Jesus had a wonderful way of asking questions. You may know the story well. Jesus sees a man lying on his mat, having been in that state for 38 years. And Jesus asks Him, “Do you want to be made whole?” (John 5:6) What does it mean to “be made whole”? What does wholeness look like?
At first glance, wholeness for this man would mean the ability to move, to walk. And Jesus certainly did that for him. But Jesus didn’t stop there. A short time later Jesus met him in the temple and said to him. “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14) Jesus was addressing wholeness in every area of his life.
God created you and me as integrated human beings, “baked together” into a beautiful whole. Sin messed all of that up. This story in John 5 is only one example that illustrates how Jesus came to restore every aspect of our being.
When you and I go to God for help, sometimes He responds by dealing with that specific area. But more often He invites us to dig below the surface, to deal with the roots of the issue, and experience His restoring grace in every aspect of our lives.
For those of you who have been part of our online family for some time, you know we often address the Fully Alive kind of life that Jesus came to give us in every dimension – physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. And there’s no other area in which this applies more than in the area of our intimate personal relationships.
Using our closest personal relationships as an example, let’s look at what wholeness looks like, and how wholeness (or lack thereof) in one area impacts the other areas.
Wholeness in Intimacy
OK, men may often spell intimacy S-E-X, and women may more often spell intimacy T-A-L-K. Those may be stereotypes, but conflict there illustrates how our close relationships often demonstrate our lack of wholeness. God created you and me in His image, with the need, desire, and capacity for intimacy. And sin messed that all up!
The usual “Christian” narrative goes something like this; boy and girl grow up knowing Jesus and refraining from sexual intimacy prior to marriage. Boy and girl fall in love, get married, and the glorious intimacy God designed for marriage flowers into exhilaration on the wedding night.
Hmmm. How has that worked out for you?
What if you didn’t refrain from sex prior to marriage, whether or not you knew Jesus? Perhaps you’re single – either by choice, or by default. What if you’re married but there’s no intimacy – physical or otherwise? Or what if you’re struggling with same-sex attraction, addicted to porn, or royally hate sex? Do you fit anywhere in this “wholeness” story?
YES! You do!
But what does that look like when it comes to close personal relationships?
Owning Your Story
It starts by looking at the reality of your own story. There is stuff under the surface that must be dealt with. What/when did you learn about sex, intimacy, and relationships? Was there anything missing in what you learned? What wounds did you experience, or self-inflict as you responded? How have those wounds affected you and your relationships today?
Addressing your past is just the beginning. You don’t park there indefinitely, endlessly rehearsing the traumas or follies you’ve accumulated. But if you’re stuck, and less than whole, it’s likely there is more work to be done here.
Wholeness means you’ve owned your story, brought your story into Jesus’ presence, and allowed Him to transform the brokenness into strength and meaning. That’s what His miracle-working power does!
Have you done that?
The root meaning of “wholeness” and “integrated” are the same; being one. Wholeness means there are no parts of you split off from the rest of you.
When it comes to personal relationships, that means body, soul, and spirit are all functioning together so you can give and receive love. And that applies whether you’re married or single.
Are you emotionally available? Can you be “present” with those close to you? When you become aware of your own baggage that impacts your relationships, are you dealing with that? Are you caring for your physical body such that you can engage in intimacy in every way possible? Are you learning to love well, married or single?
Have you addressed the religious messages that may have kept you boxed up and unavailable? Are you regularly taking in emotional/spiritual nourishment so you have something to give to those closest to you? Are you filled up enough to focus less on your own needs and more on what God has asked you to do for those around you?
Those are only some of the questions that may indicate to what degree you may have already become integrated, or what areas still need more work.
Moving Toward Wholeness
Becoming whole in the area of intimate relationships includes pursuing intimacy with God. Augustine was right when he said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” We can never be fully whole without pursuing deep connection with God, and pursuing that intimacy with God will eventually “leak out” into wholeness in every other area.
The journey to wholeness is a process that we can all embrace more fully. I’m privileged to be part of the Women’s World Wholeness Summit coming up next weekend, March 6-8. I will be speaking about Wholeness in Her Sex Life: Dealing with Sexpectations.
This summit is free! Over 70 presenters will be addressing so many areas of wholeness – physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. I’m one of them. Many additional resources will be available. And I am inviting you to take advantage of this awesome opportunity.
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- What does wholeness look like? When it comes to intimate personal relationships, it means looking under the surface, and becoming able to love well. Tweet that.