Church On The Edge
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Church On The Edge

Just Be Yourself

I’ve just returned from a three-day hunting/camping trip with my son, John. The hunting was unsuccessful, but the father-son time was fantastic. John and I are close. Intimate is the word that describes our relationship. I wish I could say that’s always been true. It hasn’t.

It took me a long time to separate the image I was crafting and pursuing from the person God made me to be. And by placing how I wanted others to see me above who I really was, I was less than the person God created me to be. It took decades and some intense soul-wringing struggles before I became comfortable being me rather than some image that served as nothing more than a smokescreen hiding the real me from both myself and others.

John doesn’t have that problem. He’s comfortable in his own skin. And from where I’m sitting, that’s a rare thing, especially for someone his age. He’s 31.

Anyway, let me get to my point. The growing intimacy between John and I came about as I abandoned my pursuit of image and embraced who my Creator made me to be. It’s not an understatement to say it has set me free: free to be myself, free from worrying about how others see me, free to forge a growing relationship with my son, who, in so many ways, has been waiting on his Dad to grow up.

I’ve been reading Community, by Henri Nouwen. This morning, I came across these words, and I’d like to share them with you. They inspired this post. Read them prayerfully, and take time to reflect on what Nouwen is saying.

“Community is, first of all, the place of intimacy. If you are afraid, you cannot be intimate. You cannot be intimate with a person you’re afraid of. If you are afraid of a person you either cling to them or you run away. Real intimacy is something other than clinging or running. It means the willingness to truly be together in weakness and to be faithful to one another in our vulnerability.” (p.59.)

I think the greatest hindrance to intimacy is our fear of how others see us, what others think about us. We’re so busy crafting the image we want others to see that we can’t be the people God has created us to be. There is no greater obstacle to genuine, growing, healthy relationships than this.

I’m so much closer to my son today than when he was growing up. We have a great father-son relationship, but more than that we have a great friendship. But it took me letting go of the image I wanted him to see and becoming the man God created me to be before that could happen.

“For you created my innermost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and

wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.”

(Psalm 139:14)

In Christ,

Dan

Check out my podcasts from Church on the Edge and my books on Kindle.

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Seeking to live on the edge, like Jesus. danarmistead.com

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Dan Armistead

Dan Armistead

Dan is the former pastor of Seoul International Baptist Church and Adjunct Professor at Torch Trinity Graduate University in Seoul, Korea.

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