Well, I’m just jumping right in. The first thing I must do is disrupt the way we all think about the word intimacy. Culturally, we tend to think intimacy is synonymous with a physical relationship. But we all know it’s possible to have a sexual relationship and yet not be intimate with someone. So please purge that from your mind. I’d like you to change the way you think about intimacy.
Years ago, my best friend, Ruthie, called me out in front of a group of people I didn’t know. Addressing me with the fond nickname I’d had since high school, linked to my maiden name Murphy, she said, “Murph’s uptight and conservative...” I honestly don’t know what she said after that. A heated surge of anxiety and embarrassment coursed through me, and I couldn’t tune into what came after the shameful proclamation.
It was true. I was uptight and conservative. But that wasn’t really who I was. That was just my response to being broken. It was the way I tried to cover my pain and fragility. The way I tried to control things. Let’s face it, uptight and conservative isn’t how most of us want to be known. We’d rather be known as fun, kind, easy-going.
I was stunned and silent. She knows? She knows. Hmmmmm… and she still keeps me around. She still keeps me close. Still sees my friendship as valuable. Because, and here’s the word that may startle you, we had an intimate friendship.
You see, my dear friend knew the real me beneath the public assessment.
We had years of history behind us. Life-altering tragedies had rocked both our young worlds and bonded us together. Years of living real, raw life together. Years of listening to each other’s hearts, not knowing how to fix but wanting to be present. Years of letting life fill in around the tragedies as we walked out our days in closeness. She saw what I portrayed, yes. But she also knew the real me. The wounded, tender-hearted soul.
Though Ruthie jarred me with this description, almost instantly, there was freedom for me to stop hiding myself. This was during the time when God first had my attention. Pretty quickly, I knew this translated to my relationship with Him.
I’d been trying for years to curate my image with Him. If I couldn’t be seen the way I thought I should be seen, then I’d just keep my distance until I got myself prettied up enough to start a relationship with Him.
But here’s the thing. Like my friend, He already knows all about me. The good. The bad. The ugly. And He knows all about you, too. Can I show you something that’s overlooked in scripture and yet it’s the key to understanding the heart of our Daddy God?
We all know John 3:16. We recite it from memory and without much thought. “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whosoever would believe would not perish, but would have eternal life.”
Right. Got it. We could say this in our sleep.
But here’s what most of us don’t know. Jesus wasn’t talking about eternity. He said we would have “eternal life.” A few chapters later, in John 17:3, Jesus tells us exactly what “eternal life” is, in an almost dictionary-style definition: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”
So eternal life is knowing the One, True God and the One He sent. His Son, Jesus Christ.
But wait. There’s more. Because knowing, in the Hebrew culture, is much more. It means to have a close, personal, intimate relationship. If we put all of this together, John 3:16 says:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His One and Only Son, that whosoever would believe would not perish, but would have a close, personal, intimate relationship with the Father and The One He sent.
There is so much freedom when we understand our Abba already knows all about us. He knows your struggles. He knows the real, raw, authentic you. The wounded, tender-hearted you who tries to cover your pain and fragility. He’s seen you at your worst and He’s seen you at your best. He knows the thoughts you think. And like my precious friend had for me, He has a special name for just for you. An intimate name. You are known. You are loved. And He longs to hold you so close there is no light between you and Him.
Will you come in close to Him? Will you let Him show you who He is and what He is like? Will you come near, open His Word, and learn all about the One who knows all about you? Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, I want Him to pursue me.”
Beloved reader, it’s Christmas. At this time of year, we tend to think of our traditions and the music and the feelings and the family and the food. The gifts and the parties. Or maybe the loneliness and the lack. But don’t forget. Christmas is what our Abba did to pursue a relationship with each of us. With me. With you.
He set aside His Divinity, wrapped Himself in flesh, hid Himself in the most unexpected place, the womb of a virgin. We may think of the birth of Jesus as a quaint, nativity scene. But can I tell you? It marked a new season in human history. It was an invasion. It was a painful, bloody, and stealth entrance into territory occupied by our enemy. The Creator of the Universe held nothing back, not even His Son, in order to pursue you. To destroy the barrier of sin that’s kept you from Him. To carry you into a life lived with His Presence.
Why? Because He wants a close, personal, intimate relationship with you. Your Daddy longs to be locked in a bear hug with you.
But intimacy must be mutually pursued.
My oldest daughter is not a hugger. I wrap my arms around her and squeeze with all my strength. She stands, arms at her side, and bellows in protest. And yet, she doesn’t pull away. She stands still. I know her. I know she really loves me to hug her. I take hold of her arms and make them wrap around me, too. If she is near enough for me to get hold of her, she’s near enough. And she’s getting hugged. And that, my dear reader, is all your Daddy wants from you. He knows every detail about you. You aren’t hiding anything from Him. Let the freedom of that bring you near enough for Him to grab hold of you. Don’t hide or try to disguise yourself. Don’t wait until you’ve got it all together. Come now! He has open arms for you. He’s been waiting.
2 Peter 1:2 (Amp) Grace and Peace be multiplied to you in the true, intimate knowledge of God and Jesus Christ our Lord.
Eph 1: 17 (Amp) I always pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that gives you a deep and personal and intimate insight into the true knowledge of Him.
As a Christian life coach, it’s my honor to help you discover that intimacy He wants with you. I invite you to schedule a complimentary, 30-minute “Virtual Coffee Chat” to see if my coaching ministry may be helpful to you. You can do this on my website Bridget Anderson Coach.
And, if you’re looking for a speaker for your next women’s event, please contact me at Bridget Anderson Public Speaking. I’d be honored to teach at your gathering.