The Stillness of Intimacy – a gift from the wilderness

 

In the Wilderness… we can grow into a deeper ‘Intimacy” with God. 

The process of the Holy Spirit is persistent and subtle in our wilderness season.

  • He asks us to follow the voice of God – to walk the path we have been shown despite our limited insights and understanding of the “purpose” or plan.
  • We are gently forced to let go of our stuff – our crutches that have propped us up. (Career – intimate relationships that hold us back from growing in faith – confidence in our financial strength – friendships – ministry roles) things that affirm us or give us perceived value. Things “other” than God.
  • We must willingly surrender these “other” things as we choose to “stay” in the place and path Gods spirit has led us. We cannot run away or hide – we must allow the work of the Holy Spirit to persist in our weakness.
  • Our dependence on the flesh for support and affirmation is reduced the longer we allow ourselves to be reduced. Our need for the flesh is weaned – and we grow in hunger and interest in the things of the Holy Spirit.
  • The loss of self is astonishingly difficult, but it removes our false confidences and pseudo identities and replaces them with a transparency of the soul. We block less of the Spiritual light within and begin to assume more and more of our identity from the one who inhabits our heart.
  • Here habits can be broken and false assumptions revealed. Here in this place we can be changed and transformed from what we were to who we are destined to be.
  • It’s also here that we can begin to hear and understand the work of the Holy Spirit within much better than we could otherwise. We can gain insight and wisdom from the suffering we’re experiencing.

The process* of growing in Intimacy requires us to become “still”. To learn to stop doing things to change our circumstances. God wants to teach us how to wait. He wants to train us to trust His plans more than our own.

2 Chronicles 20

This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

 The struggle to draw near to the creator is real – everything in us resists approaching His presence. Our minds endlessly inventive for finding “other” options to pursue.

Photo by Lucas Campoi from Pexels

Apprehension at His knowing gaze tempts us to run, to avoid being exposed for what we truly are. Our external and superficial defenses are powerless before Him. We desperately assemble something to prop ourselves up… we use our self invented identities and lean on personal successes to offset the weakness His gaze is revealing about ourselves. Lacking the strength to withstand or endure the penetrating power of His words to us, we are tempted to just keep retreating and hiding from the painful truth. Just like our forefathers we look for whatever fig leaves we can find to cover our nakedness.

The active effects of our wilderness circumstances and of His approach are effective in forcing a “sorting out” of our past presumptions and false assumptions.

We cannot retain our pride and false bravado for very long in the definitely engineered circumstances of His will. There is no room for the baggage of our past in the present, we are unable to deny the truth of our weakness and incompleteness. We must admit our need – accept His conditions or we must flee forever.

This process of growing in Intimacy requires a form of “sorting out” or refinement. Consider your life as you would a precious metal like Gold, Platinum, or Silver, this is how God sees us. The purification of this treasured substance (our hearts) is a large part of the human condition as experienced in Christ.

We are in nearly constant transition as we experience the fire and flames of being heated and then the abrupt change of being thrust into the icy waters. The repeated heating to the point of melting and then being plunged into one more baptismal trial after another is the tempering way for every believer to proceed in their faith. No other path will prepare us adequately for the prize we seek.

Pexels.com

It’s in this season of refinement, in the pain and suffering of our fearful transitions and abrupt life changes that we risk giving ourselves over to the darkness of despair and discouragement. Make no mistake, this is a choice! We have the capacity to chose life or death, Hope or despair and it’s in this that our life trajectory will rise or fall.

No one of us can endure the strain indefinitely, we are subject to the mortal nature of eventual fatigue and exhaustion, but this too serves the masters purposes and realign’s our understanding from fantasy to faith. We cannot continue to pretend or fake our way through the Christian life, we must dig in or bug out.

Despite all of the insight and growing personal awareness of our condition, we cannot remain myopic and self obsessed for long if we are to move forward. The journey is “upward” and if we keep clinging to Jesus, we will wind our way to greater heights and better perspectives than we have ever yet experienced. This isn’t a test of our strength, but rather our wills. Surrender is hard.

The Wilderness isn’t about being abandoned by God, it’s all about learning to be more intimate with Him.  An unavoidable place and space in every Christians story, the journey of faith expands for those who choose to stay in His presence, for those who trust enough to be still. 

Pastor B.

 

Rain in the Desert

Some seasons of life are full of rocks, weeds, and dust. The ‘dry’ season can line up one after another until you’re living in the ‘desert’. A lonely time of life, usually with a prolonged cycle of frustration, unproductive labor, and unrelieved weariness.

From Abraham to Jesus Christ we see a regular pattern in the bible of the literal and metaphorical idea of ‘desert’ and famine, of isolation and wilderness. Each man or woman of God being inducted into the desert school of Holiness. 

For me, the desert was a place of beauty and suffering. A place of great extremes, searing heat without shade in the day, followed by plunging shadows and near freezing cold in the night. 

The danger of the desert is the absence of water. Exposure to heat and cold, searing sun and shivering nights leave you worn out, desperate for moisture and some safe place to hide… only there isn’t any. For travelers in the old west of America, learning the water holes and hidden reservoirs were the only way settlers could cross the vast stretches of dust and rock and survive. Spiritually we face a similar challenge as those early settlers. We have to learn to find water to survive.

My life… your life, each are composed of seasons. Some of our journey is full of abundant and fertile, filled with freshness and new life. Other seasons are stormy with turbulent changes and tragic transitions, wild and unpredictable like the spring… you get the idea. 

The season of life I had been walking through in the past seven or eight years had been quite dry. Hard labor with little tangible result. Day after week, week after month, month after year, serving without reward or visible change in my circumstances or life. Discouragement becomes frustration, frustration becomes bitterness, … and then resignation sets in.

This is the Desert.

Our souls are so thirsty. We long for more… we crave affirmation, we want to see some life growing, a hint of green in a sea of brown. 

San Luis, CO

My recent (March ’18) road trip revival was taking me through the literal desert to show me a metaphorical truth. Circumstances and conditions have been very dry in my life, no matter what I did or how hard I worked, nothing ‘seemed‘ to change. But God wasn’t absent, I was simply learning in a special school of faith. Common to every believer who has ever chosen to be a Pilgrim… committed to stay on the path of faith.

I wasn’t alone, millions of others have walked the pilgrimage of faith. Millions have faced this desert of the soul, and millions had been brought through the desert to see the life on the other side! The Exodus of the Israelites is a prime example.

But today I sensed something new and exciting for my life… Rain was coming. My life wasn’t dried up and my work wasn’t done. God had things to do in and through me. He set me on a path to San Luis, CO. Which is nowhere. It is the ‘oldest’ existing town in Colorado, 645 people and the county seat. On the edge of nothing, it has a unique Catholic mission on a high mesa overlooking the small town. There is a rocky path that winds up the side of the mesa, leading to a white adobe church, and along its trail are the Stations of the Cross. Cut in bronze sculpture, these stations are at approx 8,000 feet in elevation and the experience of walking the winding path will catch your breath in every way.

As I drove to San Luis… I remembered something I heard from God when first visiting here years before… He had put me on a pilgrimage“…. my life in Him and the ministry of being a pastor/priest wasn’t going to be a quick trip, but a long and difficult journey. Here I was coming back to the same exact spot, nine years later and decades wiser… it had all become true. Ministry and life had proven the point. But now I needed some water for my soul. I was tired and dry inside.

And as I drove, I saw something I’ve never seen before out here… “Rain”. It was raining in the desert! A large rainstorm was sweeping across the barren landscape and it was beautiful to behold! 

Driving rain washed over my car and the road, consuming the dust and dirt…covering the arid landscape in a haze of grey moisture and as it cascaded down, it was releasing the most amazing smells of sage and juniper, pinon and pine… it was amazing! A sweet and inspiring fragrance was covering the entire region and it felt like the countryside was celebrating with God for the long-awaited promise of water.  The dry was gone.

Was all of this a Foreshadowing for me….? I choose to believe so. 

When you roadtrip with God, nothing is an accident. No detail is a coincidence. He’s talking all the time, it’s the listening and observing that extends the conversation.

Rain in the Desert

For many, the desert of life has been our most recent address, the idea of rain is a long distant hope we’ve forgotten. My encouragement to you dear reader…, the rain is coming. God isn’t leaving you to wither up and die, He’s coming with new life. Hang in there. The desert isn’t forever, the seasons do change, God is active and involved in your life no matter how little you see or sense.

Remember that intimacy is gained and power is released as we wander through the desert seasons of our life.

God’s word shows us the pattern of preparation that each suffering servant endures, the school of the desert is for our growth not our punishment. It’s in the desert that we learn to dig a deeper well… it’s in the desert that we learn to be still. It’s in the desert that we unload the junk of our lives… leaving the unnecessary weight behind. It’s in the desert that we are transformed!

Think I’m crazy… check out the Prophet Isaiah… he wrote about 3000 years ago. 🙂

Snow in the mountains is tomorrow, my last day on sabbatical.

Pastor B.

 

Finding “Papa”

Driving is my favorite. I am captivated by ‘exploring’. The next bend in the road… the rise of the horizon, what it might reveal. Glorious.

I feel like I’m not just a driver… but I’m driven. 

Driven to do better, to achieve. I feel the need to work harder, longer…to gain just one more yard, one more mile. It’s a deep and insistent restlessness. I wish I could make it turn ‘off’ when I’m trying to rest or slow down. I’ve never really been able to make it go away,… until this trip.

Day Two dawned grey and cold.

Leaving Montrose heading south on Hwy 550

Montrose sits on a high (Elevation 5807)  flat desert region, edging some of the highest peaks in the Western Rockies of Colorado. It gets warm in the daytime like the desert… and very cold overnight. I woke to 20F after a balmy 67F the afternoon before. The sun wasn’t going to come up for another hour, but I started off to the south, looking to catch the sunrise glowing off the breathtaking beauty of the snow capped peaks near Ouray, CO.

I was disappointed. Grey clouds obscured most of the sunrise that morning. Never breaking long enough to shine its pink hues on the grey granite angles below. Highway 550 is a ‘must’ see for any roadtrippers out there. Take it from Montrose to Durango and bring a camera. Unlike any other road in the lower 48 that I’ve travelled, this is a winding two lane strip of heaven. Three passes pushing 10,000 feet each are the reward of the three hours of second gear driving necessary to get there. Snow is almost always present – year around. You will need to stop and take pictures or you might make a one way descent over one of the hundreds of 15 mph cliff side turns.

I love mountain country. I don’t care what season or condition you find it in, you’ll suck in your breath… over and over… as you glimpse the grandeur of the alpine vistas.

Today was cold and cloudy, so I saw and admired the hard rawness of these granite monsters, marvelling at their strength and unpredictable nature. A snowstorm or a sleet squall was almost guaranteed, followed by five minutes of golden sunshine and glorious white curtains of snow. It’s more than I can describe here.

But, even in the midst of all this glory and magnificent creation, I was feeling my restless nature lurking still.  Somewhere below the adrenaline and excitement of seeing my old friends the Rocky mountains I was unsettled. 

I drove the curves, caught the fresh – cold – near zero chill of air and the scent of pines as we descended into Durango… broad wooded valleys with winding creeks and rivers stretching out below. It was so calming and pure. I can still see it in my mind’s eye…

Hwy 550 Colorado Peaks - March '18

Hwy 550 between Ouray and Silverton Colorado

I wanted to capture these moments and hold them forever… to wrap them up and tenderly hide them deep inside me. I could go back anytime I wanted and unwrap the beauty and let it warm me when I felt cold or stressed and tired. This was my unspoken desire. I dreamed of breaking the restlessness once and for all with the beauty surrounding me, to tap the peace and power of creations majesty when life started stressing me out. 

God answered my prayer. But like always… He has a sense of humor. 🙂

In my hotel room I drowsily flipped the channel to find a weather report. “The Shack” was playing… a book I had read and enjoyed years before, certainly not on my ‘must watch’ list, yet something compelled me.  I lingered for a minute, then ten… an hour. God works in mysterious ways.

That night I dreamed. I dreamed of ‘Papa’

God was speaking to me in new ways. He was sharing something vital to my scarred heart and soul. Something intensive and personal, an intimate salve for my deepest shame and sorrow. He wants me to call Him… “Papa”. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever done that… but I hadn’t. I know lots of people who feel like God is their ‘papa’ – artsy and emotional people talk like that. Not me. I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my earthly father, so being so familiar and vulnerable with my heavenly father was foreign. Uncomfortable.

But when I opened up inside, to let Him see how uncomfortable I was…it made me cry. Deep rivers of pain and sorrow tumbling out… prayers half formed bubbling up with my snot and shame. I cried. A lot.

I could feel God holding me. Like a dad holding his frightened and worn out boy. That moment of warmth and intimacy breaking through the cold and hidden parts of me in a heartbeat.

I felt Him. He ‘was‘ my “Papa”.

The sadness and the restless sickness fled. I only had comfort and peace. No great prayer or spiritual discipline unlocked this for me, no awesome sermon or quote… just some time and my silence and a willingness to let Him touch my heart where it hurt.

Tomorrow: Day 3… Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.

 

Looking for Intimacy…?

Valentine’s Day is upon us…

Flowers and food, fresh moods and sweet surprises, our Valentine celebration is a once a year explosion of red hearts and glitter cards… a reminder of everything cliché’ about ‘Love”.

From grade schoolers trading Star Wars valentines to the serious date dinners with chocolates and diamonds, our annual tributes to the ideal of love is as diverse and different as we are.

theantiquemarket.com

But what about “Intimacy”? Isn’t that the longing of every heart… the deep down desire of every soul on earth. It must be… just look at the millions of books sold by Nicholas Sparks or the powerful pull of the romantic comedies on our pocketbooks. We’re searching to find that ‘something’ still missing in our relationships.

We can’t seem to find the “it”. We search it out at home or online… in friendships and spouses, kids and co-workers, we look and look desperation growing. Eventually we give up… seeking it out vicariously through the lives of the fictitious.

Don’t read me wrong, I’m in there with you. I too struggle with “Intimacy”. It’s not my wifes fault or some personality conflict that bars the way for our long-last connection as a husband and wife. Alas… no.

The scriptures and the Holy Spirit help us uncover the secret to discovering “Intimacy”! It’s simpler and harder than you think… recently I’ve been reminded (through my own marriage) of the truth about Intimacy. You see, true Intimacy is only found in our willingness to be ‘vulnerable‘ with someone else.

weheartit.com

Our lives cannot grow interdependent and intimate if we’re playing it safe. Proximity isn’t the same as intimacy! 

We aren’t able to discover and dig deep into the world of the Intimate soulmate without risking the rejection and pain of discovery.

Trusting and believing in each other is all platitude until you risk exposure of your deepest self. When we take the plunge to open up and share our inner fears and frustrations, our biggest dreams and desires… we’re exposing our heart to someone who can receive it and cherish it or simply discard it.

The choice is ours to make. But if you’re hitting the ‘wall’ in your marriage, it might be time to consider stopping the merry-go-round of life and pause long enough to have a heart to heart. Really and truly share with your ‘other’ what you feel and long for… and then listen back…

It could be we need some alone time to reflect on the offer Christ makes to us all… the offer to accept as ‘we are‘. To really and truly be intimate with the one who created us and all those unmet longings within. That my friend is one sure way to build a lasting foundation for others to love and be loved.

Happy Valentines Day from RTP!

Pastor B.

 

The intimacy of Suffering.

Contrary to the “American Gospel” of life, being married and having a family is an exercise in true suffering as often as it’s a joy or profound pleasure.

It’s an issue in many “Christian” lives to think that their God would allow or even “prescribe” for us seasons of suffering. We’re looking for God to “ease” our pain, to make the hurting stop and for our uncomfortable life relationships & difficult circumstances be removed. Bottom line, we’re approaching God on our terms. Looking up to Him as a divine dose of Advil for all our life aches & pains. advil

The truth strikes us hard when we take the time to really read scripture and listen to what the Apostle Paul writes…what Jesus taught.

Philippians 3:10 (NASB) “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”

Matthew 5:10-12 (NASB) “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Source link)

Tragic, unjust and just downright painful experiences for a modern believer  can become “deal breakers” for our emerging Faith in Christ. Our Christianese has taught many of us to just assume that God wants us to be HAPPY.

We “believe” for immediate favor and blessing from God to flood our lives upon every request…. removing difficulties as if by magic and releasing us from suffering further. IF that doesn’t happen…. we have a serious problem with God, our faith and life in general.

The “reality check” that suffering offers can cause major confusion and deep doubt in a parent’s heart and mind…. especially if we’re not able to separate the “truth” of Christianity from the myth. 

The marketing of the church has spoon fed many of us with  a happy-go-lucky version of the gospel that fits our Americanized ideal of what we want Christianity to be….A personal fire insurance plan with morphine drip.

If we’re not able to separate fact from fiction, we can get dangerously close to loosing our fragile faith in the bitter aftermath of disappointment.

“Cultural” Christians are leaving the local church today in droves, in part because the God they wanted has turned out to be a myth.

He seems to remain silent to our regular requests for “more” stuff … and we get sullen & angry because we did it all like we were taught… in the name of Jesus. But we still don’t get what we want and like spoiled children we pout and run away.

As parents, we can get easily discouraged if we lose the perspective of what’s REAL vs. what is HYPE. When we start to think God simply exists to supply my needs and fix my problems… we’ve left scripture for pop – culture.

The truth is… He works in the pain and the sorrow and tragedies of our lives as much or more than he does in the triumphs and successes.

When we seek to avoid discomfort at all costs, we’re skipping a critical step in our transformation and lose out on the intimacy we can only gain in our suffering.

Parents… don’t just seek to get out of the heat, ask God if and when and how you’re to respond to your troubles. Include your kids in the process of listening, asking and seeking to find God’s will for your family. Living out our faith in the midst of suffering is ultimately the highest honor a believer in Christ can experience. It becomes the evidence of something “authentic” and believable to those who know us best. Our Kids!

that as they say… is kinda the point : )

Peace to you – Pastor B.

The truth about intimacy…

I believe everyone wants emotional intimacy. Ladies are always reading – watching or asking about it. Guys seem to avoid it at all costs…but deep down it’s what we all want, and fear.

As parents, we need to remember it’s what our kids want too.

GETTY Images - source

GETTY Images – source

But emotional intimacy is a slow process, you can’t rush through or fake it. Intimacy takes time and lots of risk. I wanted to describe intimacy, to try to define it… looked at several definitions but this was the best one I could discover. freedictionary.com says intimate means;

1. Marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity.
2. Relating to or indicative of one’s deepest nature: intimate prayers.
3. Essential; innermost: the intimate structure of matter
To truly get close you have to be close, in proximity. Nearby. – obvious I know, but for parents, this can be a huge challenge. Our days are way full – overflowing with demands, duties and deadlines. We have to carve out – protect our personal time and invest it wisely. Spending time in the same room, looking at and sharing a meaningful conversation is a MUST for any relationship to become intimate.
To relate with someone, to begin to grasp what makes them “tick” is a huge part of becoming intimately familiar. That takes some life experience to grow. In Christian terms… this means suffering through the hard times together. It means watching and learning and appreciating the good and bad traits of our spouses, kids and friends. It’s in the suffering we get to see the “real” stuff come to the surface. We see what drives someone – what scares them and what makes them mad.

datinggod.org

datinggod.org

The essential part of someone is their “heart“. Not the beating muscle that moves our blood from the lungs to our cells and back, but the metaphysical part of us that contains our desires, dreams and despair. The passion and ethos of life, stretching from the highest of highs to the darkest low. Knowing someone’s heart is at the center of understanding them. Of beginning to predict their reactions to life extremes. From the saddest moments to euphoric joy, when we know a person’s heart, we can accurately judge what they will do next.
Our kids need us to know them and be known by them. They want to trust and to love and to always be honest with us… it’s our “reactions” that drive us apart. As our kids age and grow, they form opinions and ideas. Often those are contrary to our own and in moments of discovery and desperation, we parents often blow up or vent so intensely as to train our fledgling adult children to never-ever tell us the “whole” truth again. Not a good thing, and something I am too often guilty of.
We can get so caught up in being a ‘good’ parent, that we forget the goal isn’t to clone our kids…but to prepare them to live their lives well. To teach them to trust and turn to God when things get out of control. Part of that modeling process is to let our kids in. To see our hearts, to feel our pain and to share in our joy.
It’s a risk to trust them with our fears and failures, but in the end… it’s only in being intimate that we can connect the dots from our faith to our families. Paul describes his intimate relationship with God this way in Philippians 1:28-29 (Message Bible) “There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.”
Suffering always leads to deeper intimacy. So the next time life throws you a tragic curve ball… look at it as a another step deeper into an intimate understanding of yourself, your family and your God. A beautiful truth for hard times.
Peace out, Pastor. B.

Intensity or Intimacy ?

Oh the rush of a serious infatuation, sigh… the full-blown magnificent high that seems to only exist in the early days of another instant attraction ! That “one in a million” personal connection to someone else!  Remember how intense your emotional high was? How deeply it moved into your heart, re-wiring your mind and… well, maybe caused you to go crazy for a while?

Some of us may have pushed caution to the side and  rushed headlong into that sensational blast of instant attraction many times in our past, or possibly right now! We are tempted to jump with abandon off the cliffs of reason to chase wildly after a whirlwind courtship that ended or will end soon after, leaving us dazed and disoriented from a hangover of confused emotions, broken promises and dashed dreams.

Remember?

It hurts, it embarrasses us…even pains us to think of our relational mistakes, our horror stories of lost love and rejection… we chew our lips nervously, wondering how it was that we could have acted so foolishly, rejecting basic reason and the wise advice of those who love us… in exchange for the instant rush of immediate and intense pleasure, revving us up like some kind of emotional crack.

pic – courtesy of awarenessoftheheart.com

Why do some of us still battle this pattern of life, condemned to run in a cycle of hope, euphoria and despair? I’m not a licensed psychologist, so my thoughts are purely personal, but they reflect the experiences of pastoring, parenting and 20 years of marriage and by God’s grace, could be helpful.

I believe the battle for intimacy is rooted in our Identities. Yes, our basic understanding of who we are, why we are here…

1) If we believe we are simply survivors on the battlefield of life, we look desperately for the next foxhole to jump into and take cover. We move desperately from one relationship to the next… hoping it will last longer than the one you just got out of. This by its very nature is intense living, intimacy is a long lost dream that can never be found here.

2) If we believe we are basically bad… then we’re criminally guilty and condemned to live out a life of penance. We may wander in a series of pre-determined, expected and monotonous life moments to preserve our cultural Christian identities… we stick our marriages out, but never grow in our relationships. We’re stuck,  trapped in our decision to marry. Eventually we become so desperate to find an “escape” , a place to run to and leave our empty world behind that we relentlessly crave the greener grass somewhere else and feel guilty and excited at the same time. This drives the world of infidelity… creating pressure and frustration so deep it eventually decieves us into thinking someone or something else would satisfy…would put color back into our lives. This must have intensity to exist… intimacy cannot.

3) If we believe that God has created us to be unique and vital expressions of life, then we will move in directions that reflect our true self, our purpose will direct our actions… slowing the need to escape or survive long enough to actually navigate our lives with intentionality, with direction… with confidence. This creates a foundation for intimacy to grow from, even better… it doesn’t require intensity to exist, it’s stronger than that!

It’s this third option of identification that I believe will save the day for those of us who find a growing addiction to intensity.  The intense relationships, the intense hobbies, the intense goals we crave, give us a brief sense of purpose, a false sense of identity and a  momentary sense of excitement that can only exist for short bursts… it’s like a narcotic, euphoric and beautiful for a short period, but quickly fades to black in time. To continue to “FEEL”  we chase it more and more, over and over until we can’t stop the urge to take another hit, another rush… except it leaves its scars within our hearts, not our kidneys, liver or  brain.

Our world feeds this need into us, demanding that we do more, experience more, buy more, sell more, eat more, smell more, have sex more, travel more, get more stuff… it hounds us to run with the wild and happy ones, sucking the marrow out of life until we are no more. If that’s all we truly have, if our basic identities are only stuck on option one or two above…this may become a tempting offer.

My encouragement to us all is this… PULL BACK, move back, further away from the edge of the INTENSE and consider the path of  true Intimacy… yes it’s a slower, calmer way. It lacks the rush of new and exciting emotions and pleasures, but it offers something much deeper, something much truer than simple momentary ecstasy. It promises… stability, strength and peace…and ironically, delivers to us a much more expansive pleasure and purpose than any “intense” momentary excitement could conceive of.

We need to stop… pause and remember the reality of true intimacy… in our marriages, in our homes and in our world. It takes TIME to grow into intimacy, not something that can be rushed… it’s a slow burn, but once it’s lit… it won’t easily go out. As still water runs deep, so our lives will reflect the maturity of our identity and as we mature so will our capacity for being real, for trusting completely…for being intimate.

pic – courtesy of – ocawonder.com

We would do well to consider the truth of our faith and family, of the promise of God to meet all of our hearts desires, to satisfy our longing souls with goodness. Our creator is the ONLY one who knows us the way we crave for others to appreciate…. quit looking for perfection, for eternity  in any one other than the creator of your soul. They simply don’t exist… not like Hollywood portrays them…instead, look for a faithful authentic helpmate who has discovered their source of love and purpose and peace outside of the intense and has a real capacity to be intimate with their faith and savior… Wait patiently for God to direct your path forward, into someone who is prepared and ready to share and be shared. That’s the stuff of real life.

Our kids need to know their parents are more mature than they are… our kids need to see that we are wise and confident in our identities, growing and gaining in intimacy, fearlessly living out lives… Remember the truth of the bible, read it, trust it… watch it grow in your life. Like this amazing passage in Proverbs chapter 3: 1-8English Standard Version (ESV) – Source:  Biblegateway.com

3 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.

3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

You will NEVER Regret trusting God with your heart, You will NEVER regret taking your time to grow into intimacy and choosing to walk away from the instant and intense in favor of the real and the lasting… NEVER!

Peace out dear RTP’s…

brad.

PS…and “no” I’m not referring to any one particular person or experience in this blog… just felt God place this on my heart several weeks ago to share, and finally got the free time to do it… 🙂 But i do LOVE you all, for those who are hurting, lost or despairing… just stay vertical…the horizontal will follow ! (Sorry so long)