Changing my Position on Thursdays: A Look at Real Intimacy

Sometimes, on a Thursday, dreams come true. I’ve decided that is why life is great.

I had the wild chance last Thursday to read the first section of an unpublished manuscript by a favorite author of mine. Someone I know is in relationship with this author and received a copy. I was stunned when he placed it in my hands and asked if I would read it first. “Do you want me to mark on it?” I asked, terrified. “No,” he smiled, “Don’t do that… but do look it over. I’d like to hear your thoughts.” I COULD NOT WAIT!!!

That day at lunch I snuck away for my first peek.  I ended up reading the whole thing through twice and still had it back in under 24 hours. It was one of the most compelling and hopeful pieces I have read on the risks, fears and beauty of intimate relationship. When the book comes out, I will recommend it by name. For now, I want to respect that I was invited into something unfolding, and so I will remain vague.

The days since I handed those pages back have provoked much in me. I’ve had a steady buzz in the back of my head, pondering my own book that seems to take form so slowly, and reflecting on the intimate relationships in my life. The book invited me to name where I manage relationship, protect my heart and choose control over true intimacy. I cringed a bit inside as the author named some of his own control tactics. I identified with every, single one. And there are other choices I make that destroy intimacy:

–       I often choose to be impressive rather than open—smart, competent, articulate, sophisticated. It is hard to be close to that person.

–       I fight in my head to not use a scorecard in my relationships. It’s terrible… but balancing good vs. bad has helped me quiet questions of my own worth and fear of abandonment or betrayal.

–       I overreact in the face of disappointment. When someone shows up as less than everything I had imagined, I loose hold of their goodness and I fail to sit in gratitude for where they are actively loving me.

–       I excel at interpreting “irrefutable” facts that make me always right. Trust me, you do not want to fight with me. In such moments, all I can see is your choice to not love me (which most of the time, is not the choice you have made; it is the choice I am afraid you have made).

That is all true, all broken, all me.

So where does hope come in? I realized as I read that manuscript this last week that hope comes in “I’m sorry.” It comes every time I say, “This is not what I want to do! I am attacking you because I am afraid, and I would like to stop. Please, let me try again.” Hope is the resilient and kind men and women who say, “Yes, I would love to try again with you.”

When I hear those words, I remember that I am broken, but I am also steadfastly loved. And that love, that love is what I have ached for all along. In my surrender of rightness and sureness and smartness and picture-perfect moments, that raw and real love has permission to wrap around me and whisper in my ear “you are so wanted.”

I am a mess…I am learning how to accept that. And there are people and a Father who all deeply believe and delight in my heart. They call me to try again. They hold me in “I’m sorry.” They beckon me to release the woman who is afraid.

And when I listen to them, there is space for new life and new dreams to come true, even on the most ordinary Thursdays.


Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world.  She’s a 25 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart.  Her favorite creative project right now is called The Someday Writings, and someday, she may let those writings see the light of day.  For now, she is honored to be a part of Red Tent Living.