Are you tired of feeling distant from the people you love- closed off and shut out? Do you desire closer connection but find that time, stress and negative emotions get in the way?
Well, good morning to all my favorite people in the world! I’m glad you clicked. Today I’m starting a four part series on Intimacy: Intimacy with ourselves, and with the people we love. Over the next month we will cover 1)What is True Intimacy and How to Get It, 2) The Key Ingredients You Need to Spark Intimacy in Your Relationships, 3)The Enemies of Intimacy and How to Avoid Them, and 4) How to Be Your Own Best Friend When Loneliness is Knocking.
Intimacy is something we all want and need. We need to be seen as valuable, known deeply, and loved unconditionally. We need these things in order to become the best versions of ourselves, but we sometimes get in our own way of getting the intimacy we want.
True Intimacy between friend or spouse is: sharing your experience with him/her without fearing judgement or rejection, and sharing his/her experience without judging or trying to change/fix him/her. You are able to accept your friend fully even if she is very different with a very different experience of your relationship. You are able to share deeply with your spouse without fear of being judged for your feelings. You are able to listen to your spouse’s feelings and experience without trying to change him. You feel seen, known and unconditionally accepted
What does it take to have this kind of intimacy with others? It takes Sacred Ground Living.
First, offer this kind of love to yourself. You won’t be able to love someone intimately until you’ve offered intimate love to yourself. For me, this means coming to God and accepting his unconditional love in the face of mistakes, failures and shortcomings. At the time I want to most deny, lie about or hide from my mistake, I try to turn to God instead. When I know that I am accepted and loved no matter what, I am able to offer myself this same kind of love and forgiveness. God’s love changes me. This is intimacy with the self- seeing myself as valuable, knowing the truth about myself, and loving myself unconditionally. You know- just the way God does.
Second, Show Up to Your Relationships. Intimacy requires vulnerability. It requires that we show up fully, exposed and real, to the people in our lives. It means instead of using sarcasm, criticism or nagging, we use wholehearted language with our friends or spouse telling them exactly what we want. Instead of, “Oh look who finally decided to come home,” we say, “I missed you today, I want to spend time with you.” Instead of passive-aggressively running the other way in an argument, we get to the heart of the matter and resolve it with compassion. Instead of picking fights and criticizing our spouse’s faults, we share our feelings with vulnerability and strength.
I call this Sacred Ground Living.
Thirdly, Take A Risk Even When There’s No Guarantee It Will Pay Off. Being vulnerable is risky business. Seeking intimacy with others is risky, too. It truly is Walking by Faith. You don’t know if your partner will return your vulnerability. You don’t know if showing up to your life will bring criticism or judgement. You don’t know if your efforts toward greater intimacy will backfire. That is the Faith Walk- going where Love calls you to go, even when there is no guarantee that it will work. Your friend or spouse may abandon you still. She may not join you in this level of intimacy and may choose a different direction. That hurts, but it’s ok, because you’re going to be ok. When you are abandoned or feeling rejected, God doesn’t abandon you, and you won’t abandon yourself.
Sacred Ground Living is being able to accept yourself just as you are, and pursue others with love. It is receiving God’s love for yourself so deeply that you can sacrificially love others. It is the hard choice to act in truth instead of avoiding difficult conversations. Sacred Ground Living is the kind of living where you can look at yourself in the mirror with conviction and grace to say, “I can go to bed with YOU every night.”