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Mind the Gap

April 24, 2021
Mind The Gap – John Maxwell

If you ever get the chance to visit London, GO! You’ll need to take plenty of money, because the US dollar is pretty weak in the world right now (thank/blame whomever you want for that), but GO.

I never would have imagined that I’d get to go, but God opened doors for us, and Debbie and I got to spend a few days there on one of our trips back to the US from Europe a few years ago. It was fantastic. If you love history, London leaks it. I’d go back in a heart-beat.

If you get to go, you’ll likely take the Tube (the subway system) to get around. For a couple of Okie transplants to Las Vegas, subways were few and far between. It was almost like an amusement park ride for us. The Tube will take you very nearly everywhere you need to go in London.

You’ll hear the recording and read the warnings, “Mind the gap,” every time you get on and get off the Tube. It’s a kind warning, since there is a gap between the platform and the car which could cause no small personal damage if you didn’t account for it. And the British accent of the man or woman on the recording is very intriguing to Yanks like us. The saying’s also on coffee cups and post-it notes in most all the gift shops in the city. It’s kind of one of those iconic things for London.

We’ve got a picture of the Mind the Gap warning on our digital photo frame, and every once in a while it spins up when I’m waiting for my coffee to brew through the Keurig. It’s a good reminder for me for a couple of reasons. First of all, it sparks off some great memories of those days we enjoyed there. And second, it’s a worthy caution for my life.

It’s the second thing there that occasions this blog.

All of us need to Mind the Gap. All of us have gaps in our lives. No matter how mature and together you are, there are gaps in your life. You know about some of them. Things you whish were different, but which you haven’t yet got around to devoting time and energy to fixing. Things that seem beyond fixing, which you just have to work around because they resist fixing. And then there are gaps you have and don’t’ know you have. Mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual gaps that you don’t realize you have. If you’re married, your spouse knows them. And if you have kids, your kids (especially if they’re teens or older) know what they are. They may not bring the subject up, but they know about your gaps. They may be afraid of you from time to time because of your gaps. Everybody’s got them.

There’s a tool social psychologists sometimes use to illustrate this, called the Johari Window (see graphic).

Framework 5: The Johari Window | Framework Addict

It doesn’t explain everything you need to know about gaps, but it’s a good place to start a discussion about them. The point of the Johari Window is that you want to make the Area 1, known by self, larger and larger, and Areas 2, 3 and 4 smaller and smaller through self-awareness. All three of these areas (2, 3 and 4) represent gaps in your life. Things you’re blind to, things you hide (from others and even from yourself), and things you simply don’t know about.

In human relationships, these gaps create problems. Sometimes BIG ones. I’d say most of the marriage problems I counsel couples with happen because of issues with Areas 2, 3 and 4. If you’re married, I’d bet a dime that they account for most of the conflict and issues you experience with your spouse. When you put two people who have gaps together in a relationship, there’s plenty of opportunities for misunderstandings, hurts, even deep wounds.

Only one person who’s ever lived had no gaps. Of course, you know this is Jesus. He had no Areas 2, 3 or 4. He knew everything there was to know about Himself. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t be God. He hid nothing.

But, just in case you didn’t get the memo yet, you’re not Him. You’ve got gaps. Me, too.

In Psalm 139, David wrote a poem-prayer with a very bold and gutsy Gap-related request.

23Search me, God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

Essentially, what he was asking for was for God to reveal to him his gaps. Any and all of them. Show me, God, what I don’t know about myself. Until I see these things, I won’t be able to walk fully in Your way, the way everlasting. I’m asking because I want to walk in Your way.

If you’re a follower of Christ, you’ve got to Mind the Gap. We never grow to the point where we have no gaps or where we don’t need to mind them. It’s part of our human condition. I often wish God would just eliminate them from my life. But He doesn’t. I think I know at least part of why He doesn’t. He wants me to depend on Him for growing insight and maturity in my walk with Him and my relationships with others. When I let them, living with and growing in my understanding of my gaps grows both maturity and humility in me.

David didn’t ask God to get rid of his gaps. He asked Him to show them to him. I think that’s the point. David’s desire was to walk in the way everlasting. That’s not possible without testing of thought and behavior. And for most of us – it’s sure true of me – we will walk with a limp in the way everlasting. Just like everybody else who ever has, except for One.

So here’s my challenge. Think deeply, prayerfully, about all the areas of your life – your friendships, your career, your recreational pursuits, your family, your habits, your preferences, your walk with Christ. And then ask God to expand Area 1 by showing you more about your Areas 2, 3 and 4 in each of these arenas of your life. Pray David’s prayer. And then in partnership with Him, Mind the Gap.

From → Marriage

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