Int*nse

So, apparently “intense” is a swear word.

According to the world (and shockingly, also according to many church-goers), people who experience things a bit more intensely than others, are “high maintenance,” have loads of “admin,” are “needy” or “clingy” and overall just “not cool.”

Funnily enough, though, the “intense” ones are always the ones surrounded by heaps of friends, the first ones you will call when you need someone to listen to you or the ones forever entertaining their peers. The “intense” ones are the ones you want close by when life gets tough but also the ones you want to stand next to on the dance floor and laugh so much that you end up in a brace. (Yes, this happens to people…)

So why can’t we em”brace” (see what I did there?)  intensity? Why are we treating it like some or other disease?

It took me so long to come to terms with the fact the I am an “intense” person. People have spat that word at me as if it is a sin and in the process I have often wondered whether it may be a curse.  So I numbed my heart to every emotion for most of my life. Believe me, I would have loved to rather be a “happy-go-lucky-type-of-girl.”

Until God showed me how intensely He loves.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the intense love which He bestowed on us, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved! – Ephesians 2:4

Do you know how intense it must have been to hang on a cross? Oh wait…the cross was just the Grand Intense Finale. The “intensity” began “in the beginning.” When He created everything. He spoke intense words and brought everything to life. Then Eden happened (a talking snake is pretty intense), Noah happened (really…that flood was super intense), Sodom and Gomorrah (intense!). Jonah was swallowed by a whale for crying in a bucket. Joseph. Where do I even start with Joseph? David had to fight a lion, a bear and a giant. He cheated. And murdered. He fled and hid. He wrote some intense songs and then his intensely wise and rich son wrote Songs of Solomon…(‘Nuff said.)

Battle upon battle. Conquering land. Ten plaques. Death. Gore. Blood. Jericho. Visions. More visions. Intense visions. And then….400 years of silence. Now THAT is intense. Imagine that! (Next level “silent treatment…”)

And all of a sudden: a virgin giving birth to a baby boy. A sin free life. Miracle upon miracle. Deceit. Betrayal. Whips. A crown of thorns. And then the Grand Intense Finale…Calvary. Intense love. Lavished upon us so that we can have life in abundance.

This epic love story is pretty intense, peeps. Right from the beginning of time, God had this perfect plan that was always destined to end at Golgotha with Intense Love. Jesus had to suffer intense pain in order for us to be able to experience Intense Love.

I had to repent for not embracing my intensity. The Lord had to take me through all of these stories (numerous times) to realize that He is an intense God who sent His Son to love us intensely. And for us to be more like Him, we’ll have to start embracing intensity. How can we ask Him to break our hearts for what breaks His but we think it is stupid to hurt intensely? How can we ask Him to send people into our midst who need to feel loved but we don’t want to empathize intensely? How are we going to take care of orphans and widows if we can’t care for them intensely?

I’m telling you now: get intense. If you want to change lives, get to hearts, mend brokenness and heal sickness – GET INTENSE. People will not trust you unless they can sense that you will love them intensely. Repent of numbing your heart and ask the Lord to show you how intensely He loves you.

And stop labeling other people as “intense.” Unless you’re speaking a blessing of Intense Love over them.

We can no longer afford to numb ourselves to what is happening in this world. Only when we experience intense pain, will we be able to give Intense Love.

Intensify. Today.

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