What are we so afraid of?

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water,
    but a man of understanding will draw it out. (Proverbs 20:5, ESV)

If you think of the deep parts of the oceans, there’s a lot more to them than just what you see on the surface or at shallower depths. There are deep currents that flow through the oceans of the world, running for thousands of miles without ever coming anywhere near sunlight. I remember reading when I was younger about scientists discovering life at the bottom of the ocean, at depths where it was supposed to be impossible for life to exist, which underlines for me that there is so much down there that we don’t understand, and more importantly, so much down there we have to really work at to even see.

Our hearts are the same way. As Proverbs 20:5 tells us, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water,” and just like deep water there is far more to our own hearts than meets the eye. There are currents that flow deep through our hearts, bringing us to act in ways we don’t understand and can’t explain. There are areas in our hearts we don’t want to go to, and areas that are extremely difficult for us to get to. Places in our hearts so deep that we’ve forgotten life ever actually existed there.

I can certainly understand pain and hurt keeping us from areas in our hearts. I have many areas like that in my own heart that hurt too much to even visit. In this post, however, I don’t really want to focus on those areas. Going back into those areas in our hearts will come as Jesus leads and as we are ready, and I have no desire to rush that process for anyone. What I’d rather focus on are the less hurtful areas. The things that nag us in the middle of the night, or the things that we just have to have but don’t have a clue as to why.

I can share many examples of times in my own life when I’ve done something I’ve regretted and later wondered why I did that. I’ve been angry for reasons I’ve never understood, and I’ve been sad, too. I’ve wanted things so bad, and yet I could never tell you why. (Case in point: After I got out of the military I spent over a year growing my hair out, much to the consternation of my wife. Even now I’m not sure I could give a satisfactory answer as to why doing so meant so much to me.)

I’d wager we all have places like these, places in our lives will undo us if we’re not careful. As with the ocean, currents will carry you somewhere whether you want them to or not.

So the big question is, what are we so afraid of? What is it about the deep places in our hearts and in our lives that makes us reluctant to explore them? I have to admit here that I don’t have answers for these questions in my own life, and that being the case I’m not even going to pretend to have answers for your life, too. All I’m trying to do here is raise the question and make us reflect in hopes that that will be enough to nudge all of us a little closer to the deeper areas of our hearts.

What are we so afraid of?


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