Have you ever sat back and thought about all the people you come in contact with during the course of a day? I got to thinking about that this morning while I was painting our kitchen and I realized just how many people I have the chance to get to interact with.
In the mornings, I see Shane as well as the kids. Then I spend the morning in between running errands, doing house work, working on homework, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and so on and so forth. I see the mailman, the cable guy who stops across the street, the employees of the neighboring business at shift change. I then get ready for work and receive calls from anyone from the insurance company, my college, my bank or telemarketers. Then, I head to work. I cross paths with a minimum of 20 vehicles on my route there. When I get to work, I sit behind a desk answering the phone, interacting with customers and visiting with co-workers. Then, after work – depending on the evening – I return home immediately, or end up in a Church small group with other couples. On a good day, I would say I have the opportunity to interact with roughly 200-300 people. Out of those 300 people, I would say that maybe a handful are ‘friends’, one is an ‘intimate’ relationship (my husband), one or two are a ‘confidant’ relationship, and the rest are scattered between acquaintances or just simply being aware that they are there.
But while thinking about all of the people that I have the physical opportunity to interact with, I left out one ‘intimate’ relationship that I need to have; the one with God. Yesterday during church, we finished up Pastor’s “Awaken Love” sermon series by visiting “Deepening Intimacy” between husband and wife as well as my/our relationship with God.
When I saw the title of the sermon, I figured that it was going to be a sermon about saving yourself for marriage; how sex was a gift from God. In my mind intimacy = sex, sexual relations, etc. That is what society has begun to plant into our brains and that is what we have become so accustomed to: Intimacy = Sex. WRONG.
In starting out the sermon, Pastor pointed out Song of Solomon 4:10 – 5:1. (or Song of Songs depending on the version of your Bible) During these verses, we see that God’s plan for intimacy in marriage is. We see Solomon commenting on his bride’s smells, her lips, her clothes, her virginity (her garden), and the list goes on and on. We can look at this list and safely assume that while Solomon may have loved his wife, he also LUSTED after her in certain areas.
It is the same in today’s society. We LUST after perfect skin, straight and white teeth, long, thick, flowing hair, the perfect body, the scent of someone. Those attributes are not something that we should be basing our “life partner” choices off of. I will be the first to admit that I am a very shallow human being. I had to be physically attracted to someone before I considered dating them. When I first saw Shane standing on the opposite side of the office door, I found him very attractive. His stance, his smile, his eyes. But it was what I was looking for on the inside that made me fall head over heels in love with him.
On the bottom, we see the awareness area. We are aware that he is there, but we don’t acknowledge him in prayer, in conversation, or even in church. The next step up is that He would be an acquaintance, we know who he is but we rarely interact. Chances are, we only interact when we need something or when we are struggling. In the middle, we are now at the friend level. We rely on Him to listen to us and we sometimes listen to him. We do a little bit more talking but it’s only during the bad or good times; never both. Once again, on our terms. One more step up, we hit the confidant level. We turn to him more, pray to him more, and try to listen for a response. While there is more communication, we are still bordering the selfish side of things. Finally, we are at the top; the intimate level. We are completely involved in active prayer, active listening, active worshiping, and we are totally committed to Him.
When Shane and I met, I would have said my relationship was at the friend level at best. I had lost “faith” in what He had in store for me. I was mad that he wasn’t answering my prayers when I wanted him to. I was close to giving up because it didn’t make sense “Why me.” As I was sitting at work one day, I threw up one last prayer of desperation. To this day, I couldn’t tell you exactly what I said but it was something along the lines of: “Alright God, why you chose me to lead down into this pit, I won’t understand. But if you have ANYTHING even close to an answer to my prayers, just let me know. I’m giving up. I’m tired of fighting.” Within seconds, literally seconds, I heard Shane knocking on the door. It was then that I was looking at my husband and didn’t even realize it.
After then, I realized I needed to repair my relationship with God. I had reached that selfish part where I felt it was all about me and what I wanted – what I felt I needed. I started praying more, started attending church as often as I could. It was only then that I started to see myself coming out of this pit I was in. I became happier with myself, I became slightly happier with my life. As soon as Shane and I started dating and attending church together, my relationship with God took off.
Now, I would consider my relationship to be in the confidant if not slightly into the intimate level. I’ve been able to pray heartfelt prayers (to the point of tears because I’m praying so hard), I’ve been able to feel Him working in my life, I’ve been able to hear Him talking back to me, I’ve been able to receive blessings from him (celebrating in communion, being joined to my husband, finding a church family who has accepted us), and I’ve been able to use our church sermons to guide me in my every day life.
Besides these levels of intimacy with God, I was able to bring home a little bit more from the service yesterday: Intimacy between husband and wife is NOT a selfishness vs selflessness situation. In order to have any form of intimacy in your marriage, it MUST be selfless. We have to be attuned to one another so that we are able to find out what makes the other “tick” and offer our services to them; words of affirmation, quality time, gift giving/receiving, acts of service or by physical touch. Same with our relationship with God, it needs to be selfless.
I feel that I know Shane pretty much inside and out, but I still need to become attuned to him so that I can serve him better as his wife, that I can make him happy on more than one or two levels, that I can cater to his needs and show him how much I really do love him and care for him. It’s not something that is going to come overnight, but practice makes perfect, right?