Intentional Intimacy

i have hungered for intimacy,
yet starved myself the opportunity;
choosing deprivation over depth
giving distance over detail
in the name of self-control and denial
i have forfeited friendship
for an isolated existence
where support is my stranger
hostile to help
but for you who have dared
to see past this skeleton of a soul
thank you
i have been stubborn
but i surrender
i am trying, i will keep trying
to let you in
so here’s to intentional intimacy
to the one’s who dare to care

you may notice that i only post in hindsight
this allows me to reflect on situations and subjects
before sharing and articulating learnings
h o w e v e r
not all areas of life can be neatly tied together
some topics don’t have takeaways or truths in the moment
or even beyond the moment
they can be mysteries
there can be areas of life that are just plain messy
like untied, loose threads

u n f i n i s h e d

and these never usually make sense
often we can’t see how the threads come together
but that is life
because we are works in progress
and we can only trust
that the threads each have a purpose and place

so to speak to one of these messy threads:
let’s look at the topic of friendship
you’ll notice that in my five years of blogging here
i have barely talked about friendship
this is because it is a touchy and tough subject for me
but alas, i am trying
and i want to be open on this journey
so that others who struggle with friendship can know they are not alone

here are some things i am learning:

friendships are journeys

friends journey with us through seasons of life, as we journey with them
some friends only stay for a season
while other friends will see you through many seasons
a n d
friendships are journeys
there is no defined destination or completion
so we need to cherish friends while we have them
and we need to be intentional when seasons are changing
because seasons can disrupt friendships, creating distance
unless we intentionally invest

friendships sharpen you
allowing friends into your life means opening up your world
you share moments, struggles
you allow others to see into the window of your soul
when life is lived in proximity with others
there can be conflict, misunderstanding, confusion
the saying “wounded people wound people” is true in this context
friends can be swords
they can fight for us, alongside us
and they can fight with us, wounding us
it is important, at these times, to turn to God for understanding
to ask the Spirit for grace and wisdom
and to dwell on the truth that our ultimate friend and brother, Jesus, is walking with us
in and through it all

friendships are invitations to intimacy
the people in our lives are opportunities
to love, to invest, to share, to learn
so we need to be
intentional + inclusive
this means initiating, caring, listening, asking, seeking
this also means looking to love
being actively aware of when, where and who to invest in
sometimes we can offer invitations to intimacy
other times we are offered this opportunity
these are gifts
friends we can confide in
where you speak a language of shared vulnerability
heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul
only in this space can there be
authenticity + accountability
the relational depth we desire
to be known and to know another soul
to create space in your heart
and to have a place in another heart

i have recently made it a priority and commitment to reach out to others
to build a strong support network
to show up to community
to be intentional in investing in intimacy

but it is hard

because not everyone has the same priority

only over the last year
have i begun appreciating our human need for relationship
for so long i repressed this
 wounds of rejection led me to prefer loneliness over loss

yet if i am honest
i don’t prefer loneliness
i am introverted, but that doesn’t mean i enjoy feeling isolated

have created this existence for myself

it may surprise most
but i don’t have very many friends
the ones i do have, i love dearly

(you know who you are)

time with them is precious and rare

even despite these lovely souls
those who have dared to care
i have been stubborn and pushed people away


i’ll keep sharing my friendship learnings
unfinished and messy as they are
because they are journeys
but as a first step
i’m calling out the lies i have believed about friendship

in the last fortnight i have been experimenting with
intentional intimacy

i have been specific and strategic
following-up friends
sending messages just-because
reaching out to others
initiating catch ups

b e c a u s e
finding the friends i long for
first means being the friend i long for

listen close to this command:
“love your neighbour as yourself”

(mark 12:31)
to obey this command is not just to love our neighbour
but to love them as we would love to be loved

your neighbour
as yourself

as with any good thing that comes from God
as with any humble attempt to love
we are broken

a love that goes beyond yourself
can still get wrapped up in self

in my case,
five people cancelled plans on me in the last fortnight
f i v e
one after another

and it hurt
a lot

i was trying to be intentional
b u t
we live in a generation of
we avoid committing
we prefer to flake than stay
we settle for superficiality over intimacy
a n d
i am guilty of these

i let ‘self’ get in the way

unfortunately because of past wounding
these cancellations were confirmations
of lies i have believed
t h a t
people don’t care
t h a t
people leave
t h a t
i’m not worth it
t h a t
i’m  a failure at friendship


b u t
here is some truth
to be translated from the head to the heart
s e e
we are simultaneously relationally broken
whilst also being relationally re

where we fail to follow-up
Jesus followed-through
where we fail to do the just-because
Jesus was willing to shed his blood
where we fail to reach out
Jesus poured himself out
where we fail to initiate
Jesus led the way

what a friend we have in Jesus

he is
the image of the invisible God
he is
the image of intentional intimacy
he is
the image of sacrificial love
he has
relationally redeemed us
so that we might be free
he has
invited us into his father’s family

he is
the friend we need
who is there when we are lonely

the one our souls long for
and the one who saves our souls
so that our longings might be secure
in his victory

we can long for eternal intimacy
because he has made a way for this longing to be complete

so to close this first chapter in my friendship learnings

1. friendships are journeys
2. friendships sharpen us
3. friendships are invitations to intimacy

and finally,
we have an image of intentional intimacy
we have a friend who is with us on our friendship journeys
this is our brother, saviour and king
what a friend we have in
j e s u s


Respond from the Heart