Andrew Peterson wrote a song almost twenty years ago called “Mountains on the Ocean Floor”. In it, Peterson creates a metaphor out of the idea that underneath the ocean waves there are layers of earth that move and shift and change and that we don’t really ever notice these shifts until something happens on the surface.
Our interior life is like that. “Tectonic plates” beneath the surface of our lives shift and move and change and, though most of us may actually know that this is the case, that this is the way the world works, we don’t often fully understand the implications of what is occurring in secret until something happens on the surface. What occurs on the surface has the power to create, or to utterly destroy.
On Boxing Day, 2004, one such destructive event happened.
In the Indian Ocean, 100 miles off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, two tectonic plates known as the Indian Plate and the Burma Plate met, one plate slipping under the other, resulting in an earthquake and megathrust which immediately displaced enormous volumes of ocean water and subsequently produced tsunami waves which reached estimated heights of approximately 100 feet, and traveled at speeds as high as 650 miles per hour. The total energy generated by these waves was approximately equal to 5 megatons, more than twice the explosive energy used in all of World War II, including the two atomic bombs.
Often what is occurring on the surface or exterior, is just the result of a series of movements below the surface…many which are virtually undetectable
Our interior lives are like that. Often what is occurring on the surface or exterior, where people can see and experience us, is just the result of a series of movements below the surface that may have been occurring for quite some time, many which are virtually undetectable, that have resulted in or produced our current exterior experience.
Men, generally speaking, have a pretty difficult time admitting this is true. We usually want to present a persona of outer strength and dependability and inner stability. I can’t count the number of times I have had another guy tell me he’s “fine” right before he enters into a time of emotional upheaval and inner turmoil. And we all know what “FINE” stands for right?
- Freaked out
Foreshocks are Usually Foreshadows
In November of 2002, just thirty miles southeast of the 2004 incident, there was an earthquake which registered a 7.3 magnitude. This smaller earthquake is widely regarded by the scientific community as a foreshock of the 2004 megaquake. It was a warning sign. An omen of what was yet to come. But this is a conclusion that they have come to only in light of the 2004 disaster. Hindsight is 20/20, they say, and no one could have known in 2002, after three deaths were reported as the result of the smaller tremor, that only twenty-five months later the people that populate the coastal cities and towns in the region wouldn’t be mourning only three deaths or 30 deaths or 300 deaths, but they would enter into a time of mourning almost 300,000 dead men, women, and children.
When we experience emotionally destabilizing circumstances…we should immediately be asking ourselves the question: “What’s moving around down below, on the inside?
When we experience emotionally destabilizing circumstances where, for a moment, or perhaps a few days, our emotions get the better of us, and we have difficulty in the self-control department, we should immediately be asking ourselves the question: “What’s moving around down below, on the inside? What is this emotional outburst telling me about what’s going on beneath the surface?”
Unfortunately, most men today have no one in their lives who can help them figure this stuff out, and too few men south of the age of fifty actually had father figures present in their lives to teach them how to process, express, and cope with their emotional pain and anxiety in a healthy and God-honoring way. Instead, men are drowning in cycles of shame and addiction that keep them from truly expressing themselves in safe environments that afford them opportunities to explore, identify, and accept how they feel (a.k.a, what’s going on beneath the waves) so that they can develop the emotional maturity necessary for living a productive and fruitful life.
If you or someone you know needs some guidance in this area, please contact Formed Ministries today. The Life Formation Process is designed to equip men who are sick of being stuck, unable or not yet willing to examine their own hidden interiors and who desire to see true and lasting change to create a new and better future for themselves and those they love. Contact Formed Ministries today!