3 Mistakes We Make When it’s Hell in the Hallway

3 Mistakes We Make When it’s Hell in the Hallway

Most of us would agree that God opens doors and closes doors, but it’s hell in the hallway!


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Does it really have to be like that?

I’ll bet I’m not the only one who’s found herself stuck in a bleak place where all the windows and doors slammed shut. An airless dark hallway that felt hopeless and unfruitful. Maybe you’re waiting for a job you hope for, or the repair of a relationship,  a telephone call  from the doctor, or that check that’s supposed to be in the mail at 2:00 today.

If you want to escape the hell of the hallway, there are three mistakes you can avoid.

Mistake #1 Expecting you will someday have a trouble-free life. Ok. You know we all experience difficulties, but you certainly didn’t think yours would last this long.

Let go of that expectation. Right now. It’s unrealistic and it’s unbiblical (Job 5:7; Phil 3:10). Real life is filled with troubles of all kinds. If you deny that truth, you set yourself up for disappointment, depression, and discouragement.

Accept that the only way you’ll ever become an overcomer is to have things to overcome. Relish the challenge and know that sufficient grace is always on hand to match your test.

Mistake #2 Longing for yesterday or wishing it was tomorrow. Be  right where you are now. That’s where Jesus is, you know. He’s the I AM – not the I was or I will be. He is Emmanuel, God with us. God knows your every location and has chosen that you be right there.  He never said it would be painless, did He? Only that He’d be with us.  Stay awake and present to the moment.

Mistake #3 Helping God out by coming up with your own solution. How many times have your tried to fix it yourself and only ended up complicating things more than ever? That’s how we end up with Ishmaels and Lord knows that’s still haunting us. For a beautiful take on this, read “When Nothing Seems to Be Happening” by Anna Bachinsky.

My longest wait so far to see a prayer answered is 28 years. That’s an awfully long time to keep hoping for something. Many were the times I felt like quitting but just at that point God would come through with a word of encouragement, or maybe the situation would shift and I’d feel like the door was going to open any minute. I wanted out of that hallway something terrible.

And one day, quite to my surprise, it swung open in the most unlikely way. As I look back and remember the hell of it all, I can clearly see that God was steadily working, moving on the heart, transforming the mind, conforming to His image. And then it was finished.

Funny thing though, while I was praying for God to change her, He was working on me. When I walked through that door, I was not the same person. I needed that hallway and today I thank God for all of it.

Can I ask you a personal question? How long have you been required to wait for something you longed for? Many people reading this blog are in a holding pattern and I’ll bet they think they are the only one required to endure such a delay. Will you take a moment and write a bit of your story in the comment section?  Your story is part of His story and so it also becomes our story.

Who knows? You may end up being happy in the hallway.



  1. So far, four years waiting hoping praying. Right now it feels like things are darker than ever and my extended family is imploding. But our trust and hope is in The Lord! Please join me in praying for the truth to be plainly seen. Without truth, our building is on shaky ground.

  2. The process is 100% necessary. I remained in the wrong class room for so long that the hall way was a relief. Through it all I’ve learned how exciting the process is meant to be. Stuck sucks so join God in His purpose. It all starts in the hallway.

  3. Oh, Cathee! How many years did I try to change a person into what I thought he should be! All I did was make him worse! Not until I fell to my knees and acknowledged God is on the throne – not me did I find that peace. It has taken/is taking a lot of prayer and repentance to get to a comfortable place. One thing I did to help me remember was, I wrote in lipstick on my dressing table mirror “Dear Betty, I won’t be needing your help today. Love, God” That really helped me. Once I “let my people go” I spent more time getting myself in line with God’s will for my life. Funny thing… “my people” did much better!

  4. Cathee, this may be the most profound blog you’ve done. What great wisdom is offered here. If only we could learn!

    I don’t know how long it was I waited in the hallway for children but the request never was answered “yes.” It was answered, however, in countless relationships I have had with other people’s children. Had I been able to have my own, I know I would not have had the time for or interest in these “kids.”

    It all comes down to trusting our Father to know what’s best for us, doesn’t it? Even when it hurts.

  5. Wow! Cathee, you really hit it out of the ball park!!! I have been waiting for the job hoped for, the repaired relationship and a call from my doctor! Seriously how did you know! This post is so very real for me. (and it looks like others too) I am suffering depression and have been for quit some time. I try to cover it with a thankful heart; but sometimes the hallway is hell! I am guilty of all three mistakes and surely have suffered the consequences. My only hope is to strictly walk after the spirit and not the flesh, because there is no good thing within the flesh. It is weak, but HE is strong! Psalms 6:2, Matthew 26:41. James Chapter 2 (5). I have always waited for my ship to come in? Financially….well the Lord says He has chosen the poor, rich in faith to be the heirs of the kingdom! Yes, we have waiting with human expectations. His glory will far exceed any earthly expectation. God’s word is the last Authority! Thank you Cathee for sharing your thoughts and inspiration! You are truly a blessing!!!!

  6. Cathee…I have prayed for more than twenty years for the salvation of a most beloved family member. Many times I have tried to peek into the doors of the rooms that I find in this hallway only to find the view blocked. It has been a long, hard climb for me to finally reach the point where now, each day, I just lay this person at the feet of the Savior who loves him more than I ever could. I believe his time, his salvation will come…in God’s timing, NOT in mine. In the meantime, I do what I CAN do…I remember Bob’s recent analogy of the guided missile that is prayer. So, I love him, I pray for him and I live out my faith before him. You know…when you have the right perspective, the hallway is actually kinda peaceful. <3

  7. Dear Cathee,
    Yes, I agree with everyone. This is one of the most powerful blogs you have written. That means it has touched each of us deeply. I love Betty’s mirror message too. Ann Voskamp once said “Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway”. That changed some on my desparation to praise. The hallway experence is more about us, our attitude, our patience, our response to the situation and more, than the door at the end. So now I praise Him and rest is the moment trusting God for the end. Thanks again for the reminder!

  8. Cathee, I am so happy for you and Texas that you have come to this point where you can share your hearts to help others who have struggled and waited for years for their prayers to be answered. God will bring so much good out of all that suffering. I have had one difficult child to raise, have felt years of trying were producing nothing but further tears, have felt I could have helped him more to handle his difficult personality. Now over 40 years have passed and I see at last a new personality emerging that gives me great joy. I want so to tell the rest of the family it is time for forgiveness and a fresh start, but God has impressed on me that their conflicts are not mine to pick up. My job is to love them all and let them work it out among themselves. One day we will all rejoice together.

  9. I’m in the Hallway right now praying and waiting for the Lord to change & heal someone’s heart. This person is very close to me. I’ve learned in the past, and you confirmed it above, that if I try to fix the situation myself, then we will have an Ishmael in the making. Believe me, I have taken that route before, and boy was I sorry. So my only and best choice will be to keep praying and trusting the Lord to take care of the problem. I am at total peace with this action.

    Thank you so much for this great article. It is very relevant to my life.

  10. I know for a fact that I’ve made mistakes 2 and 3 as I’ve been in my hallway. And I’m not sure if it makes it easier or harder having some of my closest friends along with me in the hallway, because when I’m with them, our dreams become more alive in our minds and it’s harder to come back to our reality of the hallway. That’s the problem when you put dreamers together, I guess. I do wonder if God ever gets tired of us trying to peek in the lock and the cracks of the next door. He shoos us away, gently scolding us and reminding us that we are in the hallway for a reason and He will not leave us there a moment longer than necessary for a better fulfillment of His plan(s) for our future. God’s grace ever abounds in the hallway, and if I look closely, I will see every last important details of that hallway.

    Thank you for your wonderful post that I happened to stumble upon! God bless!

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