I hadn’t realized how polished I’d become at gap-filling until I read about the reaction of Israel’s enemies when they saw Nehemiah’s success in repairing the breach within the wall surrounding Jerusalem.
They did not applaud. They did not offer high fives.
I can assure you; the enemies of Jerusalem were not pleased with Nehemiah's accomplishments.
Their access to the city had just been eliminated. Their mocking and ridicule were slowly being silenced as repairs were made and gaps were filled.
The enemy never rejoices when gaps are repaired.
Now, you may ask, “what does the story of Nehemiah and the wall have to do with you, Kolleen?” Thank you for asking—I’d love to fill you in!
Here’s the Story
While I cannot boast of any masonry skills in comparison to one by trade, I can boast of allowing the gaps of my thinking to be filled with random, non-productive thoughts. It is almost effortless for me to fill the gaps of life with a narrative of my own creating. You can put me in the middle of a circumstance that shakes the core of my foundation, pours concern within my heart, or mixes conflict with perception, and with incredible ease my thoughts fill in the gaps of the unknown with a commentary based on little fact and an abundance of emotion. I heard Brene’ Brown say it like this, “the story I am telling myself is this…"
I’ve never found fearful, negative thinking to bring a positive benefit in my life, but some of my stories have kept me awake at night trembling in fear were never based on fact – only fiction. Have you ever done it? Told yourself a story based on a perceived look you believe someone gave you. Or, created a story on a concept of conflict following an unanswered text message? When I don’t know the whole of a story, within a matter of a few hours—perhaps even minutes—I have completed my first draft of a tale; one that has been constructed from the imagination of my mind. When I fail to guard my thoughts, I might spend hours, days, weeks (perhaps even longer) filling gaps with a story that has me jumping to all sorts of wrong conclusions.
Enemies Savor in This.
The enemy finds delight when I become unglued and disconnected or upset and disoriented. Enemies want gaps where they can sneak in undetected and mock and ridicule. Their whispering and taunting inflict harm and creates chaos. The enemy’s narrative is one of accusation, and when if he’s not accusing you personally, he’s narrating a story of accusation about others (Revelation 12:10). He never wants us to believe the best right of ourself or others, and you can be sure he wants to silence the voice of the One I can trust to fill the gaps with the narrative of hope and healing
Like me, you’ve probably found yourself perfectly content with your wonderful life until a scroll through social media had you not-so-content. One glimpse at the front-stage-life of others and suddenly, what began in contentment has ended with a bad case of discontentment. One look was all it took for gap-filling of social media envy to commence.
Conclusions are invented.
And Walls are Built.
I don’t know about you, but I sure do know me and throughout my life I have been able to erect some hefty walls. Believing they’d protect, I’ve built walls out of fear and hurt, offense and insecurity, pride, anger and broken dreams; oh, the list could go on and on. Unfortunately, walls built on brokenness give the enemy great delight as he fills in the gaps with a narrative filtered through the lens of each area left in disrepair. I read that research estimates we think over 6,000 thoughts per day; that can lead to a lot of gap filling with one accusation after another if our walls are not protected and held together properly.
Betrayal whispers you can never trust again.
Unfulfilled dreams taunt you to take matters into your own hands
Unanswered prayer slanders the character of God.
Loneliness pushes sinful fantasies forward.
Emptiness is comforted through compromise and addiction.
Without healing the pain of the past, the hurt of betrayal, or the disappointment of broken dreams, the reality is, that unless we fill the gaps of the unknown with the Truth of God’s Word, we are going to fill gaps through the hurt with our own narrative. Think about it, how many times have you felt left out or disregarded and formed an opinion based upon your own conclusions?
Have you ever, without having the full of the story, filled in the gaps with a story of your own? It’s almost effortless to fill in the gaps with our own judgment, isn’t it? I found this to be true during a highly charged political season. Without knowing all the facts—only that which each side wants us to know—many assumptions fill the gaps.
Do the Work and Shut Them Down
By filling the gaps, Nehemiah and his crew had successfully repaired what the enemies were using to gain access and torment them. It’s time we took a similar approach. With God’s help, we can find healing and restoration for the broken walls we’ve built. When we fill gaps with His promises and truth, we will be able to shut the enemy out and silence the voice of the accuser.
When a season for a friendship, job, ministry, relationship, or church home ends, rather than allow the accuser to fill the gaps with slanderous accusations, flip the script and fill them with the reminder that God has a season for everything, “a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
When you suffer a betrayal and your heart is hurting and the accuser comes in determined to destroy you with how you failed, flip the script, and remind him that Jesus knows what betrayal felt like, and “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (Psalm 34:18, NLT).
When you find yourself wounded by those you thought had your back, instead of listening to the accusations of how they failed you, flip the script and remind yourself that Jesus is a friend that never leaves or fails. God is also able to work all things together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). God is able—and wants to—bring good out of all things. Always.
Break free from filling gaps left by unclear actions or unresolved conversations by refusing to accuse, blame, and fault-find. This just leaves you bound to the hurt and the trauma it caused. Tear down the walls you’ve built and allow God to help you build another one based upon the promises of an abundant life (John 10:10).
Begin to set disciplines in place that will help you fill gaps properly: read God’s Word. Ask Him to help you recognize lie from truth. Ask Him to show you when you’re heading down the path of stinking–thinking.
Know this: if a gap has emerged in your mind and you don’t fill it quickly with the Truth of God’s Word, the enemy is ready and waiting to fill the gap with his agenda of lies and deceit.
Are you ready for repair? You will change your identity one letter at a time when you I-Inspect your walls. Grab your Bible and get to work on filling those gaps properly.