Let’s face it—you need love.
I’d like to think that it’s possible to satiate that need with a phone. I’d like to think that checking into church, the gym, and work would satiate the desire for closeness.
You have two seemingly contradictory needs: independence and closeness
Some psychologists believe that our earliest experiences in the womb shape this paradoxical desire. We are wholly dependent and independent at the same time. NSYNC captured this struggle with their hit song, “Baby” ….yes…there’s a profound revelation in the words: “It’s tearin up my heart when I’m with you/but when we are apart I feel it too/and no matter what I do/I feel the pain, with or without you”
We all struggle because there’s a part of us that wants what we don’t have. If you’re single, you want to be in a loving relationship. If you’re in a committed relationship there’s a tendency to wonder “what if” you were single again, or even with someone else entirely. Getting the ratio of independence and intimacy right can feel paralyzing, confusing, and painful.
If you wanna kill your dreams, get close to the wrong person.
I’m talking about the kind of people who don’t love you, they love the idea of you.#ghosted
— Mike Signorelli (@mikesignorelli_) February 4, 2020
Being single and dating can feel like that moment when you pour a bowl full of cereal and you’re super excited, but then realize you’re all out of milk. Expectations are at an all-time high and an all-time low
Even if you start enjoying being in a relationship it can feel like when you’re sleeping and your alarm hasn’t gone off yet but the amount of sleep you’re getting feels a little suspicious.
We feel the tension between independence and closeness. How do we know when we are encountering the real thing?
Counterfeit Closeness: Closeness without covenant
Their “promise” is not enough. Heck, nowadays, a contract isn’t enough. Every time I see a billboard advertising $399 for a divorce I wonder, “Did the couple first try to spend $399 on dates?” We can settle for a counterfeit closeness that says sex, promises, and even contracts are enough to bring the sense of closeness we desire. Covenant is a commitment outlined in scripture. The Genesis account of creation details the first human relationship. Adam had a relationship with God, but that was actually not enough. God said, “it isn’t good that man is alone.” It’s possible to know God and yet still have a measure of loneliness in your life. Even God honors our aching for human intimacy and provides provisions to satisfy our longing. Remember, it was God Himself who made Eve from Adam’s rib. God is still providing and provisioning the relationship you long for. His faithfulness is never-ending.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Counterfeit Independence: “I can take care of myself” turns into “I don’t want to hear your input.” There’s a fine line between healthy and unhealthy independence.
“I don’t want to get married” can actually be, “I don’t want to get hurt.”
Sometimes, even trying to take care of yourself prevents people from serving you. You can become so independent that there’s no room in your life for someone to safely occupy relational space. Adam recognized the need for a helpmate. God recognized the need and provided. Pride and woundedness tells you that you can do it all by yourself, but God orchestrates a beautiful interconnectedness that heals us as we lean into relationship.
God wants to turn the pain of relationship into purpose.
God wants you to experience true independence and intimacy. I find it surprising that the Holy Spirit has two primary roles as outlined in scripture, and both of them fulfill our greatest needs. The Holy Spirit is our comforter (intimacy) and He empowers (independence)!
So it is my prayer that you come into relationship with the Holy Spirit through the finish work of the cross, so that you can bring every other relationship into alignment.
For more insights, subscribe to the V1 Church Podcast and listen to our series, “Ghosted”.
Just in case, here’s the podcast link: https://soundcloud.com/user-209942460/its-tearing-up-my-heart-ghosted-part-1