Writings of a Beholder 🌿 3.17.23
A soul hungry for intimacy
A Soul Hungry for Intimacy
I feel the anxiety settle into my chest again, like a tidal wave I can’t outrun.
Everything moves in slow motion like that dream you have sometimes that makes you feel painfully stuck; you know the one. The one where you need to run but can’t seem to get your legs to move as fast as you need them to, terrifying you.
I breathe in and out, put my hand to my chest until the wave reaches the shore of my soul and recedes back out again. But I feel it — the anxiety — long after its waves recede, lingering within my body in the way my head slightly aches and in the tightness of my chest and shoulders.
My body holds a plethora of stories, and the one she knows most is the one I struggle most with.
The story of a girl who struggles to let go, to surrender control, to enter into the unknown trusting that her heavenly Father holds her and knows her.
And it’s that lack of trust in the Father that always leads my body to the shores of anxiety.
In his book, Enjoying Intimacy with God, J. Oswald Sanders writes,
“Both Scripture and experience teach that it is we, not God, who determine the degree of intimacy with Him that we enjoy. We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be.”
Could it be that this anxiety is just a symptom of a soul hungry for intimacy?
A soul hungry to be fully known by God? To be filled and fully held by the One Who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22) while at the same time being closer to me than the very air I breathe?
You mean, I get to choose how close He gets?
This thought gets under my skin until I’m forced to throw tired and frustrated hands up at the sky, gasping for air as I do, letting my inhibitions and tired legs fall to the floor.
Maybe the cure to this anxiety is letting God fully know me — every part of me, down to the darkest, dirtiest, and emptiest crevices. That’s true intimacy, isn’t it? Not just presenting the pretty parts of yourself, but the whole of yourself, and believing that even there in the dark, you are worthy of being loved.
It’s here that I realize trust begets intimacy, and intimacy begets trust. Jesus said so Himself.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. (John 15:4, NIV)
Give God your whole self, because He entrusts His whole self to you. Because He’s worthy of your trust. Because He hung on a cross and begged the Father to forgive the very ones who nailed Him there because He knew that the death of His body would bring Him closer to you.
Everything Christ did, everything He does do, is so that He can be closer to you.
Let that reality sink down deep into your soul — The God-Man chose to die so He could abide with you and you with Him.
As I live into that truth and choose to make His abiding Love my reality, the anxiety no longer has a place to germinate. In its place sprouts peace as I learn to accept and trust the truth of my own Belovedness, handed to me by the Beloved Himself.
We are only as close to God as we choose to be, and intimacy comes when we learn to trust the Love that God gives.
“I am so intimately aware of you,” I hear Him whisper to the darkest parts of me. “I can read your heart like the back of my scarred hand. I know you. I want to know you more.”
And I want to know Him more because the more I let Him love me the more I see the truth of His heart. So I choose to lock eyes with the One Whose call to intimacy lives within me at all times.
This is how I begin to behold Him and all that He is within my days — by letting Him love every part of me as I surrender all and love Him with all I’ve got.
I feel the tension in my body leave me as He comes to me, rearranging and restoring the emptiest parts of me.
Peace be with you,
A Breath Prayer for Your Weekend
You’ve searched me, Lord.
And You know me.
*if you’d like to learn more about the practice of breath prayer, check out this blog post I wrote titled, How to Use Breath Prayer.
Join the Sacred Spaces Community
Are you longing to be more attentive to God’s presence in your everyday life?
Do you have the desire to know God’s love and grow in deeper communion with Him?
Are you sensing the Spirit’s invitation to grow spiritually but don’t know where to begin?
Do you feel tired, worn out, or burnt out on religion?
Are you craving rest, refreshment of soul, and perhaps a different way of being with God?
In the Sacred Spaces community, we’re going to journey deeper into the heart of God together, putting our ears to His chest as we gently trod toward Homebase, by exploring different Christian contemplative practices that are designed to open our hearts to the Spirit’s leading and loving voice in our souls and lives. By subscribing to Sacred Spaces for just $5 a month, you’ll gain immediate access to:
monthly emails that will be sent out on the 1st of every month containing that month’s spiritual practice, action steps, and tools, outside additional resources, and weekly reflection questions
Soul Care Sessions, where you can book a 30-minute one-on-one Zoom call with me to talk about that month's spiritual practice, what the Lord is revealing to you, or what you're wrestling with. It's an invitation to come as you are as the Holy Spirit leads our time together and cares for your soul
a community chat in the Substack app where you can engage with other community members and me about that month’s email or whatever else may be stirring within you
Click here to join or read more about it:
Resources & Fun Things to Pick Up
Pick up your own copy of Enjoying Intimacy with God by J. Oswald Sanders: Thrift Books
I’ve also really been enjoying The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen. Grab a copy here: Thrift Books
My friend and fellow writer, Kari Bartkus, is offering an 8-week journaling course called Journal Gently designed to help you experience God’s presence in the midst of grief. I went through the 8-week writing program myself, and it was incredibly healing and life-giving. Check it out here: Journal Gently
Grab some breath prayer cards, a journal, and other contemplative resources from my Etsy shop: The Beholding Co.
Grab a copy of my Bible study, You Are Beloved: a 21-day study on how to root your identity in the love of God, over on Amazon.
An Invitation to Pause & Reflect
A regular practice of reflection helps us recognize what’s going on beneath the surface of our souls so we can name it in the Lord’s presence. Because as we learn to name what we feel, what we need, and what we long for, we’re also learning to discern the Spirit’s sweet, gentle voice within our hearts and lives.
Take a few moments today or this weekend to journal or contemplate with the Holy Spirit the following question(s) or prompt(s):
Where do you hold anxiety in your body? If you’re not sure, take a few moments to notice where you’re carrying tension. Then, breathe deeply into that space, praying a prayer of release and surrender as you do.
If you have time this weekend, slowly read Psalms 139 in The Passion Translation. Then, prayerfully reflect on these questions, journaling your responses and heart stirrings if you feel led to.
What stirs up within you as you read through Psalm 139?
What truths about God melt your heart?
What provokes you or makes you uncomfortable?
Thanks for reading Writings of a Beholder 🌿 If you’d like to join the community of faith wanderers and beholders then subscribe or pledge your support below.