intimacy, shame, transparency

Intimacy Cannot Co-Exist with Fear

I have been on a journey of learning how to trust God with all of my heart. If I’m honest, I have to say that I still struggle to trust Him with some of the situations in my life that seem the most delicate. I “know” I can trust Him, but when I find myself worrying or reacting in anger or fear, that’s not a great indicator of trust. 

Can you relate?

There can be so much fear in trusting that Jesus will handle our hearts, our concerns, our loved ones, and our situations with care. He is not someone who will put your concerns on the backburner and then forget about us. It can feel that way sometimes! God’s timing is different than ours and what we would often like. Painful and stressful situations can go on way longer than we ever anticipated. This does not mean that He forgot about us. 

He didn’t forget.

Many of us have had situations in our past when we trusted someone who proved to be extremely untrustworthy later on. Maybe they were abusive. When that person is an authority figure in our lives, it can affect us in an even deeper way. This can directly affect our relationship with God if we do not already see Him as trustworthy. 

I write and speak often about intimacy with Jesus, because we all need it. We were created for a deep connection with Him. There’s a problem many of us have, though:

Intimacy cannot co-exist with fear.

If we are fearful to expose our hearts to God, intimacy has no room to grow. (This includes our relationships with others, as well.)

Many of you have read in the bible about the “fear of the Lord“. This is a good kind of fear that is related to respect and reverence for Him, because He is God.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

That’s a healthy fear and something entirely different than the unhealthy fear I’m referring to in this post. When we fear Him in a way that causes us to guard ourselves from Him, this is an unhealthy kind of fear that we were never meant to have.

There are many different ways that unhealthy fear can play a role in our relationship with God. Here’s just a few:

  • We can be fearful that God wants nothing to do with us.
  • We can be afraid that He is just like the abusive father we may have had.
  • We can be afraid that we will never measure up to be who God expects us to be.
  • We can be afraid that God is constantly watching and criticizing us – just waiting to punish us.
  • We can be afraid that if we get too close to Him, He will abandon us.
  • We can be afraid that He hates us for what we’ve done or who we are.

We cannot guard ourselves and have intimacy with someone else at the same time.

Shielding our heart from someone also shields us from an intimate connection with that person.

This has been a long process for me that continues (with God and with some of the people closest to me).

I have developed more intimacy with Jesus as I have learned to trust Him more. I am encouraged to know that as I continue to learn how to trust Him more, the intimacy I have with Him can grow. That is exciting for me!

How about you? Can you relate to this?

I often receive emails from women who do not trust God at all. They want to but don’t even know where to begin. Maybe this describes you, as well.

Perhaps you do trust God in several different areas of your life, but you want to trust Him more. Has fear has been holding you back in some way?

I have been encouraged to know I can ask Him to show me areas where I have not been trusting Him. (Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious, and we don’t need to ask Him!) He can also reveal any lies you have been believing about Him that have prevented that trust from growing. When we pray and ask God to show us these things, His answer doesn’t come in a scorning, condescending way. It is actually quite the opposite.

Jesus delights in the opportunity to be closer to us. He delights in the opportunity to have more of our hearts and our trust. He delights in having an intimate connection with us.

He delights in the possibility of having that kind of connection with you.

That may scare you. I get it! That used to scare me as well. (There’s the fear factor, again.)

What I have learned over the years is that God is completely trustworthy to care for my heart. He doesn’t always do what I want or in the way I want it, but He is trustworthy to care for my heart. This makes it so much easier to stay on the path He has for me. I am learning to trust, even when I don’t understand. 

Are you willing to take a step closer to trusting Him with more of your heart? He is a gentleman and will care for your heart better than anyone else ever could, because He is the one who created it.

Maybe some of you are realizing that part of your fear has come from sin in your life that God has been convicting you of. You can repent and ask God to forgive you and make yourself right with Him! It can often feel like we’ve gone too far or have been enmeshed in sin or strongholds for too long to ever be able to get out. This is not true. If you are reading this and your heart is pounding, or you feel I am speaking directly to you, I am. Actually, it’s the Holy Spirit grabbing your attention. The intimacy you long to have with Him will be possible to have when you repent from the sin in your life. There is grace for you to do this! Jesus will walk with you along the way, but you can’t start the process until you repent. He’s waiting with open arms for you to do so.

This is a subject that I only scratched the surface of today. If you can relate to having an unhealthy fear of God, I pray that you talk to Him about it. He wants to show you the truth of who He is. He also wants to peel layers of shame off of you that don’t belong there.

Look up scriptures about who He is and meditate on them. I pray that as your week goes on, He will show you (and me) areas where fear has blocked the intimacy we were created to have with Him. He can remove those obstacles, layer by layer, as we renew our minds to who He really is.

Father, please show us any areas where we have been fearful concerning you. Intimacy with you is for all of us. Expose any lies we have been believing about you. Expose any sin that has been standing in the way of intimacy with you. We choose to embrace the truth of who you are. Show us how to have intimacy with you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

2 thoughts on “Intimacy Cannot Co-Exist with Fear

  1. Hi Amy..
    I am paying attention still. Struggling. Still. Exposing my heart to God. I live in fear. It is a horrible way to live. I don’t even cry anymore.
    Thank you for your posts. They matter.
    Love Christine

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