“OF the world? Just take out the letter, “l” in “world” and thereby live IN the world through the Word of God.” – Timothy J. Verret
During a Bible lesson today, I was reminded that I, Timothy, do not desire to be OF the world but rather IN the world. I do choose to take out the letter, “l,” in “world,” to live IN (and not OF) the world by the Word of God.
Anytime I come face-to-face with the letter, “L,” I think of love….of course (life is not a bad choice either). I want to say all my life, I have been searching for love. Have I found it? Well, not the kind of love where someone shares all things intimate with me and who I share all things intimate and, as a result, there is union but not fusion. I got introduced to the difference between intimacy and fusion by this terrific book, I bought the other day, “I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me” by John Ortberg.
I bought the book 3-fold: 1) the title, 2) the dog and cat on the cover looking at each other as if to say, “What is wrong with you? Why don’t you look and act like me?” and 3) the first sentence in the introduction of the book contained the word, “Swedish” (two years of Swedish in college and brushing up on it through Duolingo and a Swedish instructor on Italki). Author Ortberg just does a bang-up job of explaining that intimacy is when two people come together and each person keeps their identity intact, whereas fusion is when two people come together and their identities become enmeshed and/or one person gives up his or her identify for the other. That is some major profundity, because I always say I want intimacy but if I know myself like I think I do, it will only be a matter of time before I take on that intimate partner’s identify or that intimate partner’s identity takes on mine. Enmeshment is something I have had way too much time to practice, develop, and, well, enmesh.
The joy of intimacy is when you tell your partner, “My, you look fabulous today!” The pain of fusion is when you tell your partner, “Didn’t you notice how fabulous I look today?” If you are in true intimacy, your partner will hold back nothing to tell you how much you are appreciated but if you are in true fusion, your partner will actually hold back on telling you how much you are appreciated because he or she does not appreciate him- or herself. I can just see my partner coming through the door and me being all, “Love me because I just ain’t loving myself right now.” My partner will want me to know that the fact that they are coming through the door should be proof enough that I am loved by this partner. Intimacy is not having to “check in” moment-by-moment to see how loved you are; the love should be a given already. But, with fusion, there will be that desperate need to keep checking up on how loved you are, and God forbid even question its validity, even though it is being expressed over and over through words and deeds.
One day (sooner than later, I hope), a partner will find me or I will find that partner and there will be all intimacy and no fusion. But that day won’t come sooner than later if I’m just not quite sure how I feel about me, not quite sure I matter at all, not quite sure there is anything really special and extraordinary about me. The fact that God is my Father, Jesus Christ is my Savior, and the Holy Spirit is my Helper, all in the Name of Love, probably won’t get any more special or extraordinary or intimate than that. But if I know me well enough, I know I will keep on checking on love (Love) and sure to gauge my partner as to where they are on my “check on me and love me more, okay?” meter.
What does all this intimacy and fusion talk have to do with being IN the world and not OF the world? The only thing that really matters when it comes to being IN the world is: Did we leave the world we were IN better than when we found it? Being OF the world means that we got zero chance of making the world better than we found out, because being OF the world is why world is not better in the first place. Being OF the world means that we will listen to what the world is telling us, and the world is basically telling us “divide from one another, nation against nation,” “buy more,” “love less,” “hate what is different than you.” Being IN the world means “come together, nation AND nation,” “buy less,” “love more,” “love what is different than you.” The only way to the “IN” thing of the world is to love intimately and fuse rarely.
I always seem to be so inclined to keep it as real as possible, even when my fantastical fantasies take root. I’m an Enneagram 4. I am all about waiting for my true love to arrive. I’m coming to terms that it already has arrived, but it’s not “l”ove but rather “L”ove. God’s Love. Jesus Christ’s Holy Name that Lived, Loved, Died, and was Resurrected on the 3rd day. Speaking of Enneagram 4, the 4th column to all of this is:
“Timothy is a child of God, totally loved and beloved, fully competent and completely equipped by My Word through My Holy Spirit to do good works (2 Timothy 3:17), but Timothy will do this IN the world, not OF the world, for it is no longer Timothy who lives and loves IN the world but rather My Son and Timothy’s Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and loves IN the world through Timothy IN the world (Galatians 2:20).” – GOD
Thank You, God!
Much love and always more and more blessings,
Timothy J. Verret