“Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge…“
In life, we are faced with many choices. Though we could rely on emotion or what looks the best “on paper”, it proves more useful to seek Godly wisdom and truth before moving forward. Many times, we pray for open doors, but there are also times when the Lord closes doors. Whether the door is shut for a short time or indefinitely, we should intentionally listen for the Lord’s voice on these matters. It is in recognizing that He has a plan for us and purposefully allowing Him to lead that we will have clarity. We can all reach the point where we can easily recognize when to accept or decline opportunities. Time, prayer, and wisdom are required when facing choices that are not obvious. However, remember, not every good choice is a God choice.
With this in mind, the following signs may be God’s way of telling you He’s shutting a door in your life:
Disagreement with Scripture
If you are pursuing an opportunity that causes you to go against the word of God, this is an obvious sign. Anything that causes you to lie, steal, compromise your integrity, or do anything else we are warned about in Galatians 5:19-22 should be avoided. Truthfully, why would a perfect God lead us into a sinful situation? He wouldn’t do so. Instead, it would be our own selfish ambition, the opinions of others, fear, or our flesh that would encourage us to follow something that we know is not right.
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:17)
Anxiety over the Decision
The Holy Spirit gives us peace. Often, when God is closing a door, but we are unwilling to let it go, it produces a lot of anxiety. We can’t sleep, examine the potential consequences repeatedly, and have a short temper from all the stress. This level of irritation could be your instincts telling you that it is not safe to move forward. Pray for peace and clarity in your decision, and be willing to surrender the opportunity. Your choice to release yourself from the situation could be the key to your peace.
Sometimes we ignore the obvious. We presume the enemy is trying to irritate the situation. Yet, the Lord is sending all the signs that something isn’t quite right. Pay attention to the red flags that tell you it’s time to run.
For example, suppose you are considering taking a new job. At the interview, the boss is an hour late, the money offered is significantly less than your value, and the company has numerous bad reviews online. Certainly, you could continue to “walk through the door” hoping to improve the company’s reputation, or you could freeze the process. This is not giving up, but practicing wisdom.
Many times, we keep pressing forward despite the warnings. We fear that there won’t be a better opportunity, so we settle. When we feel like this, we need to remember that God desires good things for His children. It’s not His desire that we walk through life in misery and frustration. Rather than compromising and ignoring the signs, seek the Lord. His plan will always supersede our expectation.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Although finances can be a superficial reason for a door to close, it is an honest one. God can certainly bring financial provision in any way He chooses. However, there are also times that the strain of low funding becomes a clear sign that the Lord wants us to do something new.
Remember, we are called to be lenders not borrowers, above and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:12-13). That doesn’t mean we’ll never experience financial hardship. But if our business has tanked and there is more debt than profit, or our new job opportunity pays far less than what’s needed to handle our expenses, the Lord may want to close the door.
Years ago, as a mother with four small children, I saw this first hand. Though I desired to work outside the home, it would have cost me thousands of dollars in childcare monthly to do so. I calculated that the cost of gas and childcare deducted from the pay of the job would only leave me with several hundred dollars. The money was not sufficient for the sacrifices that would need to be made. Although we shouldn’t rely on the financial aspect alone, it can be one way to determine if God is closing a door.
No Room for Growth
Some doors may close when you are already in the building. In other words, there are times you are fully involved in an organization or situation and the Lord is leading you to remove yourself. Many times, this happens because you have matured or are in a new stage of life.
For instance, if you were a part of a community for singles and are now a newlywed, your life stage requires you to move forward. Or perhaps you are in a small group for new believers and have matured spiritually. It may be time for the Lord to lead you into a transition.
As we grow and move to different stages of our lives, we must be at peace with getting out of the way and allowing someone else to “take our seat.” In doing so, we can be properly positioned for what God wants to do with us. Crowds that we fit into years before may no longer suit us. Rather than holding on for dear life, give yourself permission to leave the building.
If you have to force your way through the door, it may not be for you. We can want something so badly we are willing to break rules, nag those in charge, and find loopholes to make it happen. Although there is definitely a biblical principle of being persistent (Matthew 7:7), we should do so with wisdom. Sometimes the Lord is saying “no” because He has something better for us. Rather than force something outside of God’s will, allow Him to lead the way.
A Better Opportunity
One possible way to know the Lord is closing a door is if a better one opens up. This is especially true if you have been praying and seeking the Lord in a specific area. Sometimes the Lord is answering our prayers, but we are too afraid to go for it. We have to remember that the Lord establishes our way when we are focused on Him (Psalm 37:23).
In our current society, we tend to dismiss things that are “too good to be true.” However, as children of a good God, we cannot have this perspective. This is a defeated perspective and insinuates that the Lord can’t deliver great things to us. We should expect the Lord to answer our prayers and not allow doubt or insecurity to cheat us out of our blessing.
In all circumstances, the number one way to know God’s will for you is through communicating with Him. The more you spend time with God, the more effectively you will be able to hear and know His voice. When we tune in to His voice, we will be able to recognize when an opportunity is simply a distraction. Prayer is our reminder that God is in charge and that we submit to his lead. Pray specifically for wisdom, peace, strategy, and clarity before every major change. After all, if you pray, He will listen. Our part is to listen to His response.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)