Intentional Intimacy

20160828_070927

We live in a world that (for the most part) equates intimacy with sexual expression. But in reality, intimacy is so much more than what we do with our bodies.

Someone who knows you intimately is aware of both sides of your coin. We like to show people the good side, the happy side, the positive side, the peaceful side, the confident side. But when we get behind closed doors, we let our guard down and relent to the parts of our personality we spend the vast majority of our existence keeping locked away.

In our quiet time alone we feel ancient pain and allow fresh tears to fall. We admit how we truly feel about ourselves and confront all of our weaknesses. No matter how fleeting, we all come undone at some point. If you live long enough, you will encounter your own weakness, and you will experience the imperfection of humanity.

But every morning before they go to work, billions of people gather all of their flaws, all of their shame, all of their anger and sadness, and zip it back up inside themselves. We have grown skillful at trying to convince others that what they see is all we are, but it’s not. This is never true.

I do not believe that you can say someone intimately knows you until they have seen your depravity, seen your pain, seen your flaws, and made a decision to love you anyway.

You cannot be intimate with someone you’re not honest with.

To be FULLY known, yet FULLY loved, is intimacy.

I can explain this in the context of human relationships, but the relationship I’d like to focus on is the one we have with our Heavenly Father. I think we forget that that’s exactly what He is: a Father.

I grew up in church, and until my late teenage years I was always a little anxious about prayer. I always felt like I was doing it wrong. It wasn’t until I reached a complete breaking point in my life, a point where I wasn’t that close to Yahweh, but knowledge of Him still kept me from going completely awry, that I was completely honest on my knees.

I metaphorically poured out my soul in a literal bathroom shower stall. I needed help, and I didn’t know how to get to this place in my spiritual life that the older people always talked about. I was ashamed, and angry, and lonely, and sad, and confused. And I felt so far from Yahweh that I doubted He was even listening to my prayers, but I couldn’t stop the frantic words I was saying that were directed toward Him.

I let it all out, and I used some phrases and words I have never heard anyone say in prayer. I was real in that shower. And for the first time in my short life, I felt release at the end.

With that prayer, I felt myself take a step back toward my Father, and it felt good.

I wish I could tell you that I completely stayed the course after that, but I didn’t. I walked back and forth toward Yahweh and away from Him every year after that prayer. I would have seasons of free and open communication with Yahweh, and seasons of radio silence. I would have seasons where prayer and bible reading were a part of my daily routine, and month where I couldn’t even find my bible and couldn’t remember how to pray.

It wasn’t until this year that I really made a decision to not just let Yahweh be a friend to me, but to be a friend to Him. And I didn’t want any kind of relationship – I wanted an intimate one. The Bible says that before He formed me in my mother’s womb, He knew me.

Before I was a speck in someone’s eye, He knew me by name and nature. Before I would ever willfully walk away from Him, despise His council, choose people and things above Him, and pursue things that would break His heart, He had already made a decision to love me unconditionally anyway.

I want to be very clear about this. You don’t scare Yahweh. And I don’t mean that in a bossy way, I mean it in the most personal way possible. I mean it in the kind of way where we withhold our worst from people we love because we don’t want to scare them away. You do not have to do that with Him.

Your heart condition, your physical and mental state, your financial ruin, your broken family, your anger issues, your irresponsible tendencies, your addictions, your inclinations, your ego, and your utter confusion does not scare Yahweh one bit.

He is not only aware of, but intimately acquainted with the depth of every single aspect of your character – even the ones you desperately try to hide or are unaware of – and He still sent His only son to die so that you would have a chance at relationship with Him. He is still standing with arms wide open, and a heart full of love directed toward you, no matter where you currently find yourself.

But you will only be able to experience the true depth of this love when you choose to be involved in intimate relationship with Him. And intimacy doesn’t just come about – it takes time.

We know from our romantic relationships that you don’t get to know someone and grow affectionate toward them by blowing them off the vast majority of the time, choosing everything and everyone else over them all the time, and speaking to them on an inconsistent basis (read: only when you want something).

No, you have to invest quite a lot of your most precious possession: your time.

If you’re growing to love someone, you are more than likely speaking with them multiple times a day. You think about them all of the time, and you want to be around them.

It’s the same way with our spiritual life. You won’t happen upon it one day, you have to be intentional about it. You have to make time to spend in the Word and talking to Yahweh. It’s amazing how one conversation with Him can completely change your perspective and lift your spirits.

You are the apple of His eye. You are His favorite child. You are his beloved offspring. And all He wants is to be at the forefront of your life, not because He needs to be, but because He knows you need Him to be.

I had a revelation a few weeks ago that expressing love for Yahweh and fostering friendship with Him is simply choosing Him. I mean think about it. We make hundreds of decision a day. We choose when to leave bed, what to wear, what songs to listen to on the way to work, which route to take, which seat to sit in on the bus, which emails to answer, who to speak to in the lunch room, what time to leave.

We choose things all the time.

But how many times in a day do we involve Yahweh in our decision-making? How many times are we presented with opportunities to be disciples, to share love and grace, to compliment a despondent coworker and make her day, to tell an intern how well they are doing, to offer a word of encouragement to a stressed out supervisor, to give our spouse or children a little more affection than usual, to say a quick prayer for someone else for a change, and we choose not to take it because we’re preoccupied with our own issues?

I’m guilty of this as well. We all are. But what we don’t realize is that it’s in these moments – when we show love to one another – that we are showing love for our Father. We grow closer to Him by choosing Him, even in the smallest things.

We water the intimacy when we choose to turn off the tv, put down the phone, and spend some time in prayer and meditation. We find that we are more peaceful, more steadfast, more driven, more filled with light and hope when we spend time with Yahweh. We see this in physical relationships all the time. When two people spend a lot of time together, they begin to take on one another’s character and personality traits. They begin to change because with intimacy comes influence. When you spend time with Yahweh, you start to look more and more like Him. The only difference is, we sometimes take the good and bad from our partners, in Yahweh there is no bad. He freely gives of Himself to us, and we find ourselves transforming into different people – people that we don’t even recognize.

I can write freely about this because I found myself drifting further and further away from Him the past few weeks. It’s an ebb and flow on my end, and I stopped giving of my time. I stopped speaking to Him. I stopped seeking Him in His Word. I stopped choosing Him.

But much like that encounter in the shower stall, I found my way back on my knees on my bedroom floor. I poured myself out again, only this time I knew He was listening.

Yahweh isn’t like us.

He doesn’t turn us away after we’ve hurt Him and declare that He doesn’t have to take this anymore.

Yahshua’s death meant that every single time you find yourself lost with nowhere to turn, and you sincerely long for the intimacy of your Father’s arms, they are waiting for you, warm and willing to receive you.

Whether you choose to leave the safety, consistency, and intentionality of that embrace is completely up to you. But just know it was never Him who left, it was you who chose to.

I may not know you or your story, but I know this. I serve a Father who is big enough to handle everything you will ever face, and strong enough to walk with you through every dark place, every low place, every heartbreak, every rejection, every wrong decision, every poor choice, and it will never change His opinion of you.

The more time you spend with Him the more your appetite changes. Your idea of what’s fun will change. Your taste in music and television will change. Your thought life and relationships begin to change. Yahweh doesn’t stay confined to one part of our life – He is concerned with and wants to be involved in every, single aspect of who you are.

Intimacy requires that we let Him in – that we sit with Him and tell Him how we feel. It requires that we are completely honest with ourselves and with Him. We cannot hide from Yahweh and expect to be close to Him. Give Him a chance to show you what He can do in and through you if you’d only get close enough.

We spend our time strengthening so many other relationships, and indulging in so many other frivolous activities. Why not try spending your time doing something that will literally heal your soul? I am telling you, drawing near to Yahweh was the best decision I have ever made, and choosing to remain in intimate relationship with Him is the best decision I make every single day of my life.

Try Him. Choose Him. Be intentional about this relationship. You won’t regret it, I promise.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s