Right now I feel like your average blogger. Fire to my left. Papers and notes to my right. Braids in my hair. I’m just missing some thick-rimmed glasses and a vintage cup of tea to complete the look, but here I am. I have dedicated my week, regardless of the more pressing school assignments I should be doing, to read a book that has inspired me for quite some time. You may be familiar with it: Love Does by Bob Goff. Incase you’ve been living under a rock (or don’t keep up with the New York Times), this book has practically taken the world by storm as Bob’s stories, lessons learned, and lifestyle have captured the minds and hearts of his readers, people like me. I have truly been captured, rather, I’ve surrendered my curiosity and time to this book because it is fantastic. (This is the part where you go Google it and order it from Amazon). I’m not going to spend your time describing this book because I think you should discover it for yourself, but I honestly recommend it to anybody and everybody.
Just as a little taste, here’s a passage that I underlined, circled, and highlighted in my copy: “I once heard somebody say that God had closed a door on an opportunity they had hoped for. But I’ve always wondered if when we want to do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him. Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down.”
When I read those words, I just stopped. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard, and I’m sure you all have as well, “When one door closes another door opens.” I have definitely experienced the opportunities created and the opportunities taken away and I do believe it’s our decision which door to enter, but after reading Bob’s perspective, I couldn’t help but laugh and smile to myself as I sat through a class lecture today.
At a time when I’m faced with the impending decision of future college enrollment, scholarship interviews, and other forms of anxiety awaiting me in the next few months, this is what I needed, and maybe you did too. I’ve had my eyes set on the most expensive school from my college options list. It’s extravagant and pricey and a little far-fetched, but it’s where I can see myself. It’s where I know I’m supposed to be. It’s my dream, but not exactly a realistic one. I wonder now if the door to this university is closed because I’m supposed to learn to knock it down. What if it’s my job to meet God half-way with the transcripts, the grades, the letters of recommendation, and the interview etiquette to say, “This is the most I can do. Take it, make it yours, and make it possible.”
One of my close friends asked me a few weeks ago where I was planning to study, knowing where I truly wanted to be, and I replied “Hopefully HPU”. To that he looked me straight in the face, almost too close for comfort, and said, “If you want that to happen and you know it’s right, expect God to make it happen. Don’t just hope. Just hoping is for the faithless.” I stood there, quite silent, grasping at straws for a clever, perhaps theological response; but I had nothing. I didn’t know what to say. I had always viewed “hoping” as a silent wish I held to myself, waiting for God to validate it or replace it. I had never viewed “hope” as a retreat or a white flag being waved in a war zone. Does hope place a nice shield over expectations, protecting them from rejection or inconvenience? Does hope say “I might as well not even try”?
I see a few things clearly now, after having been confronted by Bob’s Chapter 6 and by my friend. 1) Expectations are more powerful than hope. Anybody can hope, wish, or dream, but it takes real courage and real faith to expect, anticipate and take down a door or two to pursue what God is whispering to each of us. 2) Don’t be afraid to kick down some doors if what you know you’re pursuing is right. 3) Find friends who are willing to tell you the truth and can see your capability better than you can. They’re invaluable. 4) Love does.
“And when each of us looks back at all the turns and folds God has allowed in our lives, I don’t think it looks like a series of folded-over mistakes and do-overs that have shaped our lives. Instead, I think we’ll conclude in the end that maybe we’re all a little like human origami and the more creases we have, the better.” – Bob Goff