Have you ever really looked at yourself in the mirror? Have you starred so uncomfortably close that you got in your own space? Has the mirror ever fogged up when your bad morning breath hit the glass? Did you ever look so closely that you could see the tiny soft hairs growing out of your pores? Have you experienced an intimate stare down with your crow’s feet, laugh lines and sagging eyelids? Speaking of eyelids; have you ever pushed them up and gazed deeply into your own eyes? Did it scare you or were you filled with wonder? Have you seen the majestic mixture of sprinkled colors in your irises that make your eyes your very own? Do you know the real color of your hair? How well do you intimately know the details of your face?
Likewise, do you intimately know your mind, heart, soul, and spirit? God does. God knows you more than you know yourself. (Isaiah 55:9) He created you with all of that detail because it was pleasing to Him. He sees beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) He sees His handiwork and His beautiful creation in you. That’s not all God sees. He sees all the rest of you and He loves you anyway. He sees the one whom He loves. God intimately knows us. The good, the bad morning breath, the ugly and He loves us still!
That is so hard to comprehend especially on days when our attitude stinks and the negative language in our head flares up. When I look in the mirror I don’t see a face that is pleasing, UGH. I see flaws, a crooked nose and lots of wrinkles. I see gray hairs peeking out of my hair line. I see myself aging. I see the ugly in my soul and I have a magnifying glass on my failures. I am comforted in knowing that His thoughts are precious towards me! (Psalm 139:17) Intimacy is hard and uncomfortable isn’t it? I don’t want anyone, not even God himself, to see my ugly! I would just love it; if being intimate with God and others meant I only had to share my mastery and perfection. But dang it! It requires that I share my awkward and uncomfortable too.
Intimacy. There is a certain comfort level that we lose when someone gets in our physical space. Just imagine yourself standing in line at the grocery store. What would happen if you took one step closer to the person standing in line in front of you? Well, they would probably take one step away from you! When we are in a crowded venue such as a sporting event or shopping mall at Christmas time, people often emotionally respond with laughter and happiness at the close proximity to strangers while others become angry. Have you ever wondered why?
American anthropologist Edward Hall says, that we begin to develop this personal space or our personal bubble when we are as young as three years old! Personal space can vary from as little as 18” and up to 12’ depending on how safe you feel in a relationship with someone. Who doesn’t want to be velcro close to their most trusted friend, partner or companion? I do! But, I also want to be at least 12 feet away or more from those whom I don’t trust. Here’s why. Fear.
Our “personal space” is invisible, we can’t see it, touch it or feel it, but it exists. When we are as young as three years old our brains created it to help us protect ourselves from real and legitimate danger. Fear is a barrier to intimacy. I think we can all say we want a deeper and more intimate relationship with God, yet we are afraid to look intimately at our very own faces in the mirror and we are afraid to stand too close to people. We are threatened when people get in our personal space. How do we find the courage to seek a deeper intimate relationship with our God? Here’s the answer: God doesn’t have personal space, we do. He is approachable all the time and in all circumstances. He will never take one step away from us.
On our journey with God we discover that nothing can separate us from his love. (Romans 8:39) Along the way, His steadfast love helps us discover safe zones where deep intimacy can bloom. As He walks with us down these pathways (Psalm 119:105) God heart’s desire is that we discover the intimate bond we have had with him before time began. (Jeremiah 1:5) When we push through barriers of fear we will fall deeper and deeper into the arms of Jesus who loves and accepts everything about us.
Maybe the best way to experience Jesus this Christmas is to go and get in someone’s personal space today, give them a hug, take one step closer or look a little longer in the mirror and see what God sees in your face, heart, soul, and spirit. Push through the barrier of fear that hinders the wonderful intimacy with God that you have longed for. There is nothing that can separate you from the one who created you for His pleasure.
Sheri Page has been married to her husband for 10 years and cherishes their blended family of 6 adult children and 9 grandchildren. She has worked in and alongside ministries for over 30 years. She has served many roles with in the walls of a church including, a Women’s Ministry director and assistant to a Care Pastor where she served people who were walking through Baptism, Celebrate Recovery, Divorce Care and benevolence. Sheri loves to share her curiosity and unique understanding of life with Jesus by her side. She is a 5 year breast cancer survivor and considers that experience to be the one of the greatest gifts God has given her. More writings from Sheri can be found on her blog: https://thelordsdwellingplace.com/