Recently I attended a worship night at my pastor Sandi’s home. As I helped set up the snacks in the kitchen, I looked out the window and saw a beautiful large backyard, filled with flowers and fruit trees. In that backyard was a huge hammock towards the back in between two palm trees.
Y’all, I LOVE hammocks.
When the Lord finally allows me to own my own home, I want a huge backyard, with a garden and trees just so I can string up my large hammock. I plan to get in it every morning with a cup of Earl Grey tea in my hand and a Bible on my lap.
It’s a small dream, but it’s what I want.
So when I saw that hammock outside, unoccupied, just waiting for me to jump in it, I knew that I could not leave my pastor’s house without sitting in that hammock. Even it was just a minute, I knew I had to do it.
But, I was not sure that it was allowed.
You see the reason I was there was for a night of worship and fellowship. Wouldn’t it be antisocial of me to pull away from everyone just to go sit by myself and enjoy lying back on that hammock, staring up at the clouds?
I still wanted to get in it.
I mentioned this to my amazing friend Katie, and she looked at me, rather surprised and said:
“You DO know whose house you’re in? You know that would be totally okay, right?”
Ten minutes later, I was in that hammock.
Sometimes we need a reminder of where we are and whose we are.
It’s often hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that God, our father, totally invites us to be completely comfortable with Him. I mean: He’s God.
He’s all-powerful, all-knowing, and free from imperfections and sin.
Then there’s me, a sinner with all my messiness.
He doesn’t care; He loves me anyway. And He wants to know me, all of me, no matter how good or bad.
Intimacy is something I often struggle with. It’s hard for me to get close to others for fear of being hurt by them. There weren’t a lot of people I felt comfortable with. But, for the past two years, God has shown me the importance of community and the beauty of intimacy with other believers.
Now, I have people in my life that I can walk into their homes as if I am one of their children and completely make myself at home. God has transformed my relationship and shown me the beauty of intimacy with others.
So, what is intimacy, exactly? According to Merriam, Webster intimacy is:
- A very close friend or confidant: an intimate friend
My definition of intimacy:
– Someone that you know well; someone you can be completely comfortable with.
So what does intimacy with God look like?
As I was pondering all this, God showed me two examples of people in the Bible who totally got it. They knew Jesus, understood how much He loved them and were not afraid to be comfortable with Him.
Examples of intimacy: John and Mary
First, God showed me, John.
John is known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Throughout his book, this phrase is repeated six times. I love that he refers to himself that way; He knew without a doubt, Jesus loved him, and he wasn’t afraid to say so.
Another thing I love about John: he actually laid on Jesus’s chest.
“One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” (John 13:23, 25)
I can barely count on one hand how many people I feel comfortable enough to lean on them, let alone LAY on their chest.
Even crazier to me, John was doing this while Jesus was telling the disciples that He would be betrayed by one of them. (John 13:18-30)
This was probably one of the hardest conversations that Jesus had with his disciples, yet John was there, comfortable enough to lay on Jesus’s chest AND knew that this was totally okay.
Now that’s intimacy.
The second example God showed me was Mary, the woman with the alabaster jar.
“ When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them.” (Luke 7:35-38)
There is so much here to unpack, but what stands out to me the most is are the following pieces:
The Pharisee that invited Jesus to dinner did not share the same intimacy with Jesus like the woman who anointed Jesus’s feet. (John 7:44-47)
This woman not only humbled herself in front of others, but she also sacrificed something of great value to show Jesus her love for Him. (Matthew 26:6-9)
She also got up close and personal with Jesus by pouring oil on Him and wiping away her tears on his feet with her hair. (Luke 7:38) She didn’t care what the others thought, or how she looked. She knew Jesus, and she knew she was loved.
Her example of intimacy is raw and messy, but man, it sure is beautiful.
God invites us to share this very same intimacy with Him.
No matter what we’ve done, we can approach Him and enter His presence without judgment or fear.
We can rest our heads on His lap.
Or sit in His hammock.