Do you ever wonder if anyone truly sees you, the essence of who you are when all the filters are removed and the props are shoved aside? Even though we’re seen on social media I’m suspicious of our media-driven culture in that it can give us an artificial idea and sense of intimacy. It often leaves us with an inaccurate view of ourselves and others as well.
Douglas Weiss has identified what he terms Intimacy Anorexia. The desire for and lack of emotional intimacy is at the foundation of sexual addiction. Intimacy hunger also fuels other forms of addiction we cultivate hoping to fill our intimacy needs.
Not every Intimacy Anorexic acts out with sexual addiction but results in a lifestyle of withholding our true selves from others and manifests in a number of ways.
Our deep need is to know and to be known but we’re afraid of it–because what if we don’t measure up to the high and unrealistic bar set by standards that focus on appearances, acquisitions, accomplishments, and accolades? What if we expose the tender underbelly of our broken and flawed selves or risk revealing our hopes and dreams or dare express our truest desires and the end result is more base and painful judgment and rejection? And what if we haven’t even got a clue about what intimacy looks like, let alone how to achieve it?
I spent years withholding my true self from God. Aside from my issues with binding shame, I was afraid to be in the room alone with Him. The nature of my abuse made it incredibly difficult to picture Father God as safe. Yes, He was my father but one who worked abroad and whom I never saw. I could count on Him to pay my fees at boarding school, put clothes on my back and possibly be available should I become gravely ill. But His important work on the planet made Him unavailable and uninterested in me. Thankfully, God brought me through healing and to this plumb line revelation:
Who I am is best understood in context of who He is. I was made in His image and derive my name and identity from Him. I haven’t got a clue of who I am if I don’t have an intimate understanding of who He is.
Intimacy: Into me see. Progressive: continuing, continuous, increasing, growing developing, ongoing, escalating, gradual, step-by-step, cumulative.
God desires bi-directional intimacy with us. He sees into us and He invites us to see into Him as well. From this place of knowing and being known we experience Abundant Life and fruitful living. That takes me back to the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 3:10:
My determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more intimately acquainted with Him.
God knows us and He created us to know Him–to know His heart, His plans, His ways, and His delight. Knowing Him gives us insight into ourselves and into others, it fuels our effectiveness in impacting the world with the Gospel and in helping to transform lives.