It’s one thing to have baggage – a chip on your shoulder, insecurities, relational dysfunction – but it’s another thing to be oblivious about the baggage.
My lack of intimacy with God when I was a young man probably related to my issues with authority, but it wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I began to see it and wrestle with it.
Psychologists see this phenomenon all the time. They’ve come up with a tool called the Johari House
(or Window). They envision four rooms:
Room 1 is the part of ourselves that we see and others see.
Room 2 is
the aspects that others see but we are not aware of.
Room 3 is the most
mysterious room in that the unconscious or subconscious part of us is
seen by neither ourselves nor others.
Room 4 is our private space, which
we know but keep from others.
Bad things happen to people when they’re young and relatively defenseless, and a standard coping mechanism is to push them down into the realm of the subconscious where they become blind spots and baggage.
We drag so much baggage with us through life. I watch so many men feel backed into a corner and judged by people at work. And in my mind’s eye I see them instantly back at that insecure and vulnerable place from childhood. Mom wasn’t there – abuse happened and vows were made, vows that led to a life of self-protection or maybe bitterness.
It’s far more pervasive in society than many of us may realize. Paul Van Der Werf and I were talking about all the issues that 20-somethings seem to have. He had a fresh example of that. “When I went to Wheaton 12 years ago,” he said, “it had three counselors to help students. Now that number is up to 13 and they have their hands full.”
Blind spots tend to exist outside community. People who have put up high walls around their private lives have just one perspective on life – their own. But life is complicated – we need multiple perspectives to see our blind spots.
That’s why I love our family night on Wednesdays at the Barnes house. We lay our lives out there for inspection and prayer. We’re committed to traveling light and doing so in the kind of community that identifies blind spots.
How about you? Any baggage you want to get rid of? Have you checked with friends about blind spots lately?