Our friend Tim continues his story:
I find myself asking the question: ‘Is that it Lord, is that what you have been doing in my life?’ In a sense, it’s ‘The Sacred Romance’ as John Eldredge puts it. And as I stand there, allowing myself to be wooed by the great Romancer, I have to then ask Him, ‘what does this friendship look like?’ ‘What is friendship and how can I be a friend to you?’ I realise that I am not even sure that I know what a real ‘friend’ is; I need Him to show me, to lead me.
One of the processes that God has been taking me through in preparation for this friendship is to remove from me all of the ‘masks’ that I had been hiding behind. This can be quite a painful process as we often have our identity tied up in these masks. As we allow the Holy Spirit to draw us deeper into God’s presence, He begins to strip the layers away, so that as we come to Him, we are simply ourselves, no pretence, no false identity, no cloak of responsibility (job title, ministry title, etc..), just me, Tim. This has been a revelation to me, that me, the real me is the one who God wants a friendship with, no status, no titles, just me.
As I look back, it is clear that although this call to enjoy being in the outdoors with God and building a friendship with Him has been happening in a general way, it has been through the ‘Wild at Heart’ study (John Eldredge) over the past year that God has really begun to heal the deep wounds in me that were really preventing me from entering into a deep friendship with Him and with others. As I sat round the camp fire, week by week with my two ‘allies’, Ted and Barry, God began to pin point and draw out feelings in me of unworthiness and then reveal the new name ‘friend’ to me. I love the way that the Father uses the intervention of others close to us to speak into our lives and so I would say that I am now embarking, tentatively on this new friendship. I do know that it is not easy and that I am engaged in a fierce battle to prevent me from enjoying this relationship, the ‘old man’ is relentless, but as I seek time alone with my Heavenly Father, my spirit is being fed by His Spirit and I am changing, slowly from the inside out. This is a battle we definitely cannot fight alone as the devil, the flesh and the world are powerful and very real enemies; however I praise and thank God that He brings key men into our lives who are dedicated to walk the journey with us, shoulder to shoulder.