Stuck On a Doorstep


Sometimes God asks us to say no to what we call good in order to say yes to what He deems great – as mixed-up or extreme as that may seem to the world. But you have to be willing to listen.

It took me all of a week to lock myself out of my new house. As I stood there, realizing the potential gravity of my error, my initial thoughts went something like this:

You sneaky door, you – acting all innocent and opening from the inside even though you were still locked. I knew we weren’t going to get along the moment I met you.

I really wish the person who had my spare key was home. Oh, wait – I guess it doesn’t matter since my phone is locked inside, too.

It’s cold.

I wish I had my mittens on.

I don’t like snow.

It’s cold.

This is the last time I try to be proactive and take the garbage out the night before.

Here’s the thing: I’ve locked myself out of plenty of houses. I’ve crawled through windows, walked to a friend’s, and chatted with neighbors until a roommate came home. But as I stood there ever-so slowly losing the feeling in my hands, I was paralyzed.

My week had been long. On top of moving, family visiting, extended work hours, meetings, and trying to maintain connections with friends – every muscle in my body was sore from a trip or two too many to the gym.

I had no resolve left. My calendar had effectively sucked the willpower right out of me. I usually think of myself as a fairly resourceful, can-do person. But as I stood there glancing back and forth between the falling snow, my locked door, and the warm, beckoning light inside – all I wanted to do was sit down on my step and wait. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to act. I was tired, and at that moment I was willing to just let life happen.

There are weeks I pack my schedule so full of “good” things that I mindlessly float from one activity to the next. I get so bogged down working, helping, building, caring, serving, doing – that busy becomes an idol, an instrument of apathy cleverly guised as zeal. Busy – and the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with it – can be the most deceptive kind of comfortable, because, well, it doesn’t always feel comfortable. But busy can be apathetic; busy can be lukewarm.

And I can’t help but wonder what I miss in the flurry. What if God is calling me to something bigger, something better? What if I’m too busy to notice? What if I’m stuck sitting on the doorstep in the cold – too tired to figure out how to unlock the door to the light and warmth waiting on the other side?

Every time I read through Genesis I’m struck by the profound depth of Abraham’s obedience. He got up and left early the next morning when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. The same is true of Jesus calling His first disciples. Peter, Andrew, James, John: at once they left their nets, immediately they left the boat.

They heard God’s voice and gave up their comfort in an instant. They heard His call and didn’t hesitate to drop it all and leave. Am I allowing myself to hear God’s call, let alone responding to it with that kind of fervor?

If you’ve ever rationalized something away: “God wouldn’t ask me to do that; that seems crazy,” or maybe, “I work hard; I deserve this,” chances are you know what I mean.

But sometimes God asks us to say no to what we call good in order to say yes to what He deems great – as mixed-up or extreme as that may seem to the world. But you have to be willing to listen. And you have to be willing to give up your comfortable, your normal, maybe even your good – in order to obey.

The passionate life He wants for you won’t leave you sitting on the doorstep, too exhausted to enter the light and warmth just beyond the door.

That’s not to say that following God is easy (Abraham thought he was going to kill his son, the disciples left their entire way of life and suffered all kinds of hardships), but it’s always immeasurably better than living a life of comfort only to get left out in the cold.

Just in case you were curious – I didn’t let the desire to sit down win. I ended up finding a way to overcome my newest nemesis. I defeated my front door and have since rethought hiding a spare key nearby!

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