This post is for my friend Laura and for every woman like her who thinks she may have a spark to kindle.
Sparks start with INSPIRATION.
We tend to think of inspiration as something big. We imagine wide open doors with blinking arrows and bright lights pointing the way. On top of that, we believe that there must be great and measurable outcomes on the other side of the angelic door. We envision new meaningful relationships, exciting career shifts, creative accolades and rewarding adventure. The open door stands for OPPORTUNITY and most of us want it!
For those of us who are excited by the word OPPORTUNITY, we’ve already grabbed a pretty notebook and a fav pen. We have a stack of articles and images ready to inspire and direct. Pinterest boards and notes for a business plan are front and center. Inquisitive, hopeful thoughts fill our mind – – Where are we going Lord? What will we do? How will you use this door for your glory?
On the other hand, not all of us jump into OPPORTUNITY so quickly, or maybe not at all. Some of us ponder the word and believe OPPORTUNITY isn’t a good fit for one reason or another. You may be saying to yourself one or more of the following:
- I’m a helper, not a starter.
- I’m supporter, not a leader.
- I suffer from a chronic illness that limits me.
- I contend with mental health issues and feel unqualified.
- I’m scared of new things and I really don’t like change.
Perhaps you are thinking you were made for the simple and small, and you connect well with verses like 1 Thessalonians 4:11.
Make it your goal to live a quiet life working with your hands.1 Thessalonians 4:11
Dear friends, the Lord has all of us in His mighty hands. He created you to be INSPIRED so that each of us can do the work of His hands.
For we are his workmanship, created in Jesus Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
Time to Redefine
I’d like to redefine our utopian ideal when it comes to Doors of Opportunity. Whether we are paying attention or not, God directs His light toward small enchanted doors every single day. The tiniest doors associated with the smallest next steps are potentially the start of something beautifully new in our lives. If we are open to the small clues that we intersect with every day, we can follow God’s lead into something new.
What does a door of opportunity look like?
A Door of Opportunity gives you reason to pause. Even if it’s for seconds, you feel the pause. Let me give you my best, somewhat recent personal example.
During the early days of the global pandemic when we were on actual lockdown, I was particularly drawn to soul care. I started reading Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve by Ken Shigematsu. A few other books (see below) had preceded The Survival Guide. The arrows were pointing me in a direction, giving me small clues upon the way.
Because of the unique global slowdown, I was able to read in the morning and after I finished my law firm work. I was able to walk outdoors mid-morning most days and listen to a podcast. I spent time with my kids on their “lunch”. In the evenings, I watched TV with my daughter from a spot on the couch where I could also see the moon. I was just able. That schedule could not have existed outside of the unique circumstances of a global pandemic.
The season of digging deep into soul care enabled me to develop a morning routine that would fit my life as we exited the season of slow. I started to keep track of things like hydration, journaling, reading and moving my body. Not all of the things I choose to incorporate into my life worked. I’ve seen some come and stay, and others go.
Here’s the Magic that I Could Have Never Seen Coming
Soul care created the groundwork for me to be brave later on when I needed to. After reflecting on my life again in the summer of 2021, I had the wherewithal to resign from all of the commitments and activities that previously spoke into my worth somewhat as a counterfeit. Because I was connected to what was best for my soul according to God’s plan for my life, I was able to disconnect from the organizations, events and memberships that previously defined my worth. I no longer felt the fear of scarcity I thought I would experience by letting go of commitments.
That initial season of soul care growth has continued to impact my creativity, my ability to heal and move on from disappointment and enlightenment to other valuable parts of my person.
God Projects His Light on Tiny Doors of Opportunity Every Day.
Think about it.
I read a not too popular book that has exactly 119 reviews on Amazon simply because one of my favs, Ann Voskamp, wrote the forward. Every day in my backyard, I faithfully answered all of the journal questions with genuine earnestness. I started to build a life out of what I learned about caring for my soul and not giving a crap about how the world would measure me because of it. A season in time allowed me to live in a vast space of soul care.
The book sparked inspiration in me. The Survival Guide was an itty bitty door without any flashing arrows or heavenly light shining out of it. I let the Lord show me that this was a good door and it was time to walk through it.
What is NOT a Door of Opportunity?
You may be thinking that my example is limited to special circumstances and there are far more pressing matters than soul care in your life. I know and that may be true. For that reason, I am going to now tell you what a door is NOT.
As I said, Doors of Opportunity present themselves to us every single day. Some doors are particularly exciting and even come with invitations from people or organizations that we value or admire. These are the toughest types of doors to judge. Even so, here is a reasonably simple way to know when to shut the door without too much thought or effort.
- If the door causes you to feel pressure in your heart, mind or body, this door is not for you.
- If you feel you are being pushed through a door, it’s time to dig your boots into the dirt and take an about-face.
- If you feel or know that the door resonates with a part of your heart that will be led off your God given course, run like Joseph, even if you’re left standing naked.
- If the door makes you feel exhausted just by the looks of it, keep walking.
- If the people or organizations standing just inside the door have a history of draining you or others you know, gracefully decline the opportunity.
- If the door will demand time you don’t currently have, you must not say yes to this door.
- If the door causes you to renumber or reconsider priorities that God has already ordered in your life, you must say no to this door.
Let’s Circle Back to the Good Door of Opportunity
Here are a few more examples of how to peg the good door.
You’re looking out a window in dim morning light. You see the wind blowing through arms of leaves of trees. You’re reminded that God’s there with you. What does He say to you in that moment? That’s a door.
You receive a text asking if you’ll give your opinion on a difficult topic or decision. Sharing your wisdom and experience on that topic feels natural and right. That’s a door.
You are driving on a sunny day during your lunch break. An idea comes to mind that you know didn’t originate from your own thinking. You feel the stream of the idea so strongly that you write it down on scrap paper to read later when you have more time. That’s a door.
My Friend Laura
When my friend Laura mentioned that she liked the title How to Start Something New, my thoughts brought me to Doors of Opportunity. Walking though a door is the first step to starting something. The next best step is to continue the exploration. Here are some ideas.
How to Explore
- Research – Online digging, read books and articles and watch videos
- Community – Share your new door of opportunity with two to three trusted friends. Get feedback and encouragement. Brainstorm together so you can formulate your next best step.
- Events – Figure out what organizations or businesses are doing your “new door” well. Attend events and get involved.
- Training/Classes – Sign up for in person or online classes to help you tune into the skills you will need.
- Carve Out Time – Give your door of opportunity at least one hour a week of set aside quiet time.
- Hire a Coach – When I first decided I wanted to help women find their calling (the topic of a class I used to teach), I hired a coach to help me get clarity and create a plan.
Dear Laura and the Rest of You Fabulous Ladies,
I hope this post has helped you know when to walk through a door of opportunity. My desire is to remind you that you were created for good works that God planned before the beginning of time. Stay away from outwardly attractive doors that are not meant for you. Lean into doors that arise in the smallest, most quiet of ways. The doors that are gently whispering to you are likely the real deal.