Thursday, December 20, 2018

Uh...you might want to share that with someone

When was the last time you had a deeply intimate conversation with anyone? Most of us would think of an 'intimate' conversation as one that got deeply personal - there was some sharing at the most 'confidential' level. Whatever was shared wasn't meant for public knowledge - it was between you and the one you were sharing it with. Sadly, there are those who have never really gone beyond the surface in sharing with others - sometimes even keeping a very superficial relationship with God, as well. They might have trust issues, but it could also be pride issues - their pride keeps them from sharing too much of themselves because they believe themselves to be better or worse than another. The bottling up of emotions and the hiding of these things that really need to be shared is just not good for us, though. We need the freedom of sharing our innermost self - even if it is worse than what we want to 'portray' for anyone else to see! God isn't surprised at our 'badness' anymore than he is overjoyed with our 'goodness'!

But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.  Galatians 4:4-5 MSG

Intimate conversation with God - have you ever really had that? I suppose all of us might have shared some things with him that others don't really know about us, but really be truthful here - are your conversations with him deeply intimate? Are they the type of conversations in which no holds are barred? The ones where you just let your hair down and be your true self - freely sharing, even the bad stuff, and delighting in his just listening to the musings of your heart. In wrestling, there are certain 'holds' barred - you cannot choose that 'hold' in the match to bring your fellow wrestler to the mat. A 'no holds barred' kind of match is really a brawl - a free-for-all, in which both of the individuals engaged in the match up are free to use any means to get their partner to the mat. The idea is that both parties are free from the usual limits. God doesn't want us putting 'limits' on what we share or how we share it with him. He wants genuine honesty and in turn, he gives us genuine grace!

An heir doesn't have to use any gimmicks to access his inheritance - there is a freedom in access. As we consider our inheritance in Christ, we might just do well to remember freedom goes two ways. We get tremendous freedom by the extended grace of the cross, but in turn, God gets extended access to our hearts and minds! The moment we say "yes" to Jesus, we are agreeing to an open and deeply intimate relationship with him. We aren't to keep things back in our times of prayer with him - he wants (and even expects) the good, the bad, and the ugly to come out. The good news is that he isn't surprised by any of it! He knows when the 'limits' are taken off of us, and we really begin to open up our hearts to him, it is quite possible we will begin to see just how much we need that vulnerability in order to finally be free of some of that which doesn't really belong there anymore. The moment we share truthfully with him is the moment our deliverance begins to come in many of those areas we have kept secreted away into the recesses of our heart, far away from anyone else's view. 

Deeply intimate conversation takes some work - it doesn't come easily. Trust must be developed. We must believe in the one we are sharing with - that those confidences will not be displayed for all to see. God doesn't put our dirty laundry on display for all to see - he guards those things we have shared. You might think he has violated your trust when something very similar to what we have shared with him begins to reveal itself in a circumstance in our lives - something that reveals the truth we have shared in a way others might begin to see. It isn't that he is violating our trust - we have just become sensitive to just how much he has been using others and circumstances in our lives to get us to the place we'd share that deeply hidden thing with him. It is still kept in confidence, but we might just begin to see how much that 'thing' we thought was so well hidden from others has really been revealed all along in us in some measure within the circumstances of our lives. What God helps us do in those moments of intimate conversation is to allow us to sort out what to do with those things we have hidden so deeply. This is often the outcome of any deeply intimate conversation - we sort things out.

While not every conversation with him will make it to this level, the more we practice this type of deeply intimate sharing with him, the more we will desire it. We won't fear it any longer because we will see how much we are knit together in a close bond as a result of that sharing. The bond between us is made 'stronger' and we are 'freer' to live life with him without those limits we have placed on ourselves. They aren't put there by him - those limits are of our own making. The sooner we let go of the limits, the sooner we will begin to enjoy just how meaningful the relationship between Christ and each of us can be! Just sayin!