Have you ever seen a picture of an entire iceberg? Icebergs float on the water with only about ten percent of their mass showing above the water line. That means about ninety percent of their mass is present but unseen. If ships are not careful as they navigate through iceberg fields, the “invisible” ninety percent becomes an extreme hazard. Simply observing what’s on the surface of the water can prove fatal.
The iceberg is a poignant representation of two aspects of our lives: the obvious parts and the veiled parts. Most of us are experts at polishing what’s above the water line – the parts of our lives that are on display – but we often neglect to look below the surface. And just like ships navigating, it’s an extreme hazard for us to neglect what’s hidden beneath the surface in our lives. God is challenging us to look below the surface and attend to what’s unseen.
What is “beneath the surface” in our lives? Perhaps we’ve gone through tremendous loss or hardship but have not taken time to heal. Or maybe God is calling us into deeper relationship with Him, but doing so requires sacrifices we’d rather not make. Or perhaps we’ve chosen to avoid knowing people deeply so we don’t have to be vulnerable. The veiled parts of our lives can hide fear, pain, and pride that we might not even be aware of.
We may also harbor habits that keep our lives focused on the surface. For example, social media exacerbates our tendency to stay above the water line. We might view others’ surface-level posts and compare ourselves harshly. Or perhaps we shift conversations away from deep or controversial topics if they begin to evoke emotion in us.
However, God doesn’t want us to avoid what’s beneath the surface of our lives. He wants us to attend to what’s happening in our hearts. Just like King David, we would do well to invite God’s intervention in our lives: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Our ability to live healthy, spacious lives comes from our commitment to attend to what’s beneath the surface.