Living in the Hallways
Updated: Feb 24, 2022
by Elizabeth Laing Thompson
Have you ever felt like God was telling you “no,” but His final answer was unclear? Many Christians feel caught between “no” and “maybe.” Standing in the hallway, banging fists against a locked door.
Meanwhile, they only poke one toe into the doorway that seems to be opening, the life they don’t want, but they are afraid to really live that life. They are hesitant to move forward, make plans.
Finding yourself in this place is confusing, frustrating, and it feels like wasted time. And the truth is, sometimes we can’t help but stand stuck between rooms, living in hallways. God’s answer isn’t clear, we don’t know which door will open all the way, and we just have to wait.
But other times, we do have some choice in the matter. The decision of whether to accept the no and move forward into a different room may be up to us. We could keep praying and waiting, or we could let it go.
Choosing to move on from unresolved situations can be difficult. We may worry, If I resign myself to this situation, then God will definitely say no. If we dare to imagine ourselves finally accepting the no, we picture God sitting up in heaven watching and saying, “Aw, too bad. If she had only hung on for one more day, I was going to say yes.” But God is your kind and generous Father. He knows your true heart, and He is not out to play games with your emotions.
If you feel trapped in a situation where the no is not totally finalized, I believe there is a faithful way to accept what is without giving up hope that things could be different. You can honor God and exhibit faith while still moving forward with your life. Perhaps you’ll find peace if you view your current circumstance as God saying, “No for now.” Perhaps you can pray an honest prayer like:
Lord, I don’t want to move on. I still want You to change this situation, and I will never stop hoping You will—and believing You can. However, I need to move forward with my life. I am not giving up hope, but I am going to accept Your no for now and give my heart to this new life.
Remember: God allows you to make choices. If you want to, you are allowed to release a dream and let it fade. If you choose to let go and accept no, you aren’t saying you think God can’t do what you’ve been praying for; you are simply saying, “I’m ready to move forward.”
Wherever you are in your “no” journey, take heart. God is listening. He is not put off by your respectful requests, nor is He turned off by your passionate pleas. He welcomes your thoughts, He hurts with you, He cries with you. And sometimes, when you least expect it, He says, “You’re right. Good idea. Let’s break down that door.”