As I work on developing new relationships in my life, I am confronted with issues of intimacy (not the romantic connotation kind of intimacy, simply intimacy). On one hand, I crave it, I want to open up and share, to been seen, truly heard, and known for who I am at my core, not just on the surface, and yet the reality of that vulnerability right now scares me to death. Here’s why: when I first moved to this new city, there was so much turmoil, change, and chaos surrounding me that I moved into the shallow waters of intimacy, vulnerability, and risk. I didn’t want to drown in my new setting, so I got myself into a safer position. (I’m okay with that part). Trouble is, I have now been there for so long that I, albeit unreasonably, now fear that I don’t know how to “swim” anymore. Even though I used to be a good swimmer, I’ve been self-protecting so much that now the prospect of that plunge is even scarier.
I don’t think the theological import is very far off. We crave intimacy with God and yet it’s scary as hell because God truly knows us and that vulnerability feels life threatening—the creator, the giver of life, the omnipotent one sees it all—Holy ****! That’s scary, beyond scary even. Granted, the reward for such sharing is huge and yet in the moment of risk—who cares?!?! We move right into self-protection. It has potential for literally making me dizzy thinking of how much could be lost. I know. Fear. It’s always focused on the negative, what could be lost rather than on gain, hope, or possibility. And yet, that’s what’s real—running from God for fear that we might be revealed for what we truly are.
I know, the irony is God has already seen, but that’s hardly of consequence when you’re running. I mean, the runaway car in a police chase hardly seems to register: “I know I will be caught in the end, so I might as well throw in the towel now.” Spiritual speaking, I doubt we rarely think, “God’s seen it all anyway, so I might as well give over my struggle to hide my shame now.” In a sense, in a very vulgar way, I have already lost that battle—of hiding myself, my sin, my shame, my imperfections from God—so why keep trying? It’s fruitless. So why expend the energy? Especially when God says, “so what? I love you anyway. I loved you before, I love you now, and I will love you always.” God’s made that claim on our lives, we can’t change the fact that God loves us. God pretty much can’t help God’s self (not as I understand it anyway) from loving us…which basically leaves me with a big “SO THERE!” to deal with. (well, you too, for that matter if you struggle like I do). =)