A classic experiment in animal behavior goes something like this:
You have a lab rat that has to push a handle to get food. After a while, you rig the handle so that the rat gets an electric shock when he tries to touch it. After a few days, you can take the shock away, but the rat will have learned his lesson, and he won’t try to touch the handle again. He can starve to death, with food freely available just inches away from him, but to him completely unreachable.
If you haven’t already guessed it, here’s the lesson for us: once we’ve been burned a few times, once we’ve had some failures, some disappointments, some situations where we were unfairly treated, we can become like that poor little rat. We start believing that reaching for the handle, trying to open that door, will always hurt us.
“I’ll never find someone who loves me.” “People just want to use you.” ” I always get the short end of the stick.” “I would never get that job.”
Sound familiar? And what’s worse, if we persist in that way of thinking long enough, we stop even seeing that there are doors. We don’t even notice the new person across the table giving us a special smile. We see the job opening but it doesn’t even register that we could interview for it. The doors that we could open, the blessings that God wants to give us become invisible to us.
Now, does that mean that every door will open? Does that mean we’ll never get hurt or disappointed again? Of course not. There will still be doors that won’t open, or will open only to slam shut in our faces.
But keep trying the door. Every day. You never know which one will open to your dream.