When Every Door is Closed

When Every Door is Closed

4 Imperatives for Jesus Followers

Have you ever had a season where everything you tried did not work? When things that you were counting on did not materialize? When relationships that had always been there for you, were taken away? Where the responsibility of leadership was painfully real?

Please allow me to speak candidly to you as a fellow follower of Jesus.

In these discouraging times, I continue to learn there are certain imperatives that help us move forward. These imperatives are not part of a system or process for success, but instead provide us direction, peace and even joy when it seems there is no success.

When all else fails, there are four imperatives for Jesus followers:

We remember.

We believe.

We make space.

We are thankful.

  1. We Remember.

When the doors are closed, we must start by remembering Whose we are and who we are.

You might already be thinking, “Really? That’s It?” Yes. The simplicity of knowing Whose you are and who you are changes your life. You live from a different identity and perspective. Your true identity helps you move forward when life is not working out like you planned – when life squeezes you hard.

Read just a few statements from Scripture that will remind you of Whose you are:

  • “I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

  • “You were bought at a price.” (I Corinthians 6:20)

  • “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

  • “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

  • “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

  • The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4)

You belong to God. He is your Father. And because of Jesus, you have a new bloodline. We have been restored back to the Father. Reborn. We have a Father Who loves us so much that He gave up His son to reclaim us for Him, so we could be born in the image and likeness of God – His original design before Adam and Eve sinned. He knows what you need before you do, and He is on your side. Seriously.

God knows what you need before you do, and He is on your side. Seriously.

Once you realize Whose you are, you can come to a better understanding of who you are. Remember these identity-forming truths from Scripture:

  • You are dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)
  • You are chosen. (John 15:9)
  • You are forgiven. (Romans 4:7)
  • You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
  • You are an heir with Jesus. (Romans 8:17)
  • You are a friend of God (John 15:14)

Understanding who you really are will turn your world upside down. Even when the doors close, you don’t have to be offended, hurt, or afraid. You are God-confident; you know Whose you are and who you are in the face of the slammed doors.

  1. We Believe.

The next imperative is far more difficult. You can have the knowledge of Scripture and understand at an intellectual level Whose you are and who you are – but still not believe it. Believing means going beyond memorizing Scriptures to allowing their truths to be settled in your heart. It means that you act differently, even when the doors close.

Believing goes beyond memorizing, allowing Scripture to be settled in your heart.

You believe deeply that you belong to God, so you trust Him with all outcomes and every situation. You believe who God says that you are, so you know you are loved – without any strings attached. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He has given you strength and power for every circumstance. So, you trust Him with your life, even when it doesn’t look like what you hoped at the moment.

  1. We Make Space.

To “remember and believe” seems simple enough in concept. However, we know these imperatives are much more difficult to put in practice, especially when the circumstances are difficult. In fact, they are impossible to handle on our own – because we simply weren’t designed to do so. That’s why it’s imperative to make space to experience God through solitude, prayer, and Scripture.

In Mark 6:30, Jesus invites us to come away with Him: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” And in Ephesians, we are reminded “we can know Him better.” (Ephesians 1:17). When we make space to spend time with God, we can come to know Him more intimately. Romans 10:17 reads, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

We have one Book that gives us the message we are desperate to know and live (even if we don’t realize how desperate we are until the doors slam shut). Carve time out daily to read and meditate on God’s Word, and to spend time in prayer. Spend time not just reading the message, but ask God to help you become and apply what you read.

  1. We Are Thankful.

I remember the first time I read I Thessalonians 5:16-19 with real clarity: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I thought, “Really?!” At the time, my circumstance was not only extremely challenging, but I had no control to change it. In that particular season, and in many more difficult times since then, I have learned that God really does use everything in our lives for His glory and our good.

If all the doors are closed around you, continue to show gratitude to One who loves you most – your Heavenly Dad. He always has your best interest on His heart. Be thankful for closed doors knowing God is saving the best door until last!

 Be thankful for closed doors knowing God is saving the best door until last!

Ready for You to Receive

As a Jesus-follower, I have faced countless closed doors; I know these seasons are trying. But you can move forward as you remember, believe, make space and be thankful. You wouldn’t really want to settle for what's behind the wrong door anyway.

Your disappointing outcome is not the end game – but just a brief stopping point along a much longer journey. God is there to hold you and to guide you, until you reach the perfect door that He has prepared just for you.

Finally, remember that regardless of which side of the door you stand on, the rewards are just the same. God’s perfect peace, joy, and purpose are always available and ready for you to receive.


Thank you, Father, for every closed door. I know that You can be trusted with open doors and closed doors. Guide me to the doors you will open; may I walk through with confidence in You and the path You have set before me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Phyllis Hennecy Hendry

Phyllis Hennecy Hendry serves as the inaugural President and CEO of Lead Like Jesus, a global leadership development ministry. Under her visionary leadership, the organization has grown exponentially since its founding in 1999, equipping and empowering thousands of people throughout the United States and around the world to lead as Jesus led. Phyllis radiates passion, warmth, authenticity and wit in every presentation, and as a result, she is a highly sought after speaker, regularly travelling across the U.S. and around the world. Prior to joining Lead Like Jesus, she served for 11 years as President of the National Science Center, Inc., in Augusta, a partnership with the United States Army. Phyllis enjoys spending time with her four children and nine grandchildren.