Sunday, November 29, 2009

Unchiseled

"I Am" by Nichole Nordeman has been a favorite of mine since the song came out several years ago. The first time I heard it, I remember thinking, "That's it. That's exactly it." Now, a few (plus) years later, I still marvel over the intimacy in the words of that song. It's a relationship that goes beyond "Hi, how are you?" and really pushes deeply into the heart of what we need/desire as a functioning person.

I've never been any good at intimacy. For some reason, there is a "shutting down" point for me, and when we reach that point, I get uncomfortable, make a joke or just stop talking. I'm not sure why I'm this way, but sometimes I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with my lack of trust in people generally. Obviously, it transfers into all aspects of my life--prayer has suffered as a result.

After our women's Bible study, Stepping Up, I realized that the Psalms are a series of intimate conversations--sometimes appropriately shared, and sometimes so painstakingly private that I wonder we are allowed access to them at all. What I realized more than anything? Real life is lived on those pages. David is nothing if not real before God. He shares hurts, victories and fears. He's honest when he doesn't feel God's presence. He marvels in God's deliverance. More than anything, these pages capture a relationship that is highly developed and extremely intimate. These guys are friends--with a capital "f."

It has occurred to me over the past few weeks that, while I have been privvy to that amazing relationship, I haven't done much to rectify my relationship with the Almighty. Oddly enough, that paranoid "I-Won't-Be-Accepted" attitude can't and won't work as an excuse. I am expected to come before Him as myself--to share hurts, feelings, betrayals, joys, hopes and victories. The older I get, the more I realize that this Christian thing is meant to be intimate because we are meant to live in tandem with one another. It requires sharing. It means that sometimes we're going to see each other fail, but we need to see how failure is handled in order to grow. We're going to see joys, and we need to know how to live in that joy if we are going to grow.

As a fiercely independent child, I really only wanted to watch once, and then I demanded to "do it m'self." I've had the blessing of watching a thousand times over. Maybe when it comes to a deep intimacy with Christ and my brethren, it's time I demanded to "just do it" to quote Nike's catchphrase. I need to live alongside others, but I need to be actively living instead of allowing myself to be a bystander.

True intimacy is simple in concept, but more difficult in action. I never have been comfortable with the thought of myself laid completely bare. There's too much to pick at, and the unrefined is overwhelming. But sometimes I wonder how it's possible to truly be known if people don't understand those parts of me. It's even more of a marvel how God knows those things and loves me anyway. That gift alone is enough to make him omnipotent.

All those names for God in the Bible--each one defines a separate type of relationship--and yet I know Him in a very limited capacity. I'm ready for Him to show me anything--even if it means hiding me in the cleft so that I only see His back. It will be more than I've allowed myself to see after all this time.

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