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Shipwrecked Souls And Intimacy

“Every shipwrecked soul knows what it is to live without intimacy.”

Every Breaking Wave, Songs of Innocence – U2

There are a lot of shipwrecked souls out there, including me. There is a beautiful irony in admitting that my soul is ship-wrecked. It unlocks the door to intimacy with others, and ultimately with God. I become far more relatable when I admit my weakness and failures to others, particularly those who are closest to me. Conversely, when I am unable or refuse to openly recognize my short comings and weakness, it stunts my ability to connect with others.

It’s frustrating that I often operate in a “self-protective” mode that inhibits intimacy, the deepest desire of my soul. If I wish to fulfill the deepest desire of my soul, I must confront my instinctual fears that activate this “self-protection” and choose to take calculated risks with trusted people. I know that the fear is real, because relationships are undeniably painful. However, pain can be endured and isn’t actually the worst case scenario. It can stimulate growth in relationships, especially the most life-giving relationship available: the relationships with my heavenly Father.

Contrary to what many believe, the Bible lists only two simple prerequisites for an intimate relationship with God:

1.       Admission of brokenness

2.       Trusting him

Really, these are the same prerequisites for intimacy in any relationship. We must be willing to trust the other person with at least some of our brokenness. This means that we need to be in touch with our brokenness (A.K.A. “baggage”). For me, getting in touch with my baggage has been a terrifying experience at times. Much of who I wanted to be and how I wanted others to view me is threatened by the exposure of my baggage. As you can imagine, chasing a fictitious identity is like chasing a wave that breaks as soon as you get close to it, but it seems to be a very common experience.

Finding the courage to dig into our baggage

The more convinced I am that my baggage doesn’t actually define me, the easier it becomes to look inward with an honest, more objective heart. This convincing is no small task. We are all fighting a lifetime of overt and subliminal messaging that flies in the face of the idea that our baggage doesn’t define who we truly are. When we discover (or rediscover) that God isn’t going to be surprised, put-off or angry when we admit our vulnerabilities, we experience tremendous freedom and intimacy with him. He sweeps us off our feet and pulls us close to his chest in a loving embrace, not because we’ve corrected our issues, but because we’ve invited him into our mess. That is intimacy; being met in your vulnerable state with a loving embrace. Yes, the mess usually begins to get sorted out, but that’s not the ultimate objective. Walking in an intimate relationship is.

In light of these thoughts, I would encourage you to ponder another line from the same song:

“Are we ready to be swept off our feet and stop chasing every breaking wave?”

3 replies
  1. mark faulkner
    mark faulkner says:

    As a follower of Jesus, my soul is not “ship wrecked.”

    On the contrary, my soul has been rescued and restored by the One who desired relationship and intimacy with me.

    And although my bad experiences (baggage) certainly have shaped my life experiences, they do not define me. Knowing who we are in Christ is the key to a joyous, victorious life. Not perfect, but joyous and victorious. The Enemy of our souls would have us believe that we are still ship wrecked, with a wounded heart still full of poisonous arrows.

    But Jesus sad He came came to heal the broken-hearted. To release the captives. To set free those are oppressed.

    Paul said forgetting the things which are behind him, he looks forward to the upward call in Christ Jesus. Through intimacy with Jesus though the indwelling Spirit of God, we can live in freedom and intimacy, not bound or defined by our past.

    He whom the Son has set free is free indeed.

    By taking up the shield of faith (trust) we can fend off all the fiery arrows of Satan, who only comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy.

    And by the Spirit of adoption, as sons and daughters of God, we can now cry out, “Abba, Father.”

    It is for freedom He set us free.

    Leave the baggage at the airport.

    Blessings in Christ,

    -MF

    Reply
    • Bill Overton
      Bill Overton says:

      Hi Mark. Thanks for contributing. You’ve added some very important thoughts to a valuable discussion. One of the reasons that I chose this subject is the amount of confusion that exists around reconciling the victorious Christian life referenced in the Bible and the realities of living in a fallen world with fallible people (including Christians), which is also a common theme addressed throughout the Bible. Reconciling these two things has been a challenge for me and many others that I know.

      As believers, the perfect, sovereign God of the universe has provided all that we need to live victorious lives in Christ, yet nobody has been able to fully realize that in this life. In fact, George Barna (the leading Christian researcher) would say that his research indicates that less than 10% of Christians live lives that look significantly different from those who have never trusted Christ. I believe that God has saved our souls from eternal separation from him (hell) and that he has given us a new, living spirit, which is perfect. I also believe that there is a process of filling and re-filling of the holy spirit.

      Additionally, I believe that the Bible teaches that there is an on-going sanctification process of our souls on this side of heaven, whereby we get the opportunity to draw closer to God by increasing our trust in him and our awareness of our brokenness. Through this life-long process, he is patiently restoring our souls as a labor of love. Our souls (heart, mind, will, emotions, and desires) are a work in progress on this side of heaven.

      In my experience, the restoration process can be hindered by the baggage that I refuse to address or am completely unaware of. Only by first identifying it and addressing it with the spirit of God can I truly leave it behind. It seems that he reveals the areas that he wants to be addressed in the time frame that is optimal to deepen our relationship and intimacy. This might sound frustrating, but actually it’s very comforting to know that God doesn’t expect me to address all my crud at once. He takes me exactly where he wants me to go, one step at a time, as long as I am willing to listen to him.

      For me, it is critical to realize (admit) that even though I have the very spirit of God in me, at times my heart, mind, will, emotions and desires are a mess (shipwrecked). One day, my soul will no longer be a messy place. It will be in perfect alignment with the spirit of God, which has lived in me ever since I trusted Jesus. Until then, Jesus is helping me to identify, sort out and get rid of the baggage that I carry around in my soul.

      I hope that this extended discussion helps bring clarity to the challenge of reconciling the abundant life we have in Christ with the realities of living in a fallen world with fallible people.

      Blessings in Christ,

      Bill

      Reply
      • mark faulkner
        mark faulkner says:

        Hi Bill,

        I love the acronym for J.O.Y.
        (Set your focus on)

        J-esus first
        O-thers second
        Y-ourself last.

        The first half of my Christian life/walk, I spent so much time focusing on myself—too much introspection, more or less ‘spiritual naval-gazing.’

        But as the Spirit has helped me to die to self, my focus (fortunately) is becoming less and less on me, and more and more on Jesus and on others. And therein lies the freedom; if I can focus my heart, love, mind, and strength on loving and blessing God and others, I don’t have much time left to focus on “me” and that’s so much at the heart of the message of the New Testament.

        Blessings in Christ,

        -Mark

        Reply

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