Beginnings are hard. Especially the beginning of beginnings.
First, there’s the fear that accompanies one door closing.
I’m standing in a dark hallway that stretches farther on either side than my eyes could see. I’m staring at a door; most of my being longs to be inside that room, through that door once more. Sure, my mind knows that with one door closing, another should be opening, but excitement for possibility is not the dominant emotion raging inside me. Instead, fear and remorse are in control, rumbling around in my tummy and deceiving my heart, telling it that something is wrong. This door shouldn’t close. I was so happy inside that door.
It was a good door, why would it close? It’s not fair. I’m not ready.
My arms lurch forward and my fingers grasp the edge of the door, trying to stop this process. It doesn’t slow down; the door keeps closing. Frustrated, I give up and stare at the shadows dancing on the far wall in the room, shadows of what I once had. When I can’t see the wall anymore, I stare at the sliver of light casting a glow over me through the crack in the doorway.
When the door is closed, I stare at the light peeking out from under the door frame, painting the floor of the hallway amber, like firelight. I stare at that last bit until the light fades and the muffled sounds from the room drift into silence. It’s then, alone in the hallway, that I notice my hand on the doorknob, knuckles white from gripping so tightly, unable—no, unwilling—to let go.
Silence engulfs me. I feel angry, defeated, lost, confused.
I hear my name. The Voice sounds eager, passionate; it begs me to follow, promising another door. But I’m frozen in time, unable to follow the Voice. It’s trying to lead me to something, but my hand won’t let go of the door that has closed.
It takes me awhile. Longer than it should have. To let go of the door. But finally I do.
My hand aches and I stretch it out as I follow the Voice, passing door after door. It’s still calling my name, drawing me farther down the dark hallway. I realize, though I am empty, I am not nameless. I am not directionless.
And I’m not alone. The Voice continues to call.
With each step, my pace picks up, my sorrow, though still there, fades behind a new sense of purpose. The shred of excitement tucked away behind the fear begins to grow and a door catches my eye. It’s large and plain, with dark brown wood and a brass handle. It’s scuffed up, worn, but there’s something about it. The Voice gets louder; it’s coming from behind this door. I run toward the door, breathless and hungry. I’m one step away from the handle when my hand begins to throb and I stop.
Uncertainty wraps its claws around my ankles and I remain, suspended, staring at my hand.
Only a foot stands between me and what the Voice has for me, but that last step is always the hardest. I think, this time for sure, I’ll turn back. I’ll walk away from the new door and somehow barge my way through the last, back to what I once had.
Beginnings are hard because they are worth something. They cost something. New doors require the closing of an old one. Yes, our God is a God of miracles, but that doesn’t mean everything He has for us is easy, or even enjoyable (by our standards). Still, we can trust that He is sovereign and in control of the doors.
I started at ORU a few days ago and it’s been harder than I expected. I’m still not completely sure why, since everything is technically great. I’m not even sure what I expected, which is also frustrating. Don’t worry, this makes even less sense to me and I’m the one feeling it. I’ve been praying about this for a few days now, trying to understand why things feel a little off. My incredibly vague conclusion: beginnings are just really freaking hard.
It’s funny how God works, though. How things fall into place and faint understanding comes in waves. Today in Chapel, President Wilson talked about entering a new season. He said the four things you need in order enter a new season are:
- Part with your past.
- Pursue God’s presence.
- Position yourself for His plan.
- Possess the Promise.
I like how they all start with “P.”
I’ve entered a new season but the last one was rough giving up. When doors close, I’m not very good at dealing with my emotions. I let them bottle up and fester until they crash down on me at the most inconvenient of times. Super healthy, right? But if I don’t let go of that doorknob, if I don’t stop dwelling on the throbbing in my hand, on the longing for the past, I can’t enter the new season. I can’t open the new door.
I’m learning how to part with the past, pursue God’s presence, and position myself for His plan, which will go into motion whether I’m ready for it to or not. But I want to be a part of it. I want to be ready for it.
Because God called me to participate with Him. Like, by name He called me.
And that’s quite the humbling thought.
So even though beginnings are hard, I’m thankful for them. Good things are almost always hard. That’s what makes them good.
I’m standing in the hallway, remembering all the times I’ve stood before past doors, unsure of what would happen next. I remember all the times I was wrong about going back, and how each door that has been opened has been better than the last. How each time I’ve grown to love the new door, not because it was easy or enjoyable, but because the Voice called me to it. The Voice is louder than ever, ecstatic and beckoning, drawing me closer. My throbbing hand subsides ever so slightly, the claws of uncertainty loosen around my ankles. I take a deep breath and take a step forward.
I grasp the handle.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.”
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
I Thessalonians 5:18
“…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
1 Peter 1:6-7
“In this you greatly rejoice, though for now a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”