I have loved working with Ala Wyrzykowska for many years. And I love her insights here on growing intimacy with God.
I once heard a Polish Christian song that left me with a question:
“If I were to run into Jesus in the street would I recognize Him?”
The idea was disturbing and I wondered how I would be able to know.
This year I celebrate some significant turning points in my life and they make me ask myself questions about my relationship with God and how it has developed over the years. I ask myself what kind of intimacy with God would satisfy me. The topic seems to come up over and over in my walk with Him.
When I think about intimacy with God, I realize it is more than coming to Him with my need for His support, power and guidance. I do need His empowerment to make me the kind of person and leader that He would like me to be. Yet intimacy is more than just taking time to pray and read the Word.
As I was thinking about this word, I realized that in the Polish language “intimacy” has mostly a sexual connotation and as a result, when I hear the word “intimacy,” I think of not just closeness, but a very special closeness. It affects my understanding and expectation of intimacy with God.
I have also been challenged by the way David talked about his relationship with the Lord in Psalm 63. His desire for a very special union and experience of it is very clear there.
For example, the language of intimacy that he uses:
“my whole being longs for you”
“I think of you through the watches of the night”
“I sing in the shadow of your wings, I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.”
These descriptions are very powerful and make me consider how I would describe my relationship with the Lord.
As I was looking at different definitions in dictionaries, I came across one that describes intimacy in a simple yet thought-provoking way.
“Intimacy is closeness with another person, like the intimacy that develops between friends as you tell one another your life stories and all your secrets and dreams for the future.” https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/intimacy
Referring to God, I ask myself: Do I treat Him as my friend, my closest friend? How do I express it?
It is easy for me to come to Him when I have a need. I try all kinds of arguments to make Him take my requests seriously. Yet it does not come easily for me to just spend time with Him, without an agenda; just to get to know Him and what is on His heart. But I am learning to allow Him into all the secrets and dark places of my soul. If I have any dreams about the future, I do not hide them from Him.
But at the same time, do I take time to listen to Him and enjoy Him without any business? What would it take for me to long for God as David did in the Psalm?
Thinking about intimacy with God makes me think about how I build relationships with other people. Most of us in ministry have a lot of people in our lives. Even though I can have a lot of good relationships, a lot of them can be quite superficial and ministry-based.
Once I move or they move, relationships frequently end, and I have developed a certain aloofness in the way I approach people and let them into my life. I may be quite open about a lot of things, but there is little cultivation of the relationship beyond the framework of a ministry assignment. Maybe it is just me, but I realize that there are some patterns in the way I live out my relationships with others that I also repeat in my relationship with God.
Obviously, I also bring my family background and personality into the equation and it all adds up to a challenge of learning how to delight myself in knowing the invisible Lord.
It is a wonderful challenge, though. The God of the whole universe wants to be friends with us here on earth and throughout eternity.
What are your experiences in learning intimacy with the Lord? I would love to learn from your discoveries.
Ala Wyrzykowska joined staff in Poland in 1979, and she has served in different roles over the years. She has experienced ministry as a single and as a wife and mother of two (now) adult children. Seven years ago, she moved to Hungary where her husband became the Area Team Leader for Eastern Europe and Russia. She became the Associate Area Leader. She works directly with Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria; and she leads a Team Of Area Associate Leaders (TAAL ).
Ala’s article was first published on AltPerspective – a blog of Area Team Leaders @http://www.alt.eeccc.org/learning-intimacy/. We encourage you to visit their site often for their unique perspective on life and ministry.