When you see the word Intimacy what comes to mind?
Sex, physical touch & romance are the usual suspects.
What about emotional intimacy? What is it, what does it look?
Emotional intimacy is the ability to connect with another person on a deep level. It is the willingness to be intentional and effortful in knowing and being known by another.
Intimacy occurs when we seek out another person, not for what we will get in return but rather knowing, discovering, giving and growing in faith, knowledge and trust with another.
In this process there is a mutual sharing of information, dreams, hurts, disappointments and desires.
Intimacy is walking through the daily ness of life with another and choosing to allow your hearts to intersect with Jesus.
Emotional intimacy is a choice, and it is risky.
Intimacy requires being vulnerable, taking risks with your heart and trusting that the other person is willing and capable of being trustworthy in return.
Emotional intimacy can occur between any two people who are open and willing to expose their hopes, dreams & desires while holding tenderly the heart of another.
It is something that has to be cultivated over time and requires effort and reciprocity.
Emotional intimacy is not a new concept. The Old Testament spoke of “covenant friendship”. I believe that these two are very similar and close to the heart of God.
David and Jonathan shared a deep connection in the Old Testament.
Ruth and Naomi formed a bond that surpassed family lineage and common sense. They shared a common heart that allowed them to love deeply and sacrificially.
I have known the blessing and privilege of this shared heart. I feel privileged to say that I share emotional intimacy with my husband. I also have benefited from deep, intentional relationships with women in my life over the last 20 years.
All relationships involve risk. When you expose your heart and are vulnerable to another, you open yourself to the possibility of being hurt. I have experienced deep loss and betrayal of a dear friend with whom I had shared deeply and the pain was excruciating.
The pain and grief that came with the loss of this friendship rocked my world and caused me to question if the risk was worth it.
During those times I cried out to the Lord. Why did I trust, why did this betrayal cut to the quick?
Eventually I was able to thank Him for the opportunity and experience to grow, to risk, to love and to know and to be known.
We were not intended to embark on our faith journey alone.
And now, a word of caution…
Intimacy in relationship is a wonderful thing, but be careful. When we pursue intimacy with others in order to get our needs met rather than going to God with our hearts we set ourselves up for failure and we place a crippling expectation on the other person.
Our God is a jealous God. He created us to be in relationship with Himself, to reflect His glory and to worship Him. He wants our undivided love and adoration and apart from Him, our deepest needs will remain unmet and unsatisfied.
I am thankful to have a few faithful friends in my life that hold my confidences, share my joys, pray with me in my struggles and love me in spite of who I am.
The Lord has blessed me with a tapestry of beautiful friends with whom I can share my life. Each one holds a unique part of my heart.
I met for coffee this morning with one such sister that I will refer to as “Sweet’s”. I shared with her a dream I have been too afraid to utter to another, and now I will share here with you.
I believe God is calling me to go to the “SheSpeaks” conference, which is part of Proverbs 31 Ministries. It is for women who desire to speak and write in a manner that encourages women’s hearts to know, follow and trust the Lord and to glorify the Lord God with the gifts He has given.
I am in the process of applying for scholarship to attend this conference in North Carolina. I will be posting some information soon on how you can help. I would appreciate your prayers as I pursue this opportunity.
Grace & Peace to you as you follow your dreams ~ Karen