Focus on the Door
Tammy A. Phillips
In 1977 I decided that I needed a new personality because I was unsettled and dissatisfied. I prayed; an ad in a weekly magazine seemed to be my answer. An international organization’s local office was offering guidance in developing a new self. I enthusiastically showed up one afternoon.
A friendly man met me at the door and calmly gave me a tour of the small facility. I remember there were many opened-door rooms filled with chatter. In one of the larger rooms, there were several people hooked up to headsets that were plugged into tape recorders. The guide explained that they were listening to pertinent information that would help them become better human beings. I was intrigued.
As the guide and I were walking up steps, he turned to me and asked, “If your family and friends knew you were here, would they object?” My mouth spoke affirmatively, but my mind was not in agreement. What is going on here that he would ask such a question? Exactly what were those headphone people listening to? My brain clicked off killing my enthusiasm. I thanked my guide for his time and started to look for the exit door.
The door that led to the street was at the end of a long hallway. Both sides of the hall were lined with opened doors. As I approached a door, a person would pop out of the doorway directly in front of me. This annoying act was alternated between both sides of the hallway. Each person’s job was to say something that would prevent me from leaving: “Don’t go”, “You can’t leave”, “You’ll like it here”, and “Give us a chance”. Out of the last door, a big man stepped in front of me, stopping me completely. With my eyes focused on the door, I pushed passed him and moved forward. The soft rain felt good on my face.
The apostle Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, jailed, disrespected and abandoned. But his focus remained on presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Moses was rebuffed repeatedly by Pharaoh. But his focus remained on delivering the Israelites from the evil Egyptian rule. David was a little shepherd boy who was severely chastised by his eldest brother and minimized by the King. But his focus remained on eliminating the intimidating Philistine Goliath. In spite of Paul’s physical pain, Moses’ intense frustration and David’s youth, they stayed focused on their “doors” and their God given assignments were completed.
It is unlikely that I will ever face the intense obstacles that so many in the Bible endured. But, I can choose daily to keep my eyes focused on what the Lord has called me to do regardless of what is “popping out at me”.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.