Do Not Enter

 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10 

Insight

The school bus hadn’t even come to a complete stop before I hopped off, darted to my room and closed the door behind me. It was report card day and let’s just say, my scores were far from spectacular. I knew the fate that awaited me once my parents got home – disappointing looks, long lectures and the inevitable grounding.

I wouldn’t be seeing the light of day for a very long time. And, at that moment, I was completely fine resigning myself to a life behind the door. After all, I had a stash of Pop-Tarts and a half-drunk Gatorade to keep me alive. As long as that door was closed, I didn’t have to deal with the embarrassment of my lackluster performance. The barrier the door provided kept me protected from the consequences. I reasoned if I ignored the issue long enough, it’s as if the poor grades had never happened.

To put it simply, I believed the lie that I would be the safest hiding behind closed doors. This line of thinking doesn’t just trip up naïve middle schoolers; many adults utilize it to deal with their mess, dysfunction, shame and sin. We present a picture that distorts reality. Everything we don’t want the world (and God) to see or know, we toss behind closed doors and slap on “DO NOT ENTER” and “OUT OF SERVICE” signs to keep people at bay.

All of our mess we relegate to a life behind closed doors. We attempt to take our secrets to the grave, not realizing that when we do this the grave actually takes residency in our hearts and our relationships.

Living life behind closed doors creates a vicious cycle. The more we keep hidden, the more alone and isolated we feel. And the more alone we feel, the more danger we put ourselves in. We either ignore our problems altogether and enable the issues to only grow more daunting or we attempt to fix everything by relying solely on our own strength. We find it easier to justify our words and actions as well as rationalize giving into temptation.

When we lock the door, we not only cut off our connections with others, we stifle our intimacy with God. He can’t heal what we don’t reveal. This isn’t a comment doubting God’s power and ability. He can redeem anyone’s story. It speaks to the reality that those things we keep hidden we aren’t ready to hand over and experience true change and transformation. 

In the midst of the mess, we think all we want is to disappear. But, what we really desire (and need) is to be found. Maybe it’s time to stop hiding. Maybe it’s time to open the door and let God in.

Reflection

  • What struggles have you hidden behind closed doors?

  • Why do they remain off limits to God, yourself and others? What makes you resistant to be transparent and vulnerable about this struggle? 

Prayer

God, there is far too much of my story I relegate to collecting dust behind closed doors. The reasons for me doing so are many – guilt, shame, fear, and embarrassment. Yet, You didn’t let my mess stop You from knocking and asking to come in. You not only entered my room, You sat down in the middle of my mess so we could deal with the junk together. Thank you for making a way for me to live free. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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