Have you ever felt all alone in a crowded waiting room or other public place? You know you are surrounded by people and yet, maybe you realize inside you are feeling isolated, or lonely, or forgotten…lost in your own thoughts. What do YOU instinctively do in those situations?
I remember coming out of a doctors appointment feeling pretty down and needing to schedule another one. I noticed the woman sitting at the desk had reading glasses that matched her scrubs. I commented on this and how cute she looked. She lit up with a smile and immediately launched into an animated conversation about how she has a set of glasses to match all her outfits as she made my next appointment. We both were laughing as we talked and I left the office feeling lighter.
In our fast paced, impersonal, technology driven world, I believe intimacy is one of the most challenging, and, rewarding gifts you can give yourself - or another! You simply have to be aware and notice what is happening within you, and around you. Chances are you’ll be able to spot this happening in others around you too!
I believe intimacy is an intentional, soulful connecting of our authentic, genuine self with another. All people, from the youngest to the oldest among us, need this kind of connecting. All it takes is being aware… stopping to notice… and then intentionally naming or acting on what you’ve noticed. Perhaps you might spontaneously reach out to someone and offer a compliment, a hug, an offer to help, or to just listen.
In a personal or work relationship, intimacy is more of a situational, daily commitment you intentionally choose to make. You choose to really connect with yourself - and with others. It is more than a word. It is a process. Every relationship needs it. One way to think of it is in-to-me-see. You might open yourself in a moment of awareness to trust another with something personal. It might be sharing something from your life that just fits the moment in a conversation. In the process you have opened your spirit to give and receive. It’s likely you may feel vulnerable at times as you let someone see-into-you, and, it’s also likely they will reciprocate and let you see-into-them in return!
Have you ever intentionally tested intimacy in the laboratory of your own life? Without mutual, soulful connecting, relationships often suffer in silence, eventually weaken, and sadly, sometimes even end when they didn’t need to. Some of us have an easier time with intimacy than others do. The good news is, willingness, and practice makes us better at anything that is important to us.
I believe every person needs intimacy. I believe we can learn to relate to others in a more loving, intimate way if we are willing to be a little more vulnerable and open. When we feel fragile, or even hurt and angry, we tend to want to pull away and withdraw, when what we really need is to connect, and be connected with another. It strengthens us when we make the first move and reach out. It strengthens us when we receive it in return. When we feel broken, then we are open. Courage helps intimacy find a way into our brokenness…
Some people are silently suffering with things that may not be possible to change on this side of eternity. Our world was given the gift of Jesus, God–with-skin-on, to help us know there is a God who cares and is with us in the midst of our circumstances.
Is true intimacy also the awareness of intentionally letting God with-skin-on reach out and connect with someone, in some way, through us?