Fighting for deep, intimate friendship

friendship1First of all, it’s been a bit since I’ve written anything here. Let me say, we just moved. IT’S BEEN A LITTLE CRAY CRAY. MOMMA IS LOOSING HER MIND.

In the midst of all of my crazy I’ve started to write my next book (because I’m a freaking lunatic). It’s a killer. And I say that because IT IS WRECKING ME.

I’m writing about relationships; friendships to be exact. Intimate, deep friendships.

What I’m finding is that when I use the phrase “intimate friendship” my Christian peeps immediately think of an accountability partner. YUCK.

Before you throw stones, hear me out.

We were designed for intimacy.

Yes, we were designed for intimacy with a spouse. But, we were also designed for intimacy with someone of our same gender (again, PLEASE. Don’t freak out)

It’s biblical. Moses/Aaron, David/Jonathan, Naomi/Ruth, Jesus/John – just a few examples of crazy, deep intimate friendships.

I’ve found that in many Christian circles we are taught that we can/should only experience deep intimacy inside of marriage. Which is true sexually, but emotionally, spiritually, mentally and even physically (without it becoming sexual) I can’t find a biblical stance for that.

In fact, I find a strong counter argument.

Jesus and John LOVED eachother. Moses and Aaron kissed eachother – intensely and repeatedly (don’t shoot me, that’s what the text says).

This is something that is pure. God-designed. And something WE ALL CRAVE.

Why else do we reject it so much? Because we want it so badly, that we’re terrified we might get a taste of it and it will be ripped away.

I remember when one of my best friends and I first met. I was TERRIFIED. I knew it was real. I knew it had the potential to be everything my soul craved. And it scared the hell out of me.

I wanted to run.

Really fast.

As fast as I could.

I couldn’t handle the idea of another heartbreak. Especially not one with someone like her. Someone who I could tell it could be SO GOOD WITH.

Well, that journey has turned into the makings of a deep journey between me and the Lord in figuring out how to push through my fears of rejection and fighting for the gold that is God-designed: intimacy within friendship.

Where there are no walls.

NO pretenses.

And absolutely everything is out there.

WOW.

It’s real and it’s what we need.

When we’re young we need the love of a mother and father. When we grow up we need those two roles filled again. They just look different.

One is met through our spouse and the other is meant to be met through an intimate friendship.

No matter how much these needs were met or not met within your childhood, the needs still remain as an adult.

The role my dad played in my life has shifted – much of those needs are now met by my husband. The role my mom played in my life has shifted also – there is a need for a friend to fill that nurturing role for me.

One that my husband just can’t be.

Because he’s a dude.

When we put the pressure of the both of those roles onto one person (ie: a spouse) we will become very frustrated. Because they aren’t designed or capable of fulfilling both roles.

And this is where we cross into the accountability thing. Somehow we’ve known this was a need, but we didn’t want to call it intimacy, so we labeled it “accountability”.

Do you know what that word actually means? It basically means a willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions .

An accountant is simply one who knows all of your stuff. They know where all of your interests are and they know how to guard them and agree to partner with you in taking responsibility for them.

But, we’ve turned it into this awkward confession time, where I don’t really know you intimately, but I’m supposed to dump all of my garbage onto you and listen to you tell me how to deal with the garbage and then you’re job is to make sure I keep taking my trash out.

THAT DOESN’T SOUND FUN.

What if, instead it looked like this: I’m going to push through my insecurities and fears and let you see me. ALL OF ME. And I’m inviting you to do the same. Let’s both put it all out there. Let’s choose to love what we both really are and guard the areas we are not strong in, instead of hiding them from eachother. Let’s know ALL OF IT. And let’s fight this thing together.

When you’re known and you feel loved in that place, it’s empowering. Like CRAZY empowering.

When I feel like this, I feel like I can TAKE ON THE WORLD.

But, when I live in fear of being known, I live insecure. I live in hiding. I live in isolation. And that place can become comfortable. Normal even. Almost so normal that leaving it is TERRIFYING.

But, as I march onward, I am meeting my Father’s eyes. Almost as if he’s saying, I’M FOR THIS. I DESIGNED THIS. YOU NEED THIS.

I was sitting on my couch the other night with my now intimate friend – and I needed to talk about something that was terrifying. I didn’t want her to know. I didn’t want her to see. I wanted to run and hide. And I even tried to. But, she pressed on.

The Holy Spirit continued to urge me to open up and be exposed.

I felt like I was going to throw up.

Over and over again.

But, instead, I opened my mouth and laid my insecurity out there.

ALL OF IT.

That moment was incredibly freeing. Not only for me, but it opened the door for her to do the same. And, within a moment, all guards were down and we were being known, seen and loved. Just as we were.

THERE IS STRENGTH HERE PEOPLE.

I am not perfect at this, but the deeper I dig, the more determined I am to fight for this.

To fight for the intimacy that I was created for. Because, when we live from that place we may just step into the most authentic version of ourselves.

When I am living in freedom here, I love better, I wife better, I parent better, I minister better –  it takes time. LOTS OF TIME TO BUILD THAT LEVEL OF TRUST.

But, it’s so worth the investment.

Just like intimacy with a spouse, this level of friendship intimacy isn’t to be given to just anyone.

But, God wants it. He designed it. He champions it.

We weren’t meant to live alone.

Anna

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16 thoughts on “Fighting for deep, intimate friendship

  1. Being a man, it is hard for me to believe such a thing is possible. We tend to keep our guard up.
    I have never experienced that yet. Therefore looking forward to your book to see how that can work.
    Have experienced it with Jesus & am working on it with myself. But another guy not so sure about.
    Thanks, Anna

  2. Anna, I long for friendship intimacy. (So so so very much, that it hurts sometimes.) Every time find it, it doesn’t last long. People have said repeatedly to me, “You go deep fast. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just deep.” I have a chronic illness and have been through abuse so being superficial is not worth it to me anymore. I’ve also found the profound depths of grace in the dark places that makes Jesus that much more precious. I’ve learned that I have to find my intimacy and friendship through Him and occasionally I get to have it through others. It’s difficult find someone who’s willing to slow down enough to walk through the muck of chronic illness.  During this season of isolation, Christ has to be my source of intimacy, or all is lost. He’s so precious though, there’s no fear. It’s His intimacy that to share with others. It’s why I’m not afraid to go to the deep, dark places. Much love, Sister-in-Grace. Solidarity! Thank you for sharing your part of His intimacy with us. I appreciate you!Laura

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  3. Awwww wow! I so get this… This need and desire that a spouse cannot nor would it be fair to expect him to meet! I have pushed away that deep intimate friendship with numerous excuses like: my spouse is/has to be that best friend, if I reveal my true self, no one will like/love me; most examples of women besties remind me of mean girls or take too much time away from husband/family… Geesh the list goes on as do the excuses. Thank you for sharing this need. My heart feels wings hutung to be unbound by this… Thank you!!

  4. You did NOT actually say that! But I, for one, am so glad you did! I took care of my grown, unmarried son for the the last five years of his life, 24/7. I was so isolated. Then when he went to Heaven I reached out to some ladies from a local Church only to discover we had nothing in common and I didn’t fit into their “programs”. Sounds bitter, I acknowledge that. Still looking for that one intimate friendship. Can’t wait to read your book!

  5. The gift of this type of friendship became mine at the age of 49 and I have treasured it for 7 years. It takes hard work and must often be fought for. We practice this with a handful of mutual friends and the resulting strength is akin to a small army. It’s utterly priceless.

  6. Have you read “Spiritual Friendship” by Wesley Hill? I think that you both have powerful voices on this topic and I look forward to your book.

  7. OMG awesome stuff. Seriously. And I have been focusing so much in my study time with my intimate relationship with Jesus and this helps – looking at it in a different way. Thank you !

  8. My heart resonates with what you are saying… but I find that it feels like God has me far away from the people that I have in the past/could share this type of friendship with. (I live on the mission field) I don’t know that what you are talking about here can be long-distance. On the other hand I have seen people develop such a strong connection with a friend that they end up neglecting their spouse and children. I totally agree that we cannot have all of our needs met in our spouse, but there is a danger in finding them in someone else… I don’t know… just my thoughts while reading your post. I feel my heart longing for this type of intimacy with a friend, but wonder if it isn’t actually my heart needing more of God?

  9. Thanks for this. I firmly believe in deep intimate friendships because I am and continterest to be awed by the one friend who has my heart and soul wrapped up with hers. I have no doubt that we were to be closer than a brother or sister and it was God’s perfect design that I have her and she have me. I am so much more of who God made be to be with my soul sister by my side through it all. I can’t wait to read your book. Blessings.

  10. I really love this! I do have a quick question for you though. Because I know people who think men and women can’t be just friends (as in the initiate friendship that you speak of), I was wondering what you thought about that. All of my intimate friends are female, but I know some people whose best friends are the opposite sex so I’m just curious about your thoughts!

  11. This is something we all need to pray for. I have found that this level of intimacy is scary on a personal level and forbidden on a Church level. Even on a “common” level, we cannot be honest, for fear of being judged or even shunned (my next post deals a little with this).

    You are 100% right. We were created for this. I am glad, not only for my wife, but I have a friend whom I have known for many years. Even though he is in Texas and I am here in New Jersey, we have been able to lay things out on the table, so to speak.

    Men…yes! We need close, intimate friendships!

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