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Intimacy?

23 Feb

I enjoyed a fantastic half-day meeting yesterday with one of our artists in Reclaim Management. Early on, our conversation turned to what “intimacy” actually means. At Reclaim, my business partner and I committed to only bringing in as many authors as we could maintain close relationship with. The goal wasn’t to be a giant management firm with hundreds of authors, but a niche firm catering to a specific clientele and growing key individuals’ career paths. We want close relationship and real community with our artists.

“What breeds intimacy in relationship and community, though?” the artist asked. “I’ve been thinking about that and I think it’s surrender.” I listened as he explained that to surrender yourself into a relationship, to put the other person’s needs and desires above your own, to think first of the other and then yourself, to give up control, to surrender your need and instead focus on giving, creates intimacy in all relationships–business or personal.

Given that I’m still making the three-hour drive to Nashville every week, I have a lot of time to mull over talks like these. Yesterday was no exception!

In the past two weeks, I’ve been thrice “accused” of being transparent. As a former manipulator/control freak, I appreciate the accusation as outward proof of the inward changes God is working through the years. I thought back to those years when my greatest fears included not measuring up to the idea of me others possessed. There was a lot of NONtransparency in those years. And did I have intimate relationships as a result? Sadly, no. Many would probably have said they were close to me. About two would have been right.

So, I would add a requirement to the “surrender” concept the artist suggested: authenticity. I can pretend to be about the other person, pretend to surrender. I can fake self-sacrifice and humility–especially if I have limited contact with the person. I’m sure you can think of “ministry workers” who fit this description, too. However, when surrender and authenticity combine, a relationship rooted in truth and honesty manifests. Those are the “sweet” relationships we cherish in life. The ones to which we gravitate when life revs up.

Authenticity sparks a need to embrace vulnerability, which is of course why most hang out on the route I took early on–fake it. If someone rejects your fake self, it’s not a true rejection, right? If someone, however, knows you and rejects that, you’re in for some pain. For me, the realization that pain births wisdom negated the need to protect my authentic self from rejection. In short, I decided to listen to Solomon’s wise words, “If it costs you everything, get wisdom.”

What breeds intimacy in your relationships? What barriers did you embrace along the way that robbed you of real community? How did you recognize them? Let’s see if we can help steer each other into stronger community and relationships…

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6 Comments

Posted by on February 23, 2011 in The Misc Bucket

 

6 responses to “Intimacy?

  1. indyink

    February 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    What breeds intimacy in my relationships? One word. Trust. Without it, there is nothing.

     
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  3. Rebecca LuElla Miller

    February 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for these thoughts, Rebeca. I guess I’m still pondering intimacy in business. I mean, doesn’t intimacy imply “personal”?

    At the same time, I’m thinking God doesn’t call us to love our neighbor only on our own time, not in our work world. In loving our neighbor, we must indeed give of ourselves, mustn’t we?

    Maybe intimacy isn’t the goal. Maybe it’s a byproduct of what God calls us to — servanthood.

    Barriers would be pride and selfishness. Overcoming those seems to me to be a work of the Holy Spirit and submission to the authority of God’s word.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Becky

     
  4. Sally Apokedak

    February 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I think all the things you speak of here are important to relationship—putting others ahead of ourselves, being vulnerable and transparent…I also think that intimacy is bred when we are going the same direction. When we have a common goal.

    After my husband died, I realized that the thing I missed most was having another person who was always in my corner. There were times when it was “you and me against the world.” I knew he would always be on my side, wanting me to succeed. And I knew that there was no one else in the world who loved our children the way I loved them. We had these shared loves and goals. We were a team. When one did well, all members of the team felt blessed. We genuinely were happy when any member of the family succeeded.

    And I guess I’m agreeing with your and with your client—when you put the other guy’s needs ahead of your own, you are rejoicing when he succeeds.

    And when we rejoice over the other guy’s success, then there is no need for any of us to hide behind masks. We can all be transparent, knowing that the other members of the team are for us and not against us.

     
  5. Rebeca Seitz

    March 1, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Oh, Sally, it sounds like you had an incredible marriage. What a loving thing for God to have given you!

    Becky, one of my favorite definitions of “intimacy” is, “the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar.” That’s the kind of description I think those in the early church must have had, when they met in each others’ homes and shared the goings-on of their days, prayed with and for each other, etc. I think that intimacy is what drew others to want to know Jesus. I also think that level of intimacy is what allows for self-sacrifice. It’s what I think should set us apart, today. Those without the love of Jesus covering themselves and their relationships should see such closeness at work in our relationships with each other and wonder what makes the difference. Imagine if Christian publishing operated like the early church! Shoot, I suppose I should imagine if I acted like those in the early church all the time. That’d be a good place to start…

     
  6. Sheryl

    March 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    A friend of mine defines intimacy as “into-me-see.” It’s that authentic transparency you talked about. Multi-faceted as intimacy is, at it’s core it’s letting someone else see into me—hurts, triumphs, sensitive spots and all.

     

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