In the last episode, I said, “If It’s not intimate, I don’t want it. I’ll talk about the intimacy thing next time.”
By last episode, I mean the last blog post. This is next time. Recap complete.
I’ve been pretty obsessed with the word “intimacy” for awhile now. I’m an introvert by nature yet I enjoy having my home open to people, I love serving in ministry, I have social media accounts, and I married an extremely lovable extrovert. All of those things combined equates to constant contact with lots of people.
This is where being a people pleaser bites me in the butt. Does anyone else feel an inner pressure to have meaningful relationships and keep in contact with everyone? If not that extreme, do you ever find yourself saying, “Oh, I need to hang out with ‘so and so’ more?” Do you ever find yourself needing to be on social media so you don’t miss out on things in peoples’ lives, but you don’t actually end up talking to them outside those hours on the screen? In the world we live in today, we have access to the highlights of so many peoples’ lives. Because of that, I sometimes feel an uncomfortable pressure to at least keep up with everyone (with minimal success), and have to gently remind myself that I do not have the capacity to actually look into what everyone is up to. There are not enough hours in a day to even dedicate one hour to each of my family members. There are not enough days in the year to even MEET with everyone in my friends’ list!
I can have lots of contacts. But I feel that I have the capacity for only a few real connections.
Even Jesus who came to save the world only walked with twelve.
Even Jesus whose every move was followed by crowds chose to take time alone with one, the Father.
As for me, I’m responsible for close connection with three(-ish), God, my husband, and my daughter(s) (I have a couple unofficially but spiritually adopted adult ones under my care).
The older I get the more convinced I am that my capacity for relationships is incredibly lower than I think it to be, which I suspect is how it’s actually designed to be. Even if I’m in contact or even community with many people, I do not have the capacity to invest in everyone, only a few. If I’m too busy trying to please everyone, I lose the energy it takes to have deeper and closer relationships with the few God has assigned me.
And I will not sacrifice my intimacy with my special three just to please the crowd around me.
My assignment for the crowd when it comes to preaching, teaching, and even posting is to point others to intimacy with the three in ONE, the trinity, God himself. Not to feed my own need for attention. It certainly won’t fill my need for genuine connection.
Throughout Scripture we see that while Jesus had compassion for the crowds, that the only people who heard all of his teachings were the disciples. Only the twelve surround him as he sleeps on a boat in the middle of a storm. Only eleven stay for the whole dinner in the upper room on the night of his betrayal. Only one is called the disciple Jesus loved. Only one walks on water.
And when Jesus is among the crowd, he chooses one man sitting in a tree, inviting himself to dinner at his house.
When Jesus is moving in a crowd, he pauses to look upon the woman who touched the hem of his garment for healing. He could have kept walking, adding her as another miracle to his list. She could have been just another loyal follower. But instead of letting the moment pass him by, he stopped to look for her that he might affirm her faith.
Even when in the crowd, Jesus’ teachings point people to love the Father. And then he finds a way to display what a relationship with the Father looks like- not just by teaching to the masses, but he shows that we can be face to face with the source of our hope and salvation. Salvation is not just available, it can come to our house and sit with us for dinner. It will stop in the middle of a busy street, just to declare that our faith is healing.
I could pull up some definitions of intimacy, but for the sake of time and the sleeping baby next to me, intimacy has been displayed in….
- and a pursuit to be undistracted by the crowd.
By smallness, I mean that I do not have to do outrageously big activities to have intimacy with my special three I mentioned earlier. Intimacy feels like cuddling on the couch next to hubby. It’s playing with baby Victory on the floor of our home. It’s opening my Word for a few minutes. It’s letting out a breath of gratitude while looking at our big tree with its willowy branches blowing in the breeze. It’s worship without production. It’s simple melodies coming out of my mouth in my living room. It’s dinners served on paper plates with a few friends. It’s wearing sweatpants on a Saturday, or any day. It’s making memories without any of the fussiness of making things feel picture perfect. It’s taking the time to send a prayer to someone via text because the baby is asleep. It’s late night laughs in the living room. It’s discovering how to comb the curls of Victory’s hair. It’s bath time. It’s breastfeeding baby Victory to sleep.
It’s not needing to record everything for social media.
By pursuit of being undistracted by the crowd, I mean warring against people pleasing in every form. I mean turning off the idolatrous, narcissistic and addictive world of social media. I’m unafraid and unashamed to admit that social media is just a straight up addicting place that fills up time, but not my soul. It fills up my time with others’ thoughts about God, tempting me not to actually form my own. It fills up my time with funny things that for a moment seem harmless, but repeated over and over again become the thing I turn to instead of the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I hear the Holy Spirit less when I’m overly active on social media. Social media takes away from time that could be spent reading, and filling my heart and mind with things that ACTUALLY fill me. It distracts me from my loved ones. It takes me out of moments that I can’t get back. (More on how I’m trying to re-define my usage of social media next time…)
I’d rather be present, undistracted, and completely enjoying the moments God gives instead of feeling the addictive compulsion to capture and post and share every element of my life just to entertain the crowd. I’d rather let some moments be sacred.
I’d rather let my daughter see my eyes delighting in her vs. the camera in her face.
Don’t get me wrong, I love photos and want to capture all those smiles and milestone moments. My daughter always has a camera around. But I really do try to be quick about it, so I may enjoy who she is now vs. fearing how much I’m going to miss this time later. I always want her to know that I’m in love with who she is exactly as she is at whatever age, whether a few months old and laying on my chest, or with teenage hormones awkwardly trying to figure out the big questions of her life.
I’d rather my husband see my eyes looking at him at the dinner table, vs. distracted by the text someone has sent me.
I’d rather fall asleep in my husband’s arms talking to him about the day vs. eventually falling asleep to the blue light of my phone.
I’d rather my family experience a mama that is not a slave to notifications on my phone or controlled by the running to-do list in my mind.
I’d rather start my day intentionally being in God’s presence by reading the Word vs. everything else.
Every morning as Victory wakes up I sing,
“In the morning when I rise, in the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus
Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus
You can have this whole world,
But Give me Jesus.”
And that’s intimacy for me right now, intentionally saying, “Jesus, what moments do you want me to have with you and my family? Moments that are not cultivated and captured simply for others to admire. Moments that are not about perfection. Moments that are just intimate, where presence is enjoyed. Where faith is affirmed. Where meals are eaten. Moments without distraction. Moments where we have forsaken the idols that cry out for our attention. Moments where the world can keep spinning, the crowd can keep passing by, but as for me and my house, we have stopped to be with Jesus.”
I pray that in your own ways, you may choose a life of intimacy over the idols of this world.
With Care, Rebekah