Uncertain how it all began, there soon came a time in my life when my heart was overflowing with sadness and turmoil. On the outside it appeared as though all was well and nothing had changed. Inside, however, my heart was sinking and I was being battered about by the “whys” and “what’s wrong with me” interrogation of my own mind. Everything important seemed to be slipping away and I seemed powerless to stop it.
I still have some of those same struggles today. My desire and ability to be a follower of Christ is at times convulsed by actions and thoughts that weigh me down and push me under the surface. No one sees the currents of fear and doubt tugging against my heart. All the time they threaten to pull me under. But I’m a man and I could never confess to anyone that I have difficulty swimming so I keep the struggles hidden.
My perception is that others do not wrestle with the same issues I do. But, in reality, I suspect they do. They are simply good at keeping it under the surface and out of sight. Just like me, they would never dare expose themselves and their vulnerability – at least willingly.
I also suspect the risk of exposure is not so much revealing one’s vulnerability, but knowing that there are few people who could accept and receive that unveiling. It’s like the friend who asks, “How are you doing today?” They don’t really want to know, it just seems like an appropriate thing to say.
The writer of Proverbs has this little nugget:
The purpose of a man’s heart is like deep waters, but a man of understanding will draw it out. (20:5)
Notice, the writer does not say, at least here, the man of understanding does anything or has any magical answer. He simply helps draw from the deep waters the purpose, thoughts, and struggles of the other person.
The world needs more men of understanding. More sensitive souls that are willing to hear, “My heart hurts and I am struggling to stay afloat some days.”
Perhaps that is what discipling and mentoring is all about. Perhaps that is what drew the men of Galilee to the MAN of Galilee. They knew Jesus had no problem dropping the bucket down into the deep waters of men’s souls and helping expose their true self – their true purpose.