Wednesday, May 8, 2013

intimacy

I've been thinking a lot lately about the whole idea of intimacy.  Particularly about what it really is and how it is created and nurtured; as well as what are obstacles and hindrances to the cultivating of intimacy in relationships.  I have a suspicion, that like most things, if we consider how intimacy is developed and grown between people, it will help us begin to know some of the dynamics and design of intimacy with God. 

The word intimacy comes from Latin intimus, referring to what is interior or inside.  Thus intimacy happens when we reveal and expose our insides to one another.  It requires mutual disclosure; by its very nature it is never a one way street.  This is particularly true as we consider our intimacy with God.  "The big and hidden secret [of the gospel]," Richard Rohr writes, "is this: God seeks and desires intimacy with the human soul.  Once you experience such intimacy, only the intimate language of lovers describes what is going on for you: mystery, tenderness, singularity, nakedness, risk, ecstasy, incessant longing, and, of course also, suffering.  This is the mystical vocabulary of the saints."

God longs for intimacy with us, therefore He discloses or reveals Himself to us; not merely ideas or theological concepts about God, but He actually shows us Himself.  He opens His infinite heart and allows us to see inside.  And His desire in doing so is that it might completely capture ours in return, and give us the desire and the courage to disclose ourselves to Him.  Not that He needs us to do that; obviously He knows us better than we know ourselves.  Our disclosure is more about what happens in us as we open up to Him; it grows this Divine intimacy within us.  Therefore I must stay attentive to both movements; to how God is revealing and disclosing Himself to me and how I am intentionally and courageously revealing and exposing myself to Him...two steps in an incredibly beautiful dance.

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