“Honesty is the only context in which intimacy can develop.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 4, 2023
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Romans 12:9
Deep down, every person alive wants to be heard, cherished, known, and loved. It’s how we have been created. We have been created to love and be loved just as Jesus and the Father love one another. We have been created for emotional intimacy.
However, the intimacy we desire isn’t easy to attain because it often conflicts with our fear of rejection. It’s important to remember that it’s impossible to experience true intimacy without emotional vulnerability. As Erwin Raphael McManus says in his book, Soul Cravings, “Love, no matter how you come at it, is a huge risk.”
If we refuse to share our inner lives, if we won’t ask for what we want and need from others, then we will never know if they will give us what we need. Therefore, we will never know if a relationship has the capacity to deepen. Why? Because, when you can ask someone to meet your needs and they respond favorably, trust can develop and love grows. Without vulnerability, trust cannot grow, and relationships cannot deepen.
When we pretend, we’re hiding, and no one can love a mask. Intimacy develops at the level of the heart. Everyone alive is asking, “Do you see me?” but if we don’t allow ourselves to be seen, we cannot be known.
Certainly, being vulnerable can feel frightening. We could be shamed. We could be shoved aside or ignored—and this would only reinforce our fear that we are unworthy of being loved, right?
If you can relate to what I have said, I want to encourage you . . .rather than thinking of vulnerability as a potential death sentence of the heart, think of it as a relationship refiner. It’s a way to determine which people in our lives are those with whom we can deepen a relationship, and those with whom we cannot.
When I started coaching a single woman named Cherell, she was afraid of rejection, therefore, she was afraid of asking men for what she needed. So rather than give voice to her thoughts, she always found reasons why the men she dated weren’t good fits for her. She quickly disqualified men based on something she found displeasing about them.
For example, if a man talked over her in conversation, rather than ask for a moment to finish her thought, she would automatically assume he was purposely being disrespectful and wouldn’t ever truly care for her. But what if she asked him for a moment so she could finish her thought? What if she gently told him that she wanted to hear what he had to say but could she finish speaking first?
With her request, she would find out if a man had the capacity to care, listen, be flexible, and love. And if he responded favorably, their relationship could deepen, rather than fall apart due to her unproven assumptions about his character.
Speaking up, being vulnerable, and using our voices to create love and trust can be very difficult and frightening—but honesty is the only context in which intimacy can develop. Additionally, all deepening relationships require uncomfortable honesty now and then.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Lord, give me the courage to speak the truth in love when needed. Help me to recognize that asking for what I need and what I want is how love grows. Help me to transfer the honest and open love relationship that I have with you to the important people in my life. Amen.
Do you need to apply this lesson today with someone in your life? Pray about it then gently and in love ask for what you need.
Bethel Music feat. Sydney Allen: Honesty
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