Life Connection Counseling | Living Life Three inches Deep
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Living Life Three inches Deep

Living Life Three inches Deep

I recently had a client lamenting the fact that her mother didn’t seem to know how to get beyond surface deep.  That no matter how much her daughter wanted to share with her on a deeper more intimate level, the mother would always revert to surface talk.  The daughter was frustrated by the inability to have a quality relationship with her mother and the judgemental nature of their conversations.

I found myself saying to her, “You, know some people only live three inches deep.  They will not allow themselves to go beyond that depth for fear of touching on issues or emotions that they don’t know how to deal with.”


We continued on with our session, and talked about pain in her mother’s past, and what she could be avoiding.  But throughout the next week I found myself preoccupied with the concept of “three inches deep.”

As helpers, we have people who come to us that are hungry and thirsty for emotional, relational, or spiritual healing.  They may or may not have the tools to deal with their pain, but they are desperate to grasp those tools.

But, we also are confronted with people that are in pain or are causing pain to people around them, who are unwilling or unable to go beyond the surface level of their problems or lives to receive real healing.

As a “want- to-be gardener,” I view these people as bedding plants.  They appear beautiful on the surface and can tolerate most normal conditions and survive and blossom well.  But, they have shallow roots and have difficulty sustaining in times of trial or difficulty.  They receive all their nutrients and moisture from the surface and top soil.  They don’t have the root system to go deeper.

“Many people with painful pasts believe they can exist only by shutting the pain of the past away and find satisfaction in the material or surface things of life.”

They are preoccupied with life on the surface – success, appearance, and comfort because that is where their sustenance is.  When life circumstances challenge them, they may become introspective momentarily, but fear quickly drives them back to the surface and to an unexamined life.

Psalms 1 talks about the life that we can have in the Lord, that goes beyond the surface.  We can be trees that have a deep root system and endure challenging times because we  have tapped into a source on a deeper level.

But, as family members and helpers, we must accept the fact that not every one is willing to go to that deeper level.  Jesus said, “The poor  will always be with you.” Richness in life comes from experiencing the fullness of life- the goods, bads, shallows and depths.  But, many people with painful pasts believe they can exist only by shutting the pain of the past (and the present for that matter) away and find satisfaction in the material or surface things of life.

We can challenge them to look deeper. We can live a life that models a deeper walk. We can even grieve what they are missing in life.  But, we cannot change them.   Our role is to accept them for who they are, and to be prepared if or when, they are ready, to lead them into a deeper walk.


Janis Sharpe

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