When Steve and I were traveling in England several years ago, I noticed a sign whenever we were getting ready to step off public transportation. The sign read, “Mind the Gap.” I’ve been thinking about that sign recently as it applies to the whole realm of contentment. The gap between what we have and what we want is often great. Circumstances often dictate that we need more; more rest, more money, more hours in the day, or more peace. The gap between what we have and what we need feels huge. Yet, God calls us to mind the gap in our thinking and to choose contentment.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want” (Philippians 4:12). The Stoics used the word “content” to describe self-sufficiency, however, Paul used the word to describe the all-sufficiency of Christ. In other words, Paul had learned to mind the gap in his thinking. In the Epistle written to his spiritual son, Timothy, Paul wrote, “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Even godly people have to mind the gap in their thinking and ask the Holy Spirit to fill them with contentment.
So, when you recognize the gap between what you have and what you want, how do you mind that gap and train your attitude towards contentment? Or, when you experience the gap between who you are and who you want to be, how do you mind the gap? Or, when your health is failing, how do you mind the gap in your thinking between the actual state of your body and the body you desire? Ah, minding the gap can feel challenging! However, it’s all about rooting our confidence in the all-sufficiency of Christ.
Summer is a great season to practice minding the gap, because usually, summer is a bit quieter than the busy Autumn, Winter, and Spring months. Here are 3 tangible ideas to get you started.
3 Ways to Mind the Gap This Summer
Thank God That His Provision Is Perfect. This requires some disciplined shifting of our thinking. It is where we have to practice doing what Paul told the church in Corinth, “Take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5). When we recognize the gap, we thank God immediately that He can fill that gap. As we practice doing this daily, our trust in God’s sustaining strength will grow.
Remember How Christ Has Provided in the Past. When worry pummels my thinking and I find a gap between what I have and what I don’t have, I look back. I remember all the times God has provided for me through the years. He’s provided financially, physically, relationally, professionally, and spiritually. Wherever I experience a gap, I invite Him in to fill it! As I remember how He’s met my needs in the past, I am reminded to trust Him not only with the present but also with the future.
Pray for the Grace to Experience Christ as Enough. It’s hard to mind the gap when there’s not enough money to pay the bills. It’s hard to mind the gap when your kids are suffering or your body is failing. However, Christ Himself is able to meet us in our suffering as we remember that everything belongs to Him. Ask Christ daily for the grace to experience His full sufficiency. Then and only then, even in our lack, we discover the shocking truth that Christ Himself is enough!
Friend, minding the gap can feel challenging. However, contentment is a learned behavior. As you practice minding the gap and ask the Holy Spirit for the grace of a contented heart, I believe He will answer.
If you’re struggling with contentment, might I suggest Psalms for the Anxious Heart? I have heard from so many how this tiny devotional has helped them with their anxious thoughts. Why not order your copy today?