The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. -Proverbs 20:5 NIV
Yesterday this acronym appeared in this blog series:
Its progression toward clarity and healing may seem simple, but it’s so complex it could form the basis of a long book!
So I can’t do it justice in one or two blogs. But I’d like to consider its second phase, because one thing we need to understand is ourselves, and our responses (or non-responses) can reveal lots about our individual inner workings.
In most basic form, we could approach the T-R-U-T-H progession in terms of biblical verity and faith: A trial (“spiritual test”) confronts us; we react somehow emotionally, intellectually, maybe even physically; we stop and ponder our response and whether it indicates faith in Bible truth or misleading lies of the “world the flesh and the devil,” and make any corrections accordingly.
Easy-peasy, right? Wrong. It’s just not that simple.
First, it’s not always easy to figure out why we reacted as we did, especially if our reaction surprised us. We need to dig deep to determine what prompted our reaction: Deep-seated fear? Long-standing resentment? Elation at an unspoken and barely recognized dream or longstanding desire appearing to get fulfilled—or despair at its getting shattered?
And second, our first response may not indicate our hearts at all. I use myself as a case in point–because my initial response to any event might seem very calm, unruffled and unaffected; but later… whoo! That’s when the surprise, even shock, comes for me!
I think I first became profoundly aware of this information about myself over 40 years ago, at, and some time after, a car race. Paying attention to my later reactions to other events affirmed the reality of my own “response quirk.”
I had long balked at attending car races. Not only was I un-fond of dirt, loud noise, and gasoline fumes, I had no desire to see anyone get mashed up in an accident, and I was filled with trepidation that this is exactly what I’d see. But finally talked into giving the experience a try, I found myself sitting on a hard bleachers seat, smelling fumes, bombarded by the roaring of engines, and watching the dust clouds rise from behind the tires spinning round and round, round and round the track—a repeated cycle that began soon to look ridiculous to me as I began to observe from an almost out-of-body viewpoint. The minor crashes of autos into each other upset me, and I think I withdrew in this way to shield my sensibilities.
Then it happened: Careening around the bend, totally out of control, one of the cars ran smack up against the guard fence on our side of the track, and before my eyes the vehicle rose in slow motion high into the air, floated into a flip, and descended, upside down on our side of the fence. Crash!!
The reaction of all the crowd around me made an interesting study: some people jumped to their feet and lunged forward toward the upside-down auto, a second bunch rose trembling, turned and fled up the bleachers, away from the wreck (presumably to escape, although they were really trapping themselves high above the exit). And then there were the few like me, who sat unmoving, slowly thinking, “That car could explode. We should stand up. We should get away from here…” But action in my body didn’t happen. I just thought about what I ought to do.
Clearly, in retrospect, in light of later learning, I realize I reacted possum-like in freeze mode, while some others did the “fight” and still others the “flight” alternatives. None of the above were brilliant. But they were typical human responses.
At that point, the loud speaker and the waving arms of some officials in front of us instructed all of us to clear that section of the stadium, and the group I was part of decided just to pile into our own car and go home.
As I sat in the back seat, with excited babble going on around me, I silently congratulated myself on my serenity in the midst of such chaos. (Smug little me.)
But the next morning brought new revelations. Sitting at the breakfast table, I sipped my hot coffee and hardly paid much attention to my husband, talking across the table. Till he brought up the calamity of the night before. No, not even the calamity. He simply mentioned the car race.
With a shocking abruptness and sharpness of voice, I rose, scraping my chair loudly in the process, and burst out angrily, “I don‘t want to talk about it!”
That’s how I “don’t react” react. To many things. I’ve come to see myself wryly (but no longer proudly) as a “master of the delayed reaction.”
So my initial response to anything carries no credibility. I often have to wait a few days—or even longer—to find out what I think!
Anybody else out there like me? Even if not, what erupts, early or late, in some future crisis you find yourself in, might totally flabbergast you.
However, sooner or later, all this helps reveal what’s going on inside, and eventually, what you really feel, think, and believe.
As for believing lies, and identifying what particular lies we are believing, and how we came to believe them… that’s somewhat a work of art, too. (More about that in a future post.)