God opening windows changes perspectives, BYU administrator says

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Associate Academic Vice President Laura C. Bridgewater speaks about God’s hand in her life. She said developing the ability to see opened doors and windows changed her perspective on life. (Nicole Olson)

The BYU Faculty Center and Education in Zion Gallery hosted a lecture titled “Open Doors, Open Windows” on March 24 as part of the Journey as a Scholar of Faith lecture series.

Associate Academic Vice President for Faculty Development Laura C. Bridgewater shared in her lecture how God has opened doors and windows in her life.

Bridgewater said while the common saying goes: “when God closes a door, He opens a window,” she feels that God has opened lots of doors and hasn’t closed many windows for her. Instead, she said her life has been filled with opened doors and windows.

“That recognition has led to a major change in my look on life,” Bridgewater said.

She said sometimes the doors and windows are wide open and easy to walk through, but more often she had to take deliberate action to get through.

Bridgewater said she had questioned why God would allow bad things to happen to good people. She said she imagined that God set the world in motion, obtained our informed consent as if we were participating in a medical trial, and then stepped away and allowed earth life to unfold, driven only by the laws of biology, physics and agency.

However, her opinion started to change when she looked back at her journey in life and began to recognize situations where God opened doors and windows for her.

“It became impossible for me to continue believing that God had set things in motion and then just stepped back to let it all unfold,” Bridgewater said.

Some of these opened doors included a prayer at youth conference, her decision to change majors, taking an internship in Washington D.C. to be with her boyfriend who is now her husband, and accepting a Ph.D. offer. While none of these things were in the plans she had made for herself, she recognizes how they came from God.

“Recognizing God’s hand in my life in prior years and seeing how the way its led to unexpected good things has made me much more open to the possibility that a diversion from my own life plan might position me to be of use in God’s kingdom in a way I had never anticipated,” Bridgewater said.

She said she thinks the shape our lives take is governed by a combination of the unique gifts we’ve brought into this world, the choices we make regarding how to develop them, and multiple small touches of God’s hand to open doors or windows to paths we wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

“I am convinced that the main reason God opens doors and windows for us is to position us so that we can make a difference for good in the lives of others,” she said.

Bridgewater said that it takes faith to walk through a door or climb through a window, and that God doesn’t push us through.

When asked by the audience what one should do when they feel their experience is all closed doors, Bridgewater shared that many times she couldn’t see an opened door until years later. She realized the closer you are to the situation, the harder it is to see. Because of this realization, she decided to develop the ability to see open doors sooner.

Bridgewater testified that if we’re interested in doing good in the world, and we’re willing to work hard on developing our God-given gifts, God will open doors and windows that put us in places where He can use those gifts to make a difference for good.

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