One thing I have discovered about my life is that just about the time I think I might have it figured out a rude awakening slaps me upside the face. The rude awakening is typically a not-so-subtle reminder in some form that I have only begun to scratch the surface of whatever issue it might be about and that I’m going to have to dig deeper into the mind and heart of Joe Miller to find the roots. And, therefore, a sense of direction.
I remember some things about my younger years. One is how carefree life seemed to be. It was uncomplicated. I was uncomplicated. I was just a kid whose only want was to have fun. At that age I had no clue about what drama, as we use the term today, was. Basically, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I was very comfortable with that. Especially when that unknown knowledge had anything to do with me.
Adult life didn’t see a whole lot of change in my outlook. Since I had, as a rule, embraced simplicity as a standard, trying to figure myself (or others) out presented itself as an unwanted bother that could interfere with the carefree model I had adopted. I remained comfortable with not knowing what I didn’t know about myself. It was not a matter of ignorance is bliss, but rather a matter of “let’s not rock the boat” of my comfort zone.
Something happened heading into older adulthood that changed the whole dynamic of my desire for simplicity. Christianity found its place in my head and my heart. With that came change and the necessity for it on many levels. Something that became apparent right off the get-go was that if I were to embrace The Way as a new way of life, it wouldn’t be an event, but rather a process.
The process I speak of is actually a journey–a lifelong journey. It’s an introspective journey, in that while there is a myriad of external things that help mold and fashion one’s mind and heart, it is only through introspection where the dirty work is done. If we don’t dig in the dirt that is ours, that which makes us tick and forms the basis for who we are, the kind of heart change necessary for being the man made new won’t take place.
The key to digging into the dirt that is us is to embrace a need-to-know attitude about oneself. We can’t be satisfied with not knowing what we don’t know about ourselves. It starts with an understanding that what we see in ourselves, and consequently what others see in us, may not necessarily be a true representation of who we really are. We humans are excellent at manufacturing a variety of false selves suitable for display for all to see. This is a protective measure we have learned extremely well so much of the time.
Volumes have been written about what I just shared, and it makes for some fascinating study. In the simplest of terms, and to avoid chasing a series of connected rabbit-holes, let me share that true, honest, forthright, thorough, and continuing self-study is necessary to learn that there are things about us that need adjusting or change. It’s a constant digging process, and sometimes we will have to dig deep and keep on digging.
Surface mining is a lot like peeling the layers off of an onion. In mining, as each layer of dirt is removed, the operation is closer to the gold, so to speak. Our gold is the heart that God wants us to have. The only way for us to get to that heart and expose it to the light is to remove the layers of crap we have covered it with. Sometimes, for some of us, that involves a lot of pain and discomfort, because, after all, in our quest to expose our heart of hearts, we are also exposing all of the dirt that has been covering it–just like mining. We can’t hide the dirt. We must remove it.
Dig deep friends. Deep diggers desire freedom and know how to get it. Deep diggers don’t fear the pain or perceived shame and guilt. Deep diggers find joy and peace through digging. Deep diggers don’t deny themselves that opportunity. Dig deep friends.