Posted by: mikenicholsblog | February 12, 2012

no 80’s video game

It was the end of a long week. But thankfully I was headed home. My first flight had left at 5:45a.m., and then I boarded a regional jet for the last leg of my journey. Relaxing and even sleeping would have made the short flight enjoyable. However, I was in the back of the plane under the heating and air conditioning unit. It was loud and blew air on me almost the entire flight. But that’s not all. A nice lady sat next to me, but she promptly fell asleep. The longer she slept, the more her arm slid over the armrest and invaded my space (and I have space issues). What was I to do? My not so spiritual thoughts were to push her arm over, but I didn’t. Can you picture me in my narrowing space with air blowing on me the entire time? You may not choose to fly this week, but I can almost guarantee that your personal space will be invaded. What will you do?

Wrong thoughts, negative attitudes, unreasonable people and work overload are just some of the space invaders that you may face this week. When your boundaries are pushed, it is easy for the love, joy and peace that should fill your space to erode (quickly). Make no mistake about it; all of our boundaries will probably be pushed this week. And we all have a choice about how to live in our space. For me, the closeness that I have with the Father determines how I respond to the space invaders. You and I can live with love, joy and peace when our jobs get chaotic, people push our boundaries and our thoughts and attitudes would normally turn negative. We need to yield our space to God’s control for every day. And when our boundaries are pushed, our reflex action should be to turn the control of our lives (and our space) over to Him. Oswald Sanders gives us sage advice in a world of boundary pushers; Each of us is as close to God as we choose to be. Closeness to the Father will help us manage our emotional, physical and spiritual boundaries.

Confidence in, and closeness to the Father is imperative to manage our space. Let this dated but real life story give us a picture of how our Father can step into our space.

Since God is more moved by our hurt than our eloquence, He responds. That’s what fathers do. That’s exactly what Jim Redmond did. His son Derek, a twenty six-year-old Briton, was favored to win the four-hundred-meter race in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Halfway into his semifinal heat, a fiery pain seared through his right leg. He crumpled to the track with a torn hamstring. As medical attendants were approaching, Redmond fought to his feet. “It was animal instinct,” he would later say. He set out hopping, pushing away the coaches in a crazed attempt to finish the race. When he reached the stretch, a big man pushed through the crowd. He was wearing a t-shirt that read “Have you hugged your child today?” and a hat that challenged, “Just do it.” The man was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father. “You don’t have to do this,” he told his weeping son. “Yes I do,” Derek declared. “Well then,” said Jim, “we’re going to finish this together.” And they did. Jim wrapped Derek’s arm around his shoulder and helped him hobble to the finish line. Fighting off security men, the son’s head sometimes buried in the father’s shoulder, they stayed in Derek’s lane (space) to the end. The crowd clapped, then stood, then cheered, and then wept as the father and the son finished the race. What made the father do it? What made the father leave the stands to meet his son on the track? Was it the strength of his child? No, it was the pain of his child. His son was hurt and fighting to complete the race. So the father came to help him finish. (From He still Moves Stones by Max Lucado)

If you are a Christ–follower, finishing the race well is not just dependent on you. You can rest assured that your Father is in your lane, helping and even carrying you. When your emotional, physical and relational space gets invaded this week (and next), let your spiritual reflexes control the boundaries. We are as close to God as we want to be. Let your closeness to Him set your boundaries. You can enjoy the journey!

And I am just curious, would you have shoved the lady’s arm back?


  1. Awesome —

    The answer to your question? I hope I wouldn’t have —



  2. great post….i would have gently moved her arm back.

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