“Because you…ate from the tree
about which I gave you the order,
‘You are not to eat from it,’
…you will work hard.”
Adam was given the authority to Name.
But after Adam Named,
he was bent.
The privilege of Naming
Work has always been a part of the equation. We were always meant to tend, cultivate, and name; but, we don’t like to think about how the Fall created more work for us.
In every way imaginable.
Eve missed the manipulation maneuver Satan pulled on her as he hacked his way into the equation. We still too often miss the clues that he’s hacking his lies into our lives.
And in our broken relationship with God, there is a strong temptation to avoid being known, to avoid confronting our weaknesses and our mistakes. Again, just like our forebears Adam and Eve, who hid from our Creator after they disobeyed. Our natural tendency and bent is to NOT want to share our weakness with others. Share my jealousies? insecurities? frustrations? relational tensions? Share my weaknesses with my friends? It dredges the bottom dwellers of feelings that I have worked hard to keep shoved down, and I don’t want my friends to think about me as badly as I sometimes feel about myself!
In my life, when I’m fighting off feelings of rejection, my natural inclination is to shift into self-perseveration mode. Self-preservation is the lie I bite into that I believe will shield me, “since I can’t trust” the person who inflicted the hurt, or who I imagine must have intentionally hurt me—most likely an untrue statement, in and of itself. The response to these emotional triggers is to block off my emotions, go it alone, and pull myself up by my emotional bootstraps. I’ve got it all together. I’m just processing, I tell myself. But my pride would suggest that I don’t need sympathy, empathy, or adulation; that I am autonomous, free from superfluous and vain needs.
But we weren’t made to suffer hardship alone.
We were created to be Known.
To be known is still our deepest desire. For someone to care enough about us even while we are messed up; for them to care enough to pursue us, wild animals though we be.
To be known.
For someone to involve themselves in our messes, help us sort through our emotional baggage, help us organize it so we feel less emotionally chaotic. We crave for a fairy godmother to wave her wand over the messes, and I’m not referring to the stack of dishes (although that would be alright, too). It is as English poet John Donne marks well in his poem “No Man is an Island”:
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
We can rest in believing this is no fairy tale; it is true. Let’s soak in the truth of His love for us today and all our tomorrows. Jeremiah recounts that God not only dreamed about us when we were in the womb, but even before that:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart.”
Likewise, our greatest ambition should be that of pursuing God. Just as we desire to be fully known, “it is the joyful duty, the delightful task of his children to spend their lives…discovering who he is” (Jen Wilkin, None Like Him, p.33).
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
We have opportunities to walk out the practice of authentically connecting with others on the horizontal level. Sadly, our bent and rent world has misaligned healthy intimacy to a gross degree. Dr. Rick Marks has really spoken to my heart on healthy relationships.
“Healthy relationships require vulnerable communications on the part of the speaker and empathy upon the part of the listener. It is through vulnerability and empathy that intimacy and connection are achieved and maintained. Fear prevents the building of intimacy,” (RelateWell: A Journey to Developing Healthy and Loving Relationships With Anyone, p. 38). Dr. Marks provides biblical examples of three Hebrew words for intimacy:
- Yada-“to know,” a deep personal awareness and understanding of another.
O Lord, you have searched me and you know (yada) me!
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You understand my thoughts from far away;
You comprehend my path…
I know (yada) the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord;
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
- Sod-“to reveal,” secret counsel, circle, company, fellowship.
“The froward (difficult to deal with; unteachable) is an abomination to the Lord, but his secret counsel (sod) is with the righteous.”
Proverbs 3:32 KJV/TLV
“The secret (sod) of the Lord is with those who fear him;
he will show them His covenant.”
Psalm 25:14 NKVJ
- Sakan-“to care,” intimately acquainted, abide, dwell.
“You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar (sakan) with all my ways.”
Psalm 139:3 NKJV
“And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode (sakan), there the children of Israel pitched their tents.”
Father, incline our hearts to veer toward you when tempted to self-isolate. You pursue us with a yada kind of love; help us find safety there. You long to reveal yourself with a sod kind of confidence; help us be teachable and pliable. You desire a relationship with us with a sakan kind of fellowship; help us abide in that level of intimacy, abiding in trust that You will lead us right.