A few weeks ago I got an email from an outstanding young woman who seeks after the Lord with all her heart. She asked me 3 awesome questions. As I answered her, I thought the responses may be helpful for others too. So here goes...
Define intimacy with Christ.
I would define intimacy with Christ in the same terms that I may speak of my marriage to Tricia. We are only intimate because we deeply KNOW and TRUST each other with all that we are. It is about sharing the deepest parts of who we are with one another. We only get there by communicating...openly, vulnerable, two ways, listening, sharing, waiting, failing, trying again...and in the same way that Tricia and I go in and out of seasons of deeper intimacy, so do Jesus and I. The only difference is that it can get uglier with our marriage because TWO of us are running away. When things are cold with Jesus, I'm the one slacking and he is always waiting with arms wide open.
When do you feel closest to God? And is it even about a feeling, anyway?
Nope! Not about a feeling. It is about a deep knowing. Honestly, I feel closer to the Lord each year as I learn the TRUTH about how He made me, how He sees me and how He loves me. As I further comprehend grace as it was intended (which by the way is MUCH different from what I learned growing up in the church), I fall further in love with the Lord. The REAL good news (that it was FINISHED on the cross and I can't earn a darn thing now) is so good that it's almost tempting to dismiss as false theology. It's crazy. The Lord is totally and completely in love with us as we are...broken and all. It just feel insane to me. But the deeper I journey into grace, the more my identity is finally getting established. So in short, I feel closest to God when I BELIEVE what he did and what he says and what he sees....it has nothing to do with a feeling. It's a knowing. Feelings are nice from time to time, but they are emotional and temporary. Faith sustains us and stands forever.
Knowing what you know now, what do you wish you knew about intimacy with God as a teenager?
I wish someone would have drilled the following into me: do not waste your time searching for or earning a love and acceptance from people who will never do it for you. Instead just LOVE people needing nothing in return (including their affirmation). And instead....take hold deeply of the FULL love and acceptance of the Father that is ALREADY available to you in full and forever measure. Live out of the grace, love and acceptance of the Father and give it away generously to everyone around you. What a waste of energy and years to strive to impress and earn something I never needed in the first place!