By Phil Matarazzo
Intimate: closely acquainted, closely personal, best friend, kindred spirit, very private, transparent, vulnerable, close union, deep relationship; relating to, or existing in the inmost depths of the soul. “In to Me See.”
Abiding: enduring, long lasting, lifelong, remaining, permanent, unending, unchanging, steadfast, eternal, perpetual, everlasting.
Continuing Without Change.
“And all the branch possesses belongs to the vine. The branch does not exist for itself, but to bear fruit that can proclaim the excellence of the vine: it has no reason of existence except to be of service to the vine. Glorious image of the calling of the believer, and the entireness of his consecration to the service of his Lord.” Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ
Jesus speaking… “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4,5 ESV).
God created you and I to have intimacy and abide in Him. It’s only through intimacy, and abiding in Him that we hear His voice, feel His love, and know Him. Abiding is how we enjoy being in His presence. Abiding defined is a deep connection; a dependency; a continuance. The Greek word to abide “meno,” means to remain, or stay, to continue. Enjoying a fulfilled life is simple as, just being in the presence of God and remaining there. If your roots are deep in intimacy with Christ nothing can conquer you (Romans 8:37). According to Jon Piper “abiding in Jesus is trusting that He really is loving us at every moment and that everything He revealed about Himself and our future is true.” You cannot bear good fruit unless you remain in Jesus and He in you (John 15:4).
The survivor mentality performs to exist
My childhood was filled with trauma, which made me feel very alone and disconnected. My ability at this time to integrate my emotional experiences overwhelmed me which caused my mentality to survive. Emotional survivors are forced into hiding. They need to perform to survive. Performers by nature are those who adorn masks and are acting out a role. There can be no depth to them and no deep emotional connection and thereby disconnected. Disconnected people are very lonely people who live in the past. As a rule they connect with others who are also emotionally disconnected and lonely. Two performers living with each other in a significant relationship will only know how to build walls. They will exist as strangers unless they take ownership and seek counseling. Counseling only helps if you take it and apply it. No application, no change.
Let me explain what I mean by performing and intimacy. Performing is acting, or entertaining. Performers play a role as to perform as an actor would acting in a play. They are perpetually on a stage. Take the Bible story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus mildly rebukes Martha for not doing what Mary was doing. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus in intimacy with Him. She was going deep with Jesus, getting emotionally connected and getting to know Him, while Martha was too busy doing and performing. If you desire to truly be with someone and know them intimately, you must spend time “being” and not merely “performing.” You must sit with them emotionally naked, sharing your most inner-self. Your thoughts, mind, and your soul. This is intimacy. Staying connected in this manner is called “abiding.” Most of humanity is merely surviving, pretending, performing, and acting. Too busy doing. Survivors never go towards the pain or the root of the problem, they bury it, adjust, and pretend everything away. The reason the survivor can’t connect on deeper levels with another is because they themselves are disconnected. For a survivor to have intimacy they first must know and understand themselves. They must spend time with themselves. If not, their relationships will be in the way of performing. Merely superficial. “The truth about intimate relationships is that they can never be any better than our relationship with ourselves.” James Hollis
Those who are performing are harboring secrets, are dishonest and can’t be trusted. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being dishonest on purpose, but they have given their true identity to someone who by nature thrives on secrets and dishonesty. A nature that manipulates, deceives, steals and destroys. That nature is the “flesh,” or I like to prefer as the “performer.” Keeping secrets and being dishonest will never lead to intimacy. Performers can’t trust themselves so how can they be trusted by others. Secrecy then becomes the enemy of intimacy, which means that the flesh/performer is the enemy. Never put any confidence in the flesh. “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3 ESV).
To live a life of fulfillment, intimacy, destiny and freedom you must find out what’s beneath the surface. There’s a quote by Aristotle that I newly discovered, I would like to replace one word for my purpose. Here’s the original quote: “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” My translation looks like this: “The aim of intimacy is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” This is what I’ve been trying to get across. The surface is shallow, no depth. What’s beneath the shallow surface gives us a true picture of the problem. If the depths of a soul are not visible then the true you can’t be seen. Your life and your relationships become superficial. To have intimacy you must expose everything. Transparency, humility, honesty, and confession are the keys that open the door to intimacy. You will never see the beauty that God created in you if you don’t throw out the emotional garbage from your past.
With intimacy you’ll never feel alone. Performers always feel alone, even when they’re surrounded by people. Intimacy is the path to abiding and the end of the performer. The end of loneliness, and the end of acting out. Abiding in Christ Jesus is taught strictly to keep us connected to the true Vine. The true Vine being Jesus Christ (John 15). We were created to abide in Christ and not abide in the flesh or the world. Who or what are you abiding in? One way to find out is to examine your fruit. Fruit in this context means your behavior and security. Do you struggle with anger, fear, bitterness, resentment, stubbornness, hatred, judgment, dishonesty, envies, guilt, shame, jealousies, self-indulgence etc.. Do you struggle with phobias, anxieties, insecurities, perfectionism, depression, hopeless despair, and addiction? If so you’re not abiding in Jesus. A side note; if you struggle with ongoing depression and severe mood swings it could be mental and/or clinical, please get it checked out. Either way, we desperately need Jesus, and can’t overcome any trial or adversity until we abide in Him. “We are prone to forget and neglect Christ because we simply do not grasp how desperately we need Him.” Jon Bloom
I thought that to be loved and accepted I had to perform, I no longer believe that. Life for me has become a constant reminder that in Your presence is freedom and not in my performing. In Your presence Lord is were I desperately belong. Thank You for loving me. In Your precious name sweet Jesus I pray. Amen.