This past Sunday, Pastor Bill encouraged us to pursue the intimacy that we were designed for: a closeness and unity with God and with other people. This got me thinking about my own relationships.
All my life I’ve craved deep relationships. When I was a student, I desired friendship with my teachers. I looked up to them and wished I could spend more time with them. When I was working in the corporate world, I saw people who seemed to have it all together. They were effective, professional, confident. I wanted to know them better, to become like them.
But it wasn't just people I admired that I wanted to know better. Everywhere I went, I met people who walked around in a cloud of sadness or despondency, anxiety or angst. I longed to spend time providing comfort and listening to their stories, to understand why they felt that way.
And always, always, I yearned for someone to understand me, to accept me with all my quirks, to see things the way I saw them and to share my interests and passions.
Intimacy. To know someone, and to be known.
So simple, and yet it doesn’t seem that way in practice. Today it occurred to me that part of the reason it isn’t easy is because it’s not the same for all relationships. The Bible gives us a lot of principles that we are to apply to everyone: love everyone, seek peace with everyone, pray for everyone. But when it comes to intimacy, it varies depending on the relationship.
Jesus and the Father are “one” (John 10:30). He modeled for us the sort of relationship we should seek with God. Your heavenly Father already knows everything about you, but it’s when you acknowledge it and invite Him into all the corners of your life that transformation can happen. It’s when you chase after God, searching the scriptures to see how He interacted with people, getting to know how He feels about different topics, that you have a chance to know God and learn to think like He does.
There is no one on earth that will ever know you as well as God does. Treasure this relationship, and make the most of it!
God gave humanity a special arrangement when He designed us to be male and female. He created the opportunity for us to “become one flesh” with another human being. The unity we experience in marriage is unique and precious in all our human relationships. The pursuit of that unity provides a crucible in which many of our imperfections are brought to light and given a chance to change.
And as a result of God’s design for marriage and reproduction, families were born. (You see what I did there? Hee hee.) The closeness we have in families is a product of the time we spend together growing up and living life daily together.
Friendships are another special relationship, and the book of Proverbs tells us that friends can be even closer than family. Friendship is an intentional choice to invest in another person your time, attention, empathy, vulnerability, and other resources. This investment produces a loyalty to that person and adds weight to their opinions. Friends can have a huge impact on our way of thinking, and this can provide tremendous strength or cause distractions and setbacks. Choose your friends wisely.
Fellow believers are another category of relationship the Bible talks about. In Galatians 6:10 it says we should do good to all, and especially to other believers. Throughout the New Testament, we are encouraged to be of “one mind” with other believers.
Given all of this, understand that you will not have the same level of intimacy with every person in your life. Some you will get to know very well, and some you will not. Some you will share your heart with but they will not open up to you. Expect some variation.