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  • Katie Smith


Most people aren't comfortable talking about intimacy, which makes perfect sense because the word is characterized by an atmosphere conducive to privacy. We don't share personal information with everyone, so we don't share intimacy with everyone. However, the word "intimate" also means: "associated in close personal relations, a familiar experience, or warmly cozy." In other words, intimacy involves a person feeling so connected and so comfortable that no obstacle hinders their communication. And this type of intimacy leads to unity.

Living in an RV with six people provides its own type of intimate space-- we are sharing a familiar experience all the time. A fellow homeschool mom recently said that I must have more patience than she does if I am willing to share such close quarters with my kids... 24/7. But my tolerance for tight spaces with my kids is in NO WAY superior to anyone else. In fact, I'd argue that my capacity for claustrophobia is much higher. However, I do think our preference for intimate relationships grows as we grow. And we mature as we embrace our calling, however hard it may be.

If you'd asked me five years ago if I'd like to spend a year on the road with all my kids, driving around the country, I'd anxiously reject the opportunity. Too tight, too much time, too little control. But God doesn't throw us into the deep end, He always gives us milk before solid food. When He calls us to something, He prepares us.

Christ didn't leave the disciples alone to figure out how to start the first church. We don't give our kids keys to our cars and say, "Good luck." And there's a learning curve that happens before any new job starts. If we plunge in too quickly, with little to no guidance, we usually crash and burn. But when we adjust to one thing at a time, we build calluses that change our perspective.

"He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

God gently leads us to the places where He wants us to live. And He gives us more and more of what we desire, even desires we didn't know we had. We sense a calling, a yearning, a desire for something else, something more, but only He knows when we are ready for that "more" to begin.

"Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." Matthew 13:12

Just as relationships can remain surface-level for an entire lifetime, we can also keep God at bay by not engaging intimately with Him our whole lives. It's fear of drowning that keeps us from going too deep. Fear always suffocates intimacy. However, when we feel the goodness and gentleness of the Lord as He dips our toes along the shoreline, we sense a trust that is due His name. Only then can we open up to the most intimate space. As our faith grows, our intimacy grow. Continuing to "date" God only leaves us jaded or burnt out from our own shallowness.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." 1 John 4:18

In the same way that our marriages suffer without intimacy, or our kids drift away without any in-depth conversations, we also lose our connection to God if we aren't intimate with Him. We won't grow to enjoy His abundant gifts if we keep Him an arms-length away.

"The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me." John 17:22-23

Christ always wanted unity--unity with God, unity with the Spirit, unity with the church. Unity equals intimacy. So if you're still drinking milk from a bottle, perhaps it's time to try some solid food. Let Him lead you into those hard, vulnerable spaces that He can fill accurately. Unity with God means an abundance of life. And intimacy with God means contentment in perfect unity.

~Carefully and Carelessly Intimate

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