I still remember studying this term in undergrad Interpersonal Communication, and our professor telling us the definition and saying “into – me – see”. Closeness, familiarity, the ability to predict one’s behavior – all staples of intimacy.
And it terrifies me.
Does it scare you? I don’t know about you but I have been burned, my friends. Burned badly. And I pray and beg God for close friends, for close mentorship relationships, and as soon as they get close I feel terrified and I run! I begin impression management, and trying to seem busier or more together or less interested so I’m not “too much” or this or that – the list could go on and on.
Especially if I gain respect for someone…whew, that is a rough one, because I am afraid that if they see who I really am, they might not respect the me who does not have it all together or has made some mistakes or is not always holy or not always kind or mature. What if they see that I am sometimes lazy, sometimes controlling, often insecure…what if what if what if???
And I don’t even realize what it is at the time, it’s just like I feel this pressure and I run or withdraw or hold up an impression, and it isn’t until later when I realize I am dreading contact with certain people that I realize what happened.
Time and time again I have taken this to the Father. Lord, I am so afraid of being hurt, of being rejected, but also of being lonely and without friendships to turn to and wise counsel to seek. Over and over again, He comforts me, and the answer I keep hearing resounding in my heart is to just be real.
Don’t try to water down my affection for them or inflate who I am or my abilities. Be sincere in how I feel, and be the kind of friend I want to be, not hold back because I am afraid they will reject me. Be the kind of friend I want.
And when I have done this in the past, the relationships that are with unsafe people flesh out quickly because of their issues and not mine, and then God can heal my heart and move on, but the people who are safe and mature and healthy accept me, accept the real me, and we build connection and intimacy. Safety, security, real intimacy.
Intimacy. It scares me. But I have a choice to make and so do you – loneliness, a life of insecurity and doubt and no one to hold you up and help you when you fall, or risk intimacy, perhaps fall a few times, but find true and lasting friendship and full life.