On our LIVING WELL blog, we recently talked about being made for intimate connection and the barriers to connection. Our deepest needs are for intimacy with God and with other people. [click here for Intimate Connection, for Barriers to Connection - Shame]
Most people don’t realize that our intimacy with each other in marriage is a reflection of our intimacy with God.
That intimate connection comes from knowing God and knowing that He knows, loves, and accepts me as I am. He is the ONLY person that knows me completely and accepts me just as I am, no changes required.
To have intimacy with another person - I let myself be known by another person; the deepest parts of my heart are revealed.
To let myself be known means that I let go of the shame that I may feel and the fear of being judged.
I am confident that the One who knows me best, loves me the most - my Lord and My God. When I am confident in that assurance, what weight do other peoples’ opinions carry?
To move to this level of intimacy with another person means that I trust you with what I share about my life; I feel safe with you. I don’t share everything with everybody.
Through years of a relationship and sharing bits of information, I know that you won’t use the details of my life to attack me or put me down.
I know that you care about the little and big things in my life. I know that you will show empathy towards me at a vulnerable moment.
Will you always come through for me? NO. All of us mess up, even with those we love the most. My trust in you is built on my love for you and my trust in God.
Sharing these personal moments are part of what it means to be vulnerable, an essential for intimacy.
Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they are never weakness. Brene Brown
BE A SAFE PLACE
The path to intimacy is a two-way street.
Half of the formula for intimacy is vulnerability, but part two is how I receive what others share with me.
I become a safe place for you to share with me when I value what you say, when I empathize with your feelings, and when I do not ridicule, condemn, or judge you. You can trust me not to share your vulnerable moments with others.
To build intimacy, I accept you, just as Christ has accepted me - just as I am. I do not try to change you. Change is God’s work in you, not my job!
Accept one another, then,
just as Christ accepted you,
in order to bring praise to God.
As a spouse or as a parent, I will not use shame to motivate you. My desire is to separate your behavior from the person that you are. You are a worthy, valuable, child of God, even when you make mistakes or fail.
To be a safe place for you, I will always love, accept, and forgive you, regardless of what you do or where you are. I will always care about you and your well-being.