Distance Is The Enemy of Authentic Relationships

Several years ago, my husband and I bought a beautiful acreage that included a pond. Though the pond was partially obscured by weeping willows, I would catch glimpses of the calm blue water through my kitchen window as I washed dishes. Often I would see Canadian geese gracefully floating along the edge, though not for long as our Australian shepherd was bound to spy the beautiful creatures and give chase. 

One day, I spotted a particularly beautiful goose in our pond. As I was in a hurry with my chores, I only stole a glance. I spotted him again the next day. Surprised that our dog had not yet given chase, I took a bit of time to admire his beauty as I worked in my kitchen. Later, as I walked past the flower beds, I saw him again still floating serenely and blissfully unaware of the potential danger. 

Now it had caught my attention – rarely had I seen a goose stick around for such an extended time. Every time I caught a glimpse of him, I would pause, smile, and give thanks to God for giving me a glimpse of beauty in the midst of an ordinary day. 

Though he wouldn’t know it, this little goose became my prayer of thanksgiving every time he came into view. A little touch of heaven.

After several days of admiring him from afar, I said to my husband, “What a beautiful creature! He’s so beautiful, he looks fake!” To which my husband replied, “That’s because he is.”

Photo by  Jordan Rowland  on  Unsplash

Imagine my surprise to find that the beautiful Canadian goose who had stolen my heart was a decoy! One who had been set free by my curious little boys when they found the decoy stash in my husband’s shed. 

I laughed at my own foolishness. Had I only bothered to walk to the water’s edge, I would have easily seen him for what he was – a fake and a fraud! Up close and personal, I would have seen the truth for what it was, but from a distance, I could not discern the difference between a decoy and the real thing.

Truthfully, it’s not the first time I’ve been fooled by distance. 

Distance tells me...

Her life is easier than mine.
Her children are better behaved.
Her husband is so thoughtful
Their vacations are amazing
Her house is fit for a magazine
She has so many friends
She succeeds at everything!
Her family gets along sooooo well

It’s easy to be fooled from a distance but spend a little time in close relationship with her and you would see a vastly different picture. 

The untold sorrow of loss
The challenges of an autoimmune disease
The prayers and tears while praying for her children
The sacrifices of the job
The lonely days and lonelier nights
The insecurity that weighs her down

Distance is the devil’s tool to keep us from an authentic and close relationship with others. From afar we make assumptions based on appearances that are usually incorrect. Stripping away the pretense involves stepping closer and closing the gap between the illusion and reality. Choosing not to judge or assume from a distance is a wonderful gift of grace that we as sisters in Christ can offer each other!

Sometimes we are the guilty one in purposely maintaining distance. Our pride prevents us from letting others see who we really are in all our weakness and frailty, so we create separation to protect ourselves. We cling to the filters of Instagram and Pinterest and purposely portray a life that is no more authentic than my beautiful fake goose. While this may give us a feeling of safety, in the end, all that we gain is the illusion of a beautiful life, but the life itself is dead. And lonely.

Closing the gap between who we are and what others see requires courage – the courage to be real, authentic, and vulnerable. This is hard work! And can only be done well in the light of our relationship with Jesus Christ. For He, himself, is the ultimate example of bridging the gap between the Creator of the Universe and his creation. 

God could have chosen to distance himself from his creation, but instead, He sent his one and only Son down as a baby to close the gap that separated us from our Creator. We could not cross the distance, but thankfully He did. When Jesus came to earth, He came as an exact representation of God in the flesh – to be seen, touched, held, and heard. In John 14:9, Jesus states, “He who has seen the Me has seen the Father…” Through his life and ministry on earth, Jesus demonstrated the character of God in every word and action in a close and personal way.

The Father of all Creation longs for an intimate and close relationship with you. He stands ready and waiting to move but awaits your signal.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7 NIV

When we draw near to God, we begin to see the details of who He is rather than a hazy and vague image. We see his grace, his mercy, his generosity, and his love in our lives. Soon we wonder how we ever lived without Him! 

God will never impose Himself on you, but He awaits with an invitation to draw near and the promise that He will reciprocate. Don’t make the mistake of distancing yourself from the One who truly loves you; draw near and discover for yourself the truth of who He is. You will find He is not a fraud or an imposter, but rather upon close inspection, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

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Maria Dyck is a writer, worship leader, and music teacher who is passionate about helping women find healing and wholeness in Jesus Christ.  She is a mother to 3 kids and happily married to Jim – the man who fixes everything.  When she’s not on some crazy adventure with her family, she loves to be home with a hot cup of tea, her favourite chair, and a good book.  You can read more from Maria at her blog When Walls Tumble and on Instagram.