That Your Joy Might Be Full

What if the thing you enjoy most also brings joy to God's heart as well? While recording one of the last Engage videos about God's pruning in our lives Wayne was struck with the phrase, "that my joy might be in you, that your joy might be full." Is that Jesus' purpose in our lives, to bring us to the fullness of joy? Religion leaves us with the impression that we are despicable creatures God has to clean up before he can hardly tolerate us. It teaches us to mistrust every desire we have and fear that every obedience is the thing we'd least like to do. But what if we have it all wrong, and that our deepest desires are his, too? Then sin is not about denying us what we really enjoy, but exposing the counterfeit desires in our hearts, so we can find those real desires that we get to share with our Creator.

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  1. Hi Wayne (and all other listeners is “podcast land”). There’s a lot on my heart and mind…first I’ll say that out of all podcasts (having enjoyed them) there are a few that have deeply resonated. This is one. Thank you for taking the time Wayne to parse this out a little further.

    Since you invited us to respond with our experience of lonliness, following Jesus on a more relational path..and what does that look like…here goes! (smile) Yes I’m Sue who wrote about feeling sad and you responded on an earlier podcast with encouragement. Since there are a number of us…hope that this dialogue will reach others who need encouragement as well. Growing up in a very rule-based, “Presbyterian” approach to God (Him in a holy throne room, hardly dare approach etc) not very endearing. As He has gently clarified things there’s been many gradual changes over four years. Lonliness for me has NOT meant less people. There’s been more people to engage with b/c I’m invited to engage with others who r very far from the “box” I was in. For me it has felt like…I’m always giving away but not receiving. I’m passionate about encouraging people so love that He has invited me to give “myself” away. I long for people where I can connect on a deep level with THESE (conversations)…perhaps in a situation that’s more mutual. Am I even explaining this right? Anyway your (and your conversations with others) encouragement has helped to shape some of these things in me. I’m also seeing that Jesus’ love for me is the motive for Him taking longer than I would like…hmmm. Thanks for inviting us to share our stories with you. Hope others will join this conversation. Blessings!

  2. I have come to love an observation made by a Catholic mystic who has been gone from this earth for a long long time, where he says “God is that wilderness where each of us is alone.”

    In scripture holiness meant separate, set apart. And I have come to believe that organized religion never allowed it to happen because what it was offering instead was inclusion into a belonging system. This false belonging distracted us from that wonderful personal moment of revelation where we begin to awaken to the individuation that God has uniquely placed onto each one of us. The outcome…..we ended up with really messed up heads about God and ourselves and the other and how they all are meant to flow together. This false space then also left us with very confused emotions about God, ourselves, and the other. And all of that left us fighting the very freedom….the very life God has always been offering.

    I think the loneliness people feel, Churched people and un-Churched people alike, stems from the same thing. Society comes along and offers belonging systems, when God doesn’t. It just seems to me that God’s intent is to separate us from all of that to where we find ourselves alone… the wilderness…with God Presence. Until we learn to be at peace there, with God our only source, all of our external longing will remain misshapen and we will be attempting to scrape from others the things we think we need. The only problem is that we can never get it from others. And the other problem is that we have been so conditioned to think we need others to be whole. All of that thinking just leaves human relating so warped. We only need to return to that circle of belonging Father Son and Spirit, where we belong.

    If we return there, and learn to live at peace there, we will discover that alone, now is never lonely. And something new, never experienced before begins to just happen. Life begins to look completely different. We begin to approach the other in a way we never had before, no longer needing to scrape from them or use them for something we might think we need. Those feelings of neediness just simply no longer exists. And with that gone, something really beautiful and astounding happens….the possibility of real healthy encounter with the other opens up. Not perfect, not absent of conflict, just different…healthy. Never left feeling lonely ever again.

  3. You asked, Wayne, so here goes. Loneliness is when my husband doesn’t want to speak to me and gets angry if I speak to him. When your children don’t phone. When it is rare for anyone to visit or phone. There is no face to face fellowship. When you are unable to leave the house. I don’t fit with the partying drinking crowd. They find me extremely odd.
    I do have one precious friend that I phone occasionally. I am either a very defective person or this is the life that Jesus has chosen for me. I think Jesus intends me to have fellowship with Him not necessarily with other people. I don’t know why. As long as I hear His voice everyday, I am OK. I like what Kent said. I pray, ‘Your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. It bothers me that so many people don’t know Jesus. I think we need to be out among the lost not huddling in groups of believers. Maybe my job is to pray.

  4. Glad to see you back Wayne! Loved this podcast because just what you have stated is just what I have been feeling inside for many years, but never able to engage with anyone in it. I love to be with young adults but with the churches I had been in they would always put me in the ministry where they wanted, such as the nursery. MY desires were not their desires, so I was isolated. It made me feel lonely but then I got to the place of acceptance, because I came to the realization that He was my fulfillment and that He would take me where “I” wanted to go (meaning my desires were morphing into what He desired- we were co-laboring!!). I am now having a wonderful relationship with my children who are in their teens and one who is a young adult- this is a great time for me! I cannot believe how at peace and joyful I am since I have been out of church, sometimes the guilt comes in on “why am I having this good of time without going to church?” but I realize that in church I had roots of guilt and fear that establish deeper roots. I (and my friend Jesus) had to take out the roots which meant a dramatic change- it is becoming OK to let it go. I cannot believe the love and grace for others that is taking root instead of that fear- “love conquers all fears” says the Father. There is a beautiful song that expresses exactly what I feel right now and hope is a blessing- the premise is “Let it go and seize the day”.
    This song may not everybody’s cup of tea, but thought i would share.
    The Lord Jesus bless and may joy and peace be with all of you.

  5. Eva-Loraine,
    I have seen your name within many of podcast comments. I would just encourage you and pray with you for His rest- you are so loved by Him. As your sister in Christ this I pray for you right now.
    I wholeheartedly agree with you about being out with the lost- they need to know that we have the same hurts and loss.

    Psalm 16

    1 Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

    2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
    3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
    4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

    5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
    6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
    7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
    8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

    9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
    10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
    11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

  6. Great podcast Wayne, missed you as well. And some interesting comments here.

    Kent, what you said about God not offering us a belonging system, something I’ve never heard before, but makes a lot of sense. Some would probably argue the church as institution, but it is man-made.

    About the topic of loneliness, it may very well be an issue of semantics. I often get loneliness confused with aloneless. I am alone much more often than I am lonely. I can be by myself and not need anyone. When I am lonely, I am needy. Loneliness, to me, is trying to meet a need for companionship/relationship I cannot fulfill in human terms. There is an emotional and spiritual pain which surrounds loneliness, whereas just being alone, many times with it there is a peace which surpasses all understanding. I would much rather be alone, than be lonely.

  7. Great podcast and some great comments above.

    Just want to hold my hands up and say that I’ve felt very lonely at times in the 2-3 years I’ve stopped attending a sunday club. Being alone in Beijing didn’t help. Also the sudden withdrawal of friends’ acceptance and my being viewed as…’suspect’, caused me to doubt myself and get defensive which further alienated myself from people.

    As I have learned to accept people as believers, whatever their label or theological stance, and focus on Jesus rather than defending my stance, people have felt more relaxed around me and I have hopefully become more…’fellowshipable’.

    As Kent points out – our seperation unto God is good. It just might not feel nice at the time.
    I’m in a situation now where I’ve got to care for my parents and am seperated from my new wife. It feels lousey at times. But it’s very good. God’s here.

  8. Thanks, Wayne, for the podcast. Thanks, Kent, for your comments about experiencing the life and peace of God in the wilderness. It reminded me of the times in Scripture when God led His people to, and revealed Himself in, some type of wilderness (Moses, Israel, Jesus, Paul) before their more public experience. It seems He still works that way today.

    Thinking about this has given me a fresh appreciation for how Jesus was perfectly at peace in anonymity and isolation and rejection, but was not a recluse. He genuinely loved people, not to get something from them or win their approval, but to meet their deepest needs. His restfulness in His Father’s love freed Him to say what He saw the Father saying and to do what He saw the Father doing. How wonderful that Jesus invites us into that same restfulness in Him.

  9. Thanks for your reply, trust4himonly- Faith , Life alone is OK but when Wayne says we were made for community or God is a God of community, I get unsettled. Maybe community is only for some people but not for us all.

  10. Ron, I really like it how you said that often when you are alone, there is this peace that surpasses all understanding. For me, I wonder whether feeling lonely has much to do with whether people are around or not. I have had some long stretches where there were no people around, but didn’t feel lonely (I’m sure God had a lot to do with that). There have been other long stretches where I have been surrounded by people, but felt a keen sense of loneliness even when I was with them.

    I often feel most alone when I am with other people. It is when I am in a position where I feel different, unable to connect in conversation (I’m not even talking in a spiritual sense, but just the sense that conversations are mechanical and I am doing it ‘by wrote’, as it were), and I feel a sense that I don’t belong, that I’m not welcome, or that people don’t have time or space for me.

    Just recently, something happened at a neighbours place that really crystalized this for me. At our neighbours place, there are a lot of young kids. Over the years, I have been to their place more times than I can count, for parties and other random things. When I am over there, I don’t think twice about the kids that are doing their thing. I say hi to them, but to me it is almost as if they weren’t there. I pay as much attention to them as I do the cats that live over there, I have completely overlooked them.

    Anyway, the other day, I somehow got playing with one of the kids for quite a while, and as I was playing with her, it dawned on me that this kid really is important, and special to God. I couldn’t believe how blind I was to this person who I would have seen hundreds of times, but I never really saw her, and never stopped to look and see that her and some of the other kids must have felt lonely sometimes. It is so true when Jesus said ‘as you treat the least of these, so you treat me.’

    I think that I have felt lonely oftentimes when other people have treated me like I treated these kids. It’s that feeling of been overlooked, and unimportant to someone else, and sometimes it has really got to me. There are other times when I’ve known that in God’s eyes, I am not a kid that is overlooked, and I am not an inconvenience to Him. When I really understand that, I might not fit or belong in a place, but it doesn’t bother me, it is like you have a freedom that is just so good that you don’t mind if you don’t fit in.

  11. Andrew,

    The first two paragraphs of your post really hit home with me. That is exactly how I feel.

    I don’t do well in large gatherings. In fact, the larger the gathering, the more lonelier I feel. I tend to feel the least alone when I am relating on a one-on-one basis. My work, for example, requires me to come in contact with hundreds of people a day, but it is done from transaction to transaction. If I had to deal with these hundreds of people all at once, I would be overwhelmed.

    I assume there is something to what Jesus says about having to be like a child to enter the Kingdom of God. Yet we tend to lose that childlikeness somewhere along the way. As an adult, we are thought of as naive, foolish, or out-and-out stupid. So I think on a subconscious level, or even consciously, we relate to children this way, once they move out of the cute and cuddly stage of course.

  12. I appreciate what Kent and the others have shared thus far. For me, I am one who thrives in solitude, and by that I mean that I actually enjoy being alone more than being with people. Having said that, I do acknowledge and am aware of my need for “connection,” and when that does not happen then a sense of lonliness sets in. As for how one “connects” with others … how many, and in what format, and how deep the connection, I think varies for each one of us.

  13. I understand the alone thing- I like to the time to think and reflect. It is the most comfortable for me, but over time I have felt the need to give out of myself; BUT not in the church setting anymore. I can’t go there; it is like a wall comes right in front of me. I guess to rest in the fact that Jesus will bring us to what we need; the Holy Spirit does a good job at doing it. In the Gospels, we see that Jesus knew what being alone and what being with community was like. He lived that. I guess where I see that community is vital is the fact that others can teach us about things that we don’t have- we can grow based on what others have gone through and their own wisdom. I love that. What you guys even comment here is just morsels of wisdom that help me grow; so really you guys here are engaging in community by coming on and commenting. It is a good thing and one appreciated.

  14. Ron,
    I’m glad that you get what I was trying to say. I have trouble in big gatherings of people too, and don’t really hold out any great expectations for these gatherings. In saying that, I think God sometimes does something special when I’m feeling lonely, drained or uncomfortable in those places. It really does mean a lot when God goes to extra lengths just to let you know He is there, especially when I’m in a situation where I don’t naturally thrive.

  15. This podcast touched the most tender, hurting place of my heart these days. When Wayne spoke of the joy he gets from playing and engaging with his grandchildren, when he spoke of how he reads books to Sarah, tears sprung up. Two of the things that brought greatest joy to me no longer exist in my life: playing with my grandchildren and reading to my husband. My husband died suddenly two years ago while we were at a family reunion. We had been married over 30 years. I flew home alone that weekend and have been on a completely different journey ever since. My grief deepend when my daughter and family (including two young grandchildren) moved out of the country a mere year later. A big chunk of my life is gone. I am now very familiar with grief, with loneliness as I live alone in a home that once was filled with life and activity. And yet my life is not without joy. It has just taken a big turn and is still trying to settle and accept what so many call, “the new normal”. Just yesterday my heart was full of contentment, even joy, when first my son and his girl friend stopped in and we prepared and ate lunch together and afterward two little neighbor girls came over and we baked and decorated cupcakes. We even broke out and danced in the kitchen at one point. Pangs of pain still pierce my heart in longing for what I once had, but I am learning not to be afraid to go with the waves of those emotions, knowing they will pass. I never knew grief and loneliness as I do today, but I have also come into a deeper relationship with Abba as I lean into him in this new dance.

  16. I think we’re lonely because we are looking around to “fellowship” with people like us. Well, guess what – they don’t exist. You’ll find very, very few people that believe as you world-wide, much less in your immediate area. What you’ll find more of is accepting people that simply enjoy you and your journey, even if there’s is completely different. I’ve found that, unfortunately, my old “clubhouse” friends are the least likely to be that. My closest friends from the past are gone – period. Once I saw that I had to deal with own arrogance and price stemming from my “new found freedom” and simply broaden my horizons. Just being friendly in the stuck up, hyper-judgemental world makes you stand out and attractive to others. If we give up our “mission” and focus on being simply a person and seeing others as that, you’re never alone.

  17. Some really personal comments and I appreciated the sharing of experiences and journeys.

    Pat, your account communicated so much and was beautifully written, conveying the reality of transitions.

    Personally, I am very comfortable with aloneness, but clearly loneliness is a separate and distinct experience. I think it derives from the basic needs that distinguish us from animals and relate to, or derive from, being created in the image of God. We desire friendship (community), meaning, purpose, significance and primarily love.

    When I hear of the many interactions Wayne has, in some ways I am envious and at other times I notice the potential for intrusions, the associated efforts and the necessity of availability, all graciously accommodated. However, I think the volume and regularity of interaction, on such a wide and seemingly meaningful scale, is probably more the exception that the norm.

    Of course my contentment derives from trusting God, and relationship with the three is integral in the “Emmanuel dynamic”. However, human interaction is also appreciated. When I experienced shunning after leaving what the people themselves characterized as “the people that loved you the most”, I clearly recall an encouragement I received that God would provide new people uniquely suited to my needs. It has happened and continues to occur, however there has been a process involved as God acquaints me with Himself and the rest of abiding as he abides in me. This sets the stage, or the environment, for the healthy relationships which are developing, sometimes slowly, but with a common thread of meeting my loneliness needs.

    One last observation. I know that electronic or virtual interactions in cyberspace are sometimes poo-pooed, but I never physically or materially see God and yet interaction with him is very real. I appreciate some of that cyber community I have access to, but I am also thankful for person to person interaction as God provides.

    May God bless you all and thank you Wayne for this opportunity for communing and mitigating loneliness.

  18. Thanks Tom (and all of you) for your contributions here. It’s helpful to process with others at times. Tom I really appreciated the balance you struck with your expression of how with the Trinity …that community belonging there comes first. After that there is still a very real need to connect with humans on a deep level. I am finding that this is something I am continuing to find my way through. It’s a slow process, sometimes I’m frustrated with the “slowness” of it; there’s also the growing awareness that Father knows best the time frames and as a “Type A” woman, He seems to be inviting me to rest…hence the slowing down. Also to see that He is motivated by love; when I’m frustrated b/c there’s things I don’t “see” yet…to continue turning to Him in the pain of that process. Blessings.

  19. Hi Sue,

    I have noticed that Paul stated that contentment is a “secret” and that it is “learned”. I am rarely, if ever, content in my circumstances, for they involve a measure of difficulty. However, my contentment is complete within my relational trust of God.

    Big congregations can be a lonely place because connection is too often superficial (too much mutually beneficial usury named love, and just knowing facts about a person but not really sharing life together). Learning to experience God, the knowing of him, is a process (and took a while to ease into and become familiar with his voice and the increasing myriad of ways I see him) and patience is required in order to establish “rhythm”. In retrospect I was demanding of controlling the relationship, albeit unknowingly. Now trust and 2 way flow describes the relationship.

    I began to seek God’s face, rather than his hand. He already knows what I need and it doesn’t always match what I think I want. When I am receiving what I need, contentment results. As I plant my delight in him, he fills my heart with desires that are customized for me. I hope I don’t come to relationship with others leading with my needs and yet God so often meets my needs through other people he has led me to.

  20. Tom, I love your comment on contentment and it being a one learned with patience and staying in fellowship with God. He does meet our needs in time and places I could not ever come up with myself, but He does. Often times we become so impatient with ourselves, then that transfers to others. I also found that in big (and can be small) church settings there are these expectations that we deliver (quickly) so that is why we can become impatient. They want results which then results in burnout. I have found that just being away from these settings have been soothing and peaceful. Actually my relationships with the few that I know have become more meaningful and I have time to “grow in my spiritual fruits and gifts”.

  21. Hi Wayne,

    Enjoyed your podcast. Could relate to a lot of what you said in my own journey towards discovering that God is quite different than who I originally thought he was.

    A scripture that has really stuck out for me in the last year or so has been: Philippians 2:13. For it is God who works in us to will and to do for his good pleasure.

    I have come to realize that if God wants me to do something, he will work in me so that I have both the will and the ability to do what he wants. So if I do not have the will to do something then perhaps I am not to do it. Or if I am uncertain, I ask that he would create the desire in me to fuel the will in order to carry out the doing. Sometimes something is birthed in me, but more often it comes to nothing because my thinking has being influenced by something else other than the Spirit of God.

    I have also discovered that the pure desires and the will that already exists inside of me is very likely his purpose and will for me at this moment. He has already provided the will and the ability to do in the me he created to be in Him. This simplifies my approach to life considerably. I don’t have to constantly looking around trying to figure out what God’s will is for my life. I simply do the next thing in front of me to do … what I have the desire to do.

    Sometimes I believe we tend to think that in order to be pleasing to God that we need to be someone else. The church puts certain types of people on pedestals, and suddenly we think that in order to be pleasing to God we have to “go to the mission field”, or “have a profoundly impactful ministry in the church.” We are deceived into thinking that we are not valuable as is. Without a strong anchor in knowing His love and affection for us, we can be easily swayed into performance living and I know what that feels like and I do not like it.

    I am learning to submit my life for his purpose, and have a confidence in the knowing that He will work in me to will and to do if He wants me to be doing something new or different. He will birth pure desire in me to follow a new course.

    And I expect that I will enjoy myself in the process. If you realize that God’s idea of good pleasure is vastly greater than our own, and that we are his kids and deeply loved by him, why should we think that when we will be doing His will it would be a painful or miserable experience. And if he does call us to something difficult, the we can expect the desire and will to do will be strong and His presence will sustain us.

    My immediate purpose in life is to set my eyes on Jesus. To seek Him. To know Him. From that place, desire is birthed, will is empowered and doing becomes a pleasure.

  22. Thanks Tom. This seems to echo and resonate with many of our hearts; the longer He walks me through this relational process…I become more deeply aware of how my “wrestlings” are shared by many other humans. For me to relax into what He is doing, His direction and His timing is something He is building. The word “contentment” stood out for me b/c sometimes I’m like the baby wailing and refusing to be soothed. The encouragement that I take away is….as He keeps me on this path with Him, there will be greater healing over time and there will be greater maturity in knowing Him all in His time. I’m faced with what feels like uncertainty right now…how will He work out that balance b/t depending on Him (the Triune community) and His people…maybe the process will just have to be worked out and I can stop “white knuckling” it. He knows! (smile)

  23. Your comments about joy made me think of what Malachi says about God opening up the floodgates of heaven and pouring out so many blessings that it cannot be stored. (Mal 3:10) and Ps 37:3 about taking delight in The Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart!! I never thought of it the way you mentioned that God wants us to be happy in our self and what we love to do and what a joyful and liberating prospect it is to think of that!!!! And regarding your comments regarding obedience- what a different light that casts on 1 John 5:2-4 about when we love God we keep his commandments and that his commands are not burdensome! I have so many wonderful things to think about and piece together tonight as I go to sleep!

    I’ve been feeling lonely the last several months because I’ve had this painful spiritual need building up in my heart and despite searching online and praying for God to show me the way for months, I knew not where to look or whom else to talk to as I no longer attend the church I was raised in because I did not feel right in my heart about it anymore. No other religion sounded or felt right to me either. I’ve still not found anyone to talk to as most of my immediate family and friends are in this church and although I’ve tried, I cannot have a conversation about things other than what the religion teaches them for fear of being branded an apostate (I’ve not officially left for fear of my family shunning me). I do feel less lonely the last couple of days as I’ve listened to your podcasts and understood more clearly and freely that I have Christ’s unconditional love and that I can approach freely in prayer and not have self doubt and a religion telling (guilting) me that God will not hear me unless I am doing all He asks first!!!
    Thank you!

  24. Hello Wayne

    I just listened to the podcast (a week late, I know) and it was a really big encouragement to me to be reminded that Jesus’ goal is to implant his joy in me and make my joy complete. I must admit, I was far from feeling joyful this morning. I still don’t feel empirically joy-full right now, but despite that I feel a sense of hope because I know that this is his plan and I know the joy is coming.



  25. Hello Wayne !
    I really enjoyed this podcast ! I love the thought about” that his joy might be in you, and that your joy might be full”! I was raised in a very performance based home away from church buildings , almost always our family and sometimes a visiting family.
    As a child I wished God was the way I am finding him to be. I have come to realize He goes far beyond who I wished he was!!! It feels more like he found me than I found him! I have fallen in love with my maker . As a side affect I see people differently and tend to love them for no good reason!
    Instead of waiting for God to change me into something he is ok with! I have found him to meet me in the mean time In every aspect of my everyday life. The saying life is a journey not a destination was what sort of what started it for me. Also life is what happens between our plans! I think true life is what we are all craving! What is amazing to me is to hear you, a complete stranger talk about the very same loving God / Father! Many times word for word or thought for thought! You many times put into words and confirm what is already churning in my heart ! I am 34 married with 2 amazing kids .
    If you ever come to Ohio we have a spare room with your name on it! Thank you for sharing with us!!!!!!!

  26. This morning I looked at the use of joy and rejoice in the Philippians. Philippians is a great book. Then I came here and is so great to read these comments and I am so blessed. Scripturaly we could probably find doctrinal differences between us. Duh! Does anybody get doctrine 100% right? But there is no mistaking God at work in someone’s heart. It is like seeing the Word in living color. That is what Jesus Christ is all about! We are all “working out our own wholeness in respect and awe!”(Phil 2:12) God wants to work in us to will and do of his good pleasure! That’s how we are lights!

  27. I know that the podcast on Joy isn’t the current one, but I found something I believe worth sharing here.
    The scripture about His joy in us, and our joy being full, spurred me to look in the reference guide for my koine Bible for the words Joy (Gr. -Kara) and Rejoice (Gr. – kiro).
    In the New Testament, Joy (joyful, joyfully, joyfulness) is listed 60 times. Rejoice, 80 times, with “Rejoice together” (sunkiro) 7 times. Awesome! Was clearly a theme for the life of His friends.
    Joy is such a natural part of an affectionate, love-sharing Father, it seems to me!
    In that Joy,
    Robert in Germany

  28. I once heard James Jordan from Taupo Bay, NZ say, “Loneliness is when no one knows you.” Experiencing intimacy (IN TO ME YOU SEE), is all about connecting in a relationship or relationships where these things can be said: I see the real you. I hear you. I know the real you. Religion has unfortunately taught us to be wary of others who are not like us, so for some, coming out of that established structure leaves them in a place of isolation. What I hear you saying, Wayne and applaud is that we can be in relationship with anyone. They don’t just have to meet some religious criteria in order to be our friend. When we remove ourselves from these institutions but refrain from dismantling the boxes that have so shaped our paradigms, it is easy to find ourselves alone on the journey. Part of the solution is found in giving yourself the freedom to embrace people from all walks of life and create a mutuality of knowing – getting to know them and allowing others to get to know you. Who said we could only be friends with others who think like us?

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