Open doors cause no end of problems in our household.
If there is a door cracked open anywhere, there will soon be at least one dog trying to nose its way out of it. The irony is that, even when they get out, they rarely go far. They’ll run around the driveway for a bit doing their freedom dance, then they stop and stare back at the house, wondering what’s next. And they usually nose their way right back into the house.
Because this predilection for escape attempts can cause all kinds of havoc when people visit, we’ve been trying to train our dogs to only go out a door once we are out – and we have called them through.
We put the leashes on the dogs and make them sit. Then we open the door and make them stay. Then we stand in the door and make them stay some more. Then we walk out of the door and make them stay until you can almost see them about to explode from the anticipation. Finally, we tell them to come, and mayhem breaks out as they all push their way through the door at the same time.
It’s progress. But it is S L O W progress.
Dogs are naturally curious, so they see an open door as an opportunity for an adventure – something to see, smell, chase, discover.
But sometimes open doors can be an opportunity for danger – fast cars, distracted drivers, noisy trucks, and bad people looking to pick up adventuresome dogs.
So we have been trying to teach them only to go through doors when we stand on the other side.
That’s a lesson God’s been trying to teach me as well. Because life is full of open doors that look to offer exciting adventures – but danger lurks behind many of them. And even if they’re not dangerous, they may present opportunities – for someone else.
But oftentimes, I’m terrible at judging which doors are which.
That’s why I’m thankful God never makes me decide on my own. Just like we stand on one side of the door and invite our dogs to walk through when it’s safe, God does the same for me. If I pray and listen before making decisions, it usually becomes clear which doors are mine to walk through.
Sometimes, though, it feels like I just can’t hear Him. And sometimes I convince myself I’ve heard Him because I’ve already decided which door I want to go through. Sometimes I make mistakes. But I’m thankful that God loves me enough to let me learn the lesson, but always reminds me that He’s waiting for me when I’m done with my freedom dance and I nose my way back into the house.