Opening Doors

img_5825By Jessica Rogers

A lot of people comment that they don’t remember seeing much of me my first semester of college. To this I’ve been scolded, “Your door was always shut!”
 

It’s true, I spent a lot of time that fall studying and trying to piece myself back together behind closed walls. It’s what I had been doing my entire life, shutting people out and shutting God out. 

I’ve never been one to have lasting friendships and that created a lot of distrust in my heart. I also felt that as much as my family loved me, that love had taken years to truly reach me. It was only through coming to know Christ in these last few years that I was able to understand that I was worthy of love and could receive it no strings attached. 

Recently, I’ve listened to some Christians wonder aloud about what life without knowing Christ is like.  In my experience, it leads to a deep emptiness and lack of hope. When one door closes you don’t expect another one to open. You don’t dare get your hopes up. Before Christ I couldn’t identify who I was or what I thought my future would hold. I honestly didn’t understand why there was breath in my lungs most days.  People assured me that my life had importance and that everything would workout great someday, but I couldn’t see it.  I felt like all I did was let people down with all my imperfections and fears.  I had no idea that my sins were already paid through love.  There was also a digging feeling that other people knew some secret to happiness that I didn’t. They trusted and loved people, even those that had hurt them. And there I was trying to pick a career and lifestyle where I could continue to completely avoid people and the possibility of pain. 

But there really is no wall God can’t kick down. During high school I heard Him gently knock on my door to inform me that I wasn’t alone. That even if no one in my high school of over 4000 saw me that He did. I took a big risk of trusting His plan for me and changed schools my junior year.  Although terrifying, it was one of the best decisions of my life.  It was my first step in believing in God’s goodness and encouraged me to take an even larger risk following Him from California to Iowa for college. 

I was trusting God for the first time in my life, and during my first semester at Northwestern I thought: oh no, He might be wrong about this. I can’t do this. These people and this place are great but I’m still not enough. So, my door was shut. But God tore through these lies and towards the end of the semester surrounded me with people who accepted me; who loved me as a sister in Christ whether I was quiet and awkward, crazy and sassy, or some quirky in between. And this semester God has furthered numerous friendships through intentionality and vulnerability. 

Today I cringe if I see my door closed, and I have deliberately turned my wing’s hallway into constant homework parties so that I can spend more time with people!  Although I never would change how my testimony played out, I do wish I would have let my walls down sooner rather than making God karate kick them down. My life has never been more joyful and fulfilling than it is now standing on the other side of the threshold.   

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