The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Proverbs 20:5
Did you ever look in the mirror and not see your reflection?
Uh, hello…where am I?
You run to another mirror in the house. No reflection!
You look down and you see your torso, arms and legs. You touch your head with your hands. You are there. You return to the mirror but you can’t see your reflection!
What in the world is going on?
I know something everyone else in the world does not know. I know what it is like to be me, Charles Wagner. I know my aches and pains and physical ailments. I know my hopes, dreams, and desires. I feel my emotional pain. I know the thoughts swirling around my head that no one else can tap in to…with the exception of unknown technological advances at Google or the NSA.
However, there is something I don’t know. I have absolutely no idea what it is like to be a friend of Charles Wagner. There are hundreds of people I have known throughout my life who have knowledge of me that I do not have. Elementary school. High school. College. Adult life. They have interacted with me in ways that I simply cannot interact with myself.
Imagine if I woke up one day as someone else who was a friend of Charles Wagner. My reflection from the eyes of another person would no longer be hidden. I could see myself in the mirror from other people’s eyes. I could then have a more clear knowledge of the pleasures and annoyances of knowing me. I could see things I do that are thoughtful and the things I do that are hurtful. I could see how people think more favorably of me than I do of myself. Or vice versa. Perhaps more important, no longer confused by hearing the noise of my inner voices and the chaotic thoughts and purposes of my heart, I could take a more objective look at what makes me tick and perhaps see things about Charles Wagner that cannot be seen from inside.
Ladies and gentlemen, we need wise, mature, and godly people in our lives to speak into our inner chaos. There is wisdom in the council of many advisors, advisors who all have insights about us that we cannot have for ourselves. One of the ironies of life is that we feel the pain of our broken hearts but don’t necessarily see the damage it has done. Others can. We can feel the pain of our scars but we don’t necessarily see how those scars distort our perceptions. Others can. We can know we put up walls and barriers but we don’t see how those walls and barriers impact our decision processes. Others can
Scripture tells us that our purposes are deep waters. Translation – what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is going on in our hearts and minds is dark, cold, and suffocating. We can drown in that dung! We are machines that manufacture chaos and confusion that take the form of thoughts, feelings, decisions, actions, and, gulp, spoken words.
I’ve always been a big fan of Clint Eastwood’s character in his Western movies. Josey Wales. The man with no name. His characters don’t need people! He’s self-sufficent. Whatever is going on in his mind doesn’t need anyone to speak into it. He can be a loner, an individualist, and independent and never be weak. His gun will always be the fastest in the West. However, the truth is that such a man would be a tortured soul. If you could open up his mind and look inside you would see carnage, a battlefield with wreckage strewn around with the smell of rotting corpses.
Why don’t we see the battlefield in our own minds? Because we love to deceive ourselves. “I’m ok. I don’t have needs. I’m fine. I don’t have weaknesses. My thoughts are always correct. My feelings can always be trusted!” We all put up walls and barriers to protect ourselves from being hurt. If we have done a good job constructing those walls, we can really feel a sense of peace and security hiding behind hem. It is a false peace, a peace that we might even ascribe to God’s blessing. However, the truth be told, we aren’t doing the work we need to do so we can tear those walls and barriers down and that is what God really wants for us.
To the point, we should not ever trust our own private counsel! That is one dangerous thing to do. Other people can often make more sense of our chaos, confusion, and dark waters than we can ourselves. And that is why we need people.
While there is no doubt we need people speaking into our hearts, that can be a confusing process as well.
Let’s imagine I want to paint my room. Let’s also imagine I have three trusted friends who are wise and godly. Frank, Jim, and Nate. Frank tells me I should paint my room blue. Jim says it should be gray. Nate says it should be white. What color should I paint the room? I came to the conclusion I shouldn’t choose the color by myself because of my inner chaos. But, in speaking with my friends, they can’t agree on a color either. I’m left no better off than trusting in my own counsel. I’m still confused.
The truth of the matter is that every person who counsels us has their own inner chaos and carnage. They may know what it is like to be my friend but their conclusions about me could very well be distorted by their own perceptions of life, their own deep waters. Frank’s set of experiences in his life leave him feeling blue while Nate’s leave him feeling white. Their advise is colored by their own unique set of circumstances.
So, what do we do? We can’t trust our own counsel. We should also be careful trusting others. Who is this “one who has insight” who makes sense of our deep waters?
It has to be God! He has a very unique understanding – He knows simultaneously what it is like to be Charles Wagner while at the same time knowing what it is like to be a friend of Charles Wagner. No human being can understand both sides! He can see all the battlefields in my mind. He sees the tapestry of scars, walls, barriers, and broken hearts and how all that mess leads to my thoughts, feelings, decisions, actions, and words.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to imagine a big pot. I mean a big pot – four or five feet high. A large fire is burning under it and steam rises from the pot. Standing beside the pot is God, dipping a spoon into whatever is cooking and tasting it. He reaches for some more ingredients and stirs them into the mix. He tastes it again. Reaches for more ingredients and stirs them in to the mix. “Yes! That’s it! It’s perfect!”
He then hands you a bowl of the soup for your consumption. The soup? Total understanding of who you are and what makes you tick. God Himself has been the person with insight to give you the understanding of who you REALLY are.
What are the ingredients in that soup? The soup has plenty of reading and studying of His Word. It also has devoted prayer asking for Him to reveal the deep waters of your heart. However, those little ingredients He kept throwing into the soup? Our relationships with other people. He threw a little Janice into our life to give us a unique perspective only Janice could give us. Janice saw something in our hearts we couldn’t see for ourselves. He threw a little Oscar into our life to give us a perspective only Oscar can give us. He saw something in our hearts we couldn’t see in ourselves. Neither Janice or Oscar could possibly understand the big picture but they understood pieces of it. A master cook used them to create the soup that will help you heal.
Every relationship we have is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, to draw us out of the deep waters of the purposes of our heart that we would otherwise drown in. The Master Chef brings people into our lives for a season and takes them away when the messages we needed to learn from knowing them have been communicated.
We can then see who we really are in the mirror.