Friday, October 25, 2013

Celebration Friday

This week I'm celebrating intimacy! The stunning gift in this slow work of God, that transforms our hearts to truly connect.  I never tire when I take time to ponder the wonder of the Trinity.  It's profound that God created us, literally birthed us, out of the synergistic life experienced as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It's because of this mutuality shared in by our Lord (and it's mystery) that we can experience renewal and vision for deeper intimacy with one another.

So let's review Wednesday's post and celebrate a few more things related to intimacy:

1) Vulnerability. Each person has to be open to the risk.

2) Authenticity. You can't bond with the false. You have to be committed to the work of learning who your authentic self is and isn't. 

3)  Mutual trust and openness. Trust is built over time and continues to build one experience upon the other upon the other. Think of it like block time. When I play legos with Emma in her playroom, we start with the foundation. She may not be aware of it cause she's still learning, but Auntie Sue knows we gotta put extra blocks on the bottom and spread them out so the blocks above will remain secure. This is why the beginning of any relationship is so important. First impressions aren't everything but they're powerful. The thing that drew me to Mr. F was not that he was perfectly articulate, a smooth talker, and romantic schmoozer. No, it was his heart. His commitment to making himself fully present, listening attentively, and being clear that he wanted to see me again and enjoyed my company.  I felt safe and secure around him.

4)  Which leads to this, intimacy is built when you feel safe not threatened or attacked.  I've seen my fair share of volatile relationships. The counseling office reveals a lot, often more than I want to see and I have to ask Jesus to blanket me in his security when I feel wobbly in that place.  I've watched countless women pull further and further away from their husband's because they're tired of feeling diminished and the power struggle gets really old. I also see countless men in the same boat when their wife feels insecure and goes on a complaining rant, sucking more and more life away. It's a terrible dance. But each person has the power, and this is the hope, to change their part of the dance. My belief is that only happens when a trusted friend, counselor, and truth giver outside the situation can reflect Jesus' invitation in the midst of the struggle.  I believe countless marriages would be saved if couple were willing to submit to this process.

5)  Finally, (and I can't take credit for this it was all Mr. F), growing intimacy is tender. It's much more like a curtain being slowly pulled back than a wall being demolished. We often talk about walls being torn down, and sometimes it has to get to that for us to soften. But what if intimacy could be tender, gentle, inviting, alluring us into transformation? 

What I'm not saying is that it's easy. No this is hard. Very hard. As in the road less traveled. The walls coming down is a gradual work and for me it felt like demolition took place rather abruptly. However, I like what Mr. F is suggesting. Once I wasn't so self-protected, Jesus' pursuit was very tender, alluring, and life-giving.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.  And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt." (Hosea 2:14,15)

In Corinthians, Paul infers that Jesus does this in our lives. Because of his atoning work, the veil (referring to the Jewish temple's curtain that protected the holy of holies) has been pulled back and we have access to His Presence. 

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." (II Corinthians 3:18)

Now if you remember, His Presence changes things. E v e r y t h i n g.

I believe the truest intimacy, the most authentic lives, the most alluring people should be followers of Christ. They may not be, but it's Jesus dream for us. Just read John 17.

How incredible! How scary and spectacular! Jesus makes intimacy possible. And while there are degrees of it (even Jesus only had a couple he was super close to), He makes the path possible to j o y. 

So wherever you are, whatever you're facing, ask Jesus to slowly pull back more of that curtain and reveal the capacity he's given you, this new heart and new kingdom way, to risk connecting.  I promise j o y will be quick to meet you!


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