Intimacy Can Be Messy

What does intimacy look like?

I’m not talking about physical intimacy. I’m talking about knowing and trusting someone so deeply as to be unafraid to be completely honest with them – knowing that they will not reject you no matter what. Even more than that kind of intimacy with another individual, I am talking about our relationship with God.
What does that intimacy look like? I had an encounter this morning that surprised me.

Unable to sleep, I found myself early this morning (like 4:30 early) sitting in front of my computer trying desperately to put into words even a little of what has been brewing inside me for the past several months. I failed.

Over and over again I would write a few lines only to delete them and start over in a different direction. Nothing seemed to even begin to convey what is trying to scratch and claw its way out of me.

After repeated attempts to share what is in my heart without sounding like I was complaining, I finally stopped. I deleted what was on the screen in front of me and took my hands off the keyboard.

I lowered my head as my heart began to utter the words I had been afraid to write. The contents of my heart came gushing out with tears as I turned my conversation away from you (my readers) and squarely onto my Lord.

As the tears and words poured forth, detailing all the things I am weary and frustrated from and the things I wish were different in my life, they were not met with the anticipated reprimand for feeling that way or for being selfish. Instead came that familiar soothing, strong and gentle voice that simply said to me, “This is intimacy.” I could almost feel His arms around me. Relief flooded every part of me as I breathed in deep and exhaled, realizing that He was not angry with me about the way I feel. In fact, He loves it when I am deeply honest with Him. This is the intimacy that He desires to have with every one of us.

True intimacy is about honesty, vulnerability and trust. It allows me to stop hiding behind the words and behaviors that are “expected” of me (whether by myself or others) and frees me to not only love, but to be loved – warts and all.

Intimacy with God is not just about spending time reading His word and listening for His voice. It isn’t even just about engaging in personal worship. All these things are good and necessary aspects of a deepening and growing relationship with Him. But the truest intimacy comes when we are totally vulnerable and honest about who we are and what is inside. This level of intimacy provides a safe place for everything that is hiding in the heart to come out – the good, the bad and the ugly (of which we all have some measure of). There is nothing we can tell God that catches Him off guard or takes Him by surprise. He already knows it all anyway.
What I experienced this morning brought me even closer to Him. It reminded me that it’s okay to question and wonder about where this journey is taking me, and it’s okay to sometimes be frustrated about not understanding why the process He is working out in me is taking so long. These things do not threaten Him or diminish His omnipotence in any way. They simply reveal that I am still a work in progress and that my dependence on Him is great.

In these moments, when I am tearfully telling Him what is inside, He holds me close and reminds me that we are in this thing together and that I need only to lean on Him and trust Him to navigate me through.

True intimacy with God can be messy, but it changes us – and that’s a mess I can live with.

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