Sometimes God slows me down and I have no idea why (waiting for a publisher to pick me up). Then sometimes He shocks me by pushing me to another door I didn’t think I was ready for (self-publishing). One thing I’ve learned–I need to wait till I have the go-ahead from Him, even though waiting stinks. Then He’ll give me all the strength and courage I need to open that RIGHT door. Great thoughts today!

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    • I love your take-charge attitude, Heather! I sometimes wish I was more that way. 🙂 And yes, I completely agree—waiting for God to lead me to the doors He wants me to cross through, and trusting He’ll give me all I need to walk through them makes it easier to turn knob and begin the journey. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  4. Beth got me thinking about that, too Jeanne. Doors marked never have shut out some of the most amazing opportunities. I’m so glad I’m learning to walk through them. Thank you for a GREAT post!

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  5. I am SO glad you opened the blogging door!

    Hmmm, what doors..well, I opened the writing door and I am so thankful I did. I always felt like the clock of my life kept ticking at 11, but never hit high noon. And it was never going to go around again until I opened that door of “I’ve always wanted to…but can I?”

    I’m looking back through that door and smiling, because one door opened has become a life changed.

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    • I love your last line, Jennifer. “One door opened has become a life changed.” It seems like whenever we open a door, especially one that we’ve feared, change happens. Often times it’s good change. I’m glad you’ve joined the writing journey. I’m loving getting to know you better. 🙂

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  6. Sometimes I leave doors closed because I feel like things are fine. Our family is great! We don’t need change! Our jobs are ok! Why risk something new? Sometimes opening the door opens up messiness that I don’t think I want. But, usually it also leads to adventures and new perspectives that are beyond imagination. Thanks for this – I’m going to start looking for some new doors. 🙂

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    • You’re right, Annie. I like what you shared. Sometimes opening up those doors leads to a mess on the other side. But, if we can work through it, we find adventures and new perspectives. I need those reminders too. 🙂 To look beyond the mess. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Jeanne- This is such a beautifully written take on how Satan likes to convince us that we have boundaries where there are none and that we have control where we don’t. I’m so glad you pushed past his lies and opened the door! I’m so glad I stopped by to read this…VERY encouraging and thought-provoking. Now, I’m gonna go think about what doors I’ve been avoiding…
    Thanks for sharing your gift here. 🙂

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