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…