Conquering your fear of intimacy (2)

‘They…fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him.’ Acts 20:37 NKJV
Emotional intimacy is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. It fills their souls and yours too. It eliminates our loneliness. And yes, even in our macho society the Bible suggests emotional intimacy between men. The elders of the church at Ephesus, realising they would never see Paul again, ‘wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more’ (vv. 37-38 NKJV). Famed athlete Bill Russell says, ‘Most people have a harder time letting themselves love, than finding someone to love them.’ So, what can you do? 1) Understand the source of your fear. What happened to make you avoid a desire to be known? 2) Accept yourself completely – every feature, every imperfection – as God’s masterpiece; then you can stop worrying about someone rejecting you because you’re not perfect. 3) Test the waters. Start gradually with a few friends and begin to share your needs and how you really feel. Confess your struggle with your weight, self-image, habits, or other issues. Instead of pretending you’re something that you’re not, ask for support. Find joy in being authentic. 4) Practise saying, ‘I love you’ to the significant people in your life even if it feels foreign to do so. Stop fearing. ‘I love you’ doesn’t translate, ‘I want to be your slave,’ nor does it say, ‘I’ll tolerate anything and remain in relationship with you.’ It just means ‘I’m committed to our relationship, and I believe that by God’s help we can work through the problem.’
Bible in a Year: Luke 1:57-80; Ps 10-12;

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