“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
Intimacy with God and with others – this was the topic of the Sunday sermon a couple of weeks ago. It really hit home with me for a variety of reasons so I’ll try to unpack those here as best I can.
Our pastor repeatedly used the phrase “naked and unashamed” from Genesis 3 over the course of his sermon to describe intimacy. He also defined intimacy as “being our full self with people and with God.” (Listen to the full sermon here)
I have said before I sometimes have a hard time being honest before God because I can have a hard time even being truly honest with myself. And of course this spills over into the ways I relate to others in terms of vulnerability and authenticity.
In times of stress (when I so need intimacy with God and others) I can revert back to my old habits of avoiding and withdrawing – just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. However, since I am cognizant of this about myself, I am also intentional about trying to make better choices. And I can tell I have improved in this area over time which is encouraging!
Our pastor also said, “The reality is the intimacy with God and others takes work! But God is calling us to that work (on a vertical and horizontal level).” Work? But shouldn’t relationship and connection simply be easy and enjoyable? Not always, as I was reminded in something I read recently:
“Friendship, teamwork, encouragement, and just plain fun are only a few more benefits of living in community. It does take considerable courage and effort to initiate and maintain those connections, but since God created that desire in us, I believe He will help us pursue it.”-Mary Carver (Fast Talk and Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls)
Another interesting way Mary Carver’s devotional tied in with the Sunday sermon was on the topic of loneliness. Specifically when my pastor said, “broken intimacy often comes in the form of loneliness,” and then the devotional used a quote from Gilmore Girls where Kirk says, “I’m so damn lonely, not even Animal Planet does it for me anymore.”
The devotional also reminded us that in Gilmore Girls, Kirk shows up at everything the town of Stars Hollow offers and yet still feels so lonely. I think this depicts the truth behind my pastor’s idea that loneliness often comes because “we are chasing a picture of satisfaction someone else has given us.” I can relate to this view of loneliness all too well I’m afraid!
However, I also really liked a final thought in the sermon – “Take steps of intimacy and enter into the full life for which we are created” – because it ties in well with one of my favorite verses. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” As my blog title’s tagline suggests, I am constantly learning how to live life to the full myself.
So it seems a full life (or an abundant life as some translations put it) has quite a bit to do with intimacy. Therefore, let us seek to enter into this “work” to which God is calling us in order to fully live into the person God has created us to be – someone “naked and unashamed.”