We Need Intimacy With God and People Like We Need Water. This is the only environment where your heart can be healthy and you can grow into Christian maturity.
Understanding how to walk out intimacy in relationships is a huge key to growing in the Fathers love and to all growth and freedom from counterfeit affections.
Roger felt like he just couldn’t connect to a sense of God’s presence and His love. He said it feels just like it did so often growing up. His mom would be yelling and critical and unwilling to listen to what he was trying to say. Roger fought regular feelings of loneliness and discouragement.
Growing up in a shame-based family means growing up under the microscope of judgment. Any mistake could get you “the look” that communicates something is wrong with you. This teaches us to keep a wall around our heart all the time. We end up with an “us versus them” mentality and walk around with an “angry edge.”
The key to growing in emotional health is the ability to hold our heart open in day-to-day life. This will evidence in intimate relationships with people in our families and communities. We will be able to be vulnerable with each other, gracious, flexible and compassionate.
Without healthy intimate relationships in our lives we will turn to counterfeit affections – “things” to find intimacy with. This could be a relationship with food, drugs and alcohol, spending, or even workaholism. It can even be hyper-religious activity. Because we were made for intimacy, our heart will seek that connection of comfort somewhere.
So many families, even longtime Christian families, communicate only on the level of “news sports and weather.” There really is no heart-to-heart sharing of dreams, challenges, and vulnerabilities. This can take a number of different expressions. It can be sarcasm, joking, or mocking others. It can be postulating or stating certain absolutes that I accept or don’t accept in an attempt to protect myself. There’s often fight or flight, silence or violence, derogatory remarks, demeaning statements, bigoted or critical remarks, or the silent treatment – “no go” areas of things that I’m not willing to discuss.
I worked with Roger to find forgiveness and even compassion toward his mom. He was able to accept the fact that she did the best she could, that she was on her own path to healing. This included God speaking to his heart there was never anything wrong with him and that God had never abandoned him. This freed Roger to build a more intimate relationship with God, his family and others.
So this is a step beyond just dealing with our hurtful experiences. This is the active building of intimate relationships with family and the people God places in our path. This is moving forward in our maturity. Building and walking in healthy, intimate relationships brings fulfillment to our hearts.