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mosaic

Love is one of those words that requires a lot, if not everything from the one giving it. Love is hoped for, depended on, risked and longed for. Love is so strong. There are so many songs and movies that try and capture the essence of love’s power. There will never be enough to say about love. There will never be enough time to capture its essence either.

Love is also conscious. Love requires everything we’ve got.

A couple of years ago, my counselor taught me a principle that has stuck with me. We were talking about commandments in the bible. He told me that we are given commandments because there are things that do not come natural to us. For example, we are not given the commandment to breathe because our body just does that naturally. We do not have to constantly tell our eyes to blink. They just do.

Love is a commandment given by God. Love is something that does not come natural to us.

I wish it did, but it doesn’t. This truth brings a whole new light to the famous verses in Corinthians about love. Love has a list because it’s not natural to do.

Love is a choice.

I am sadly realizing how many people do not choose love any more. There is a lie in our culture that says you don’t have to stay in the hard. You can love whenever and however it suits your needs. Our culture is moving away from the heart of the one who created love. We are moving away from the one who created us to know and share in love. Sadly, our world is running on the fiction of love.

We have reduced love to a fairytale feeling, and the pursuit of happy, not faithful.

The reality of love is that it’s hard work. It does take conscious effort. There are times where love seems to be overflowing and very easy, but for the most part it takes effort. This is where the commandment comes in. God knew that the hard is where our human side comes into play, and that we would need a commandment to keep at it.

Love is no matter what.

Love is all the time and no matter what. Love is committed and faithful no matter what. Love is selfless and sacrificial. Those two words alone require everything I’ve got. Lord knows I am not good at choosing either one.

Love is no matter what because God has proven to love me that way. God has shown me that love is all the time, committed, and faithful. He laid down his life to show me that love is selfless and sacrificial. I can’t believe that love like this applies to me.

What are the challenges of this commandment for you?

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Lately I have been brewing over the word intimacy. This is a very intimidating word for me. In all honesty, intimacy scares me a lot. At the same time, I crave to know intimacy in very real ways. We all do. We are made in the image of a God who is perfect intimacy. We were created in his image to know and experience that kind of being known.

It makes me sad how often intimacy is only associated with sex. There is so much more to being known, and experiencing true intimacy,  outside of sex. Sex is one way of knowing someone deeply, but not the only way. I hope intimacy happens in a marriage relationship way before sex. Intimacy can be experienced in any relationship.

I wrestle with this word a lot. I cringe over being known in an intimate way. There is such risk in being known. My fears related with intimacy have to do with rejection. The more I am known, the more risk there is for  someone to walk away with my heart in hand. It takes me a long time to trust someone else with my heart. I am slow to let someone really know me. I feel the anxiety level rise in me as the level of intimacy grows deeper.

Intimacy is so bittersweet. I want to be known and loved in a deep way. I crave that from the Lord. He desires that level of intimacy with me. God desperately wants to have an intimate relationship with us.

I also desire to love deeply. I love loving other people. I love knowing people. I love the depth of another’s heart and passions. I love knowing what brings someone joy as well as what breaks their heart.

I have been thinking a lot this week about the intimacy I experience in my close friendships. I value the mutual level of being known that we share. I value knowing the little things that make up my friends. I love knowing what faces they make before crying. I am grateful for the many conversations we have that never require words. I love knowing what brings out their passions. I love knowing what down time looks like for each of them. I value knowing the intricate ways of how each of them feels loved and celebrated. I laugh at how much we talk alike.

Just as much I love knowing my friends, I value how much they know me. I love when they know the times I need to vent vs. wanting feedback. I love being cared for in a way that is only by being known. I love that they can honestly say they believe in me because they know my heart and passion. I am deeply grateful for these friends.

On the bittersweet side of this grateful coin, I have deep-seated fears that make intimacy messy for me. There is no hiding my fears as the intimacy levels in my relationship grow deeper. Intimacy requires my trust. Trust is a conscious effort for me, even with those close friends. Intimacy unveils my unedited heart rather than my rehearsed heart. Makes for a messy me. What makes a close friend close is their response of love and engagement on those messy levels of me. Intimacy becomes intimacy when the response is deeper love and not rejection. Do we always respond out of love, no. But intimacy works it out and stays engaged. That is terrifying to me.

There is a verse I love in scripture that captures God’s desire for intimacy with me. Psalm 25 states, “the Lord confides in those who fear him.” Confiding is an intimacy vocab word for me. I don’t confide in someone unless I trust them. I do not make my heart known unless there is a shared depth of understanding present. God wants to confide in us. God desires such an intimate relationship with us that confiding is a known level of communicating. I know I can tell when someone has an intimate relationship with the Lord. Come to think of it, I also can tell when someone has an intimate relationship with someone else.

Intimacy is being known and knowing another deeply. We are created with the desire for intimacy. I value intimacy very much. My hope is that others will see that in me, not just with others but with God as well.

What are your thoughts about intimacy?

Do you have intimate relationships in your life?

How are you known?

How do you know others?

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