Hey there.

Do you ever ask yourself if you should shut a door or leave it open? I’m not talking bathroom doors and married couples here. I mean professional, relationship, academic doors. People doors. Situation doors. How do you decide if you should persist in something, give it a break or let it go completely?

Sometimes it’s pretty obvious: the job is sucking you dry, you quit; he cheats, you walk; the program isn’t what you thought it was, you drop out; the apartment becomes a health hazard, you move. But sometimes it’s not so black and white. You want to do the right thing, but don’t know if your decision has been affected by previous experiences, people’s opinions, or even fear. What to do? There’s an issue in my “octave” season that’s turning out to be a difficult choice. We’re told it’s never okay to burn a bridge, but is this true? Here are some of the tough questions I’m going to have to ask myself:

1) Am I tempted to keep the door open because it feels safe? We all know the saying: better the devil you know than the angel you don’t. Sometimes things just begin to feel safe. You have worked at a position for fifteen years – how do you just up and leave? Or maybe a relationship has ended after a proposal. It was your first real relationship and you know no better – are you brave enough to venture out into the scary world of singleness? Sometimes we want to move on, but we try to hold on to what we’re supposed to walk away from “just in case.” Go to the interviews, but keep the job. End the relationship, but remain friends. Quit the course, but take something that sounds similar to appease others. The truth is, in such cases, we might be better off just closing the door.

2) Would leaving the door open hold me back or barricade better possibilities that depend on me shutting this door? This usually applies in relationships, and I want to say it happens with women the most. Sometimes women will hang in there and hang on to the hope that a man will one day return to her, leave his wife for her, whatever the case may be. But when she does this, she actually prevents herself from running into the one guy that just might be right for her. In this situation, keeping the door open would be harmful.

3) Why am I even here? Why is this door issue even an issue in the first place? Something had to happen for the issue of open and closed doors to arise. You feel you deserved that raise or promotion, but didn’t get it, for instance. If the door is left open, what will change? How healthy is it to hesitate at this point where walking out just might be the next step? Will it be back to square one? If it will, then it’s better to close it. If there is the possibility of a genuine fresh start, then perhaps leaving the door open might not be a bad idea.

4) Is there a possibility that closing the door is one way to find out if it should remain open? Is it possible that the other party just might knock on the door to seek admission, or try to use a key to get in, proving that it might be a good idea to leave it open in the first place? Maybe the mean boss will call and ask what he can do to get you to stay, allowing the opportunity for a discussion about the raise or promotion? Maybe the man will knock and wait patiently, proving where his heart really lies? If you have nothing to lose either way, I say close the door.

5) Is this even a door issue? Does it absolutely have to be one way or another? How about just taking things one day at a time? Maybe this is not even a room; maybe it’s an open field or a park with a park bench. In other words, it might be okay to leave the door open, but not stand there waiting and peeking out eagerly. Sorta just living your life with the other person knowing that you have not burnt the bridge, but at the same time not putting things on hold while they decide what they want to do.

6) Is there enough time? This is pretty self-explanatory; the longer I can wait, the easier it is to leave the door open. So a 40-year-old who thinks her eggs are like raisins in the sun might not be as eager to leave a relationship door open as she was when she was a 21-year-old.

7) Is there a mutual feeling among all involved regarding this particular door? If I’m the only one that wants the door open, then maybe I should close it. It’s frustrating to put your life on hold for someone who wouldn’t care either way. I heard a coworker of mine talking about a job where the managers would cut employees’ time and force them to quit if they didn’t like them. “I was working eight hours every two weeks, and it was so ridiculous,” she said. “I think they just wanted me to leave.” She got the sense that they wouldn’t care either way, so she shut the door. There’s also the case of the lady we all know who is still hung up over her ex and refuses to get the message even after he has proposed to and married another woman. Nah, girl. Slam that door shut and get to stepping with your fly self.

8) Do objective people who have my concerns at heart consistently advise me one way or another? Despite how I feel, if everyone is saying, “Pea, you really need to let that go,” or “I think you need to hold on to that a little longer,” then it should count for something. Now, there’s a difference between weighing opinions that count and getting surveys from people who have nothing to do with nothing and don’t know you like that. If my “share-my-socks” peeps give consistent advice and back it up with credible reasoning, then why not take it to heart?

9) Is keeping the door open a major ingredient in my progress? Who’s gaining; who’s losing? If, say, the reason for being in this door situation is a trust issue, then keeping doors open is a major way to rebuild trust. If the company one works for is a major rung in the career ladder, then that means it’s only temporary and it’s okay to keep the door open just as long as it needs to be. If not, then – click –  was that a latch I just heard?

10) Is closing the door a way to manipulate/control/be passive aggressive? A lot of times people feel like they are losing control or want to be vindictive and this appears to be the only way to gain or hang on to some power. To “punish” others for what they have done, one may decide to just close doors and windows and paint the house an unrecognizable color. If that’s the reasoning behind it, then it’s not wise to make a move until emotions have been sorted out and objectivity has been restored. Closing or opening a door in a situation such as this one is an attempt to deal with another person concerning something that is really all about our insecurities and fears. The truth of the matter is we cannot control anyone. We cannot control life. But we can make choices that help make the journey a little smoother.

Close it or open it? It’s your decision, and I think God honors that. But He is available to help. If we ask Him to help us decide, and then to help us close or open a door, the Lord will be more than willing to do it for us. Wisdom is a prayer away. What He shuts, no man can open; what He opens, no man can shut. There are certain situations that are like a dog returning to its own vomit and like a pig to its wallowing in the mire. How do we know for sure if this is a “No U-Turn” situation? We seek God, of course. Life does not have to be too hard, and it is possible to decide.

I think I’ve figured out what I’m going to do – have you? Blessings to you!


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