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Company Doesn’t Equal Companionship

I’ve been in a long search for companionship. Some years ago, I believed that my desire for companionship could be filled in spurts, in a piece-meal fashion. I thought friends could fill the lonely void in my life. Then when the friends started marrying and having families, I sought to expand my circle by participating in various activities. All of my adult life, I’ve had a constant rotation of company that I mistook for companions. For conversation, there was Person A. For entertainment, there was Person B. For activity, there was Person C. I even had designated families to visit for my “dose of family.”

Having the option to fill time and space in a way that appears convenient to the momentary needs of your lifestyle can have the undesired effect of taking you away from what you’re truly seeking. In my case, that would be companionship.

Companion: a mate or a match for something

Company: a number of individuals assembled or associated together; group of people; a guest or guests; an assemblage of persons for social purposes (

See the difference? I do now.

During recent years, I’ve grown more and more distant from friends and less and less interested in exploring new circles. Though I initially thought something was wrong with me, I’ve since learned to embrace the solitude this separation has allowed me. Now I see more clearly that I had to be pulled away from the distractions that were keeping me from actively seeking what I wanted – or at the least kept me from preparing for what I wanted to receive. Though I’ve always wanted a companion to call my own, have been eager, in fact, to finally unite with my mate, I chose to spend time with people who in no way aided me towards my goal. In my case, they were already married and/or already had families. Though I was welcome at their kitchen table, I was still a stranger.

It didn’t click until this week that all the people rotating in and out of my life have only been company. I held on to many as if I was at risk of losing companions. Last weekend, I hosted my thirteen-year-old goddaughter. Spending time with her and my other godchildren had always been “mommy moments” of preparation for me – looking forward to a time when I won’t be able to return the child after a few days. It was a difficult visit – the most disturbing visit I’ve had from anyone throughout my life. She was non-responsive, non-communicative, disinterested in her surroundings and me. If I wanted to, I could count all the words she said to me during her five day visit. When I spoke to her, I got a blank stare, hunched shoulders or a “I dunno.” A couple of times I got a “sure” – when I asked if she wanted a cookie and again when I asked if she wanted to go for a bike ride through the city.

Through the years, I’ve spent a lot of one-on-one time with her. I’ve always enjoyed keeping her for weekends and longer visits. Not this time. This time I was well aware that she needed something that I couldn’t give her. She needs someone in her daily life who can see she is troubled, help her trace her problems to their root and do something about them. She needs a more attentive and proactive mother. The mother she has is mostly hands-off and insists that her thirteen-year-old is just being thirteen.

The biggest takeaway from the time with my goddaughter last weekend is that other people and their families are not my family. As much as I’ve tried to insert myself into their family units, I’ve been reminded by their repeated rejections that I don’t belong. I am not one of them. Despite the closeness and history of our connection, I will always be an outsider to any family unit other than my own. That may sound like a harsh statement, and believe me, it was a painful reality to face – in fact, it has taken several such disappointing situations for me to recognize the truth of it. No amount of filling my time and space with company is going to satisfy my desire to have my own mate – my match, my companion. No amount of time with someone else’s child is going to satisfy my desire to have my own children – to be a constant and persistent parental presence in their lives, to guide and train them in the way in which they should continue. I finally realize and admit that I’m tired of having only fractured and limited contributions and interactions. I don’t discount the benefit to the recipient, but it has become a heavy, disheartening burden for me.

For the past few weeks, I have been pouring over the first two chapters of Genesis. Every line in those two chapters has spoken to me in new ways during this study. I’ve been reminded of God’s intentions for our marital relationships. Genesis 2:18 states:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.  (Genesis 2:18-20 NLT)

I find it interesting that God stated that He would make a helper/companion suitable for Adam and the next verse states that He presented Adam with animals formed from the ground.

Adam performed his duty and named all the animals, but we are told in verse 2:20b that “still there was no helper just right for him.” To me, that implies that God was testing Adam with alternative distractions/choices, to see if Adam would accept just any creature as his companion. The naming process had to go on for quite some time as God formed ALL the wild animals and ALL the birds of the sky from the ground and presented them to Adam for naming. {Please note Adam did not identify the dog as his best friend.} No animal was identified for special handling or relationship. But verse 2:20b implies that all the creatures were presented as possible companions because “still”there was no helper just right for him (Adam).

As I illustrated with my own experiences above, we can be deceived by the many choices presented to us in the world. Day after day, we may choose to live in a way that compliments the lifestyle we think we want and it may be years before we realize what we wanted took us far away from what we needed.

Adam wasn’t distracted. In his perfect state, he heard God’s word, “I will make a helper who is just right” for YOU. Adam had already received his mandate to tend and watch over the Garden of Eden. He was functioning within his role when God brought the animals to him for naming. When God presented the woman to Adam, he immediately recognized her as his companion because she was formed from him. Some of him was in her and he recognized that. He hinted at his long wait for the fulfillment of God’s promise when he exclaimed, “At last! This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh!” Nothing else God made and presented to Adam resonated with him, only Eve resonated and connected.

Not everyone is fit to be a companion for you, not even in a piece-meal, day-by-day fashion. The stuff each of us is made of fits perfectly with someone else and their stuff (for the fulfillment of God’s purposes, not our ideals of a perfect mate). When two people are united, they are continually sealed by sharing their daily lives together. The troubles of one become the troubles of the other. The joy of one becomes the joy of the other. It’s in navigating the challenges and changes in life together that each becomes the helper of the other. That’s true companionship. Anything less than the full sharing of life is just company.

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Our Nakedness

Every once in a while I meditate on Biblical relationships. Whenever I meditate on Adam and Eve I come away with something new. Last winter I focused on their attempt to hide their nakedness after eating the forbidden fruit in the garden. My thoughts looped around their nakedness being less a physical exposure than an emotional one.

Meditation Verse: Genesis 3:4-13

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”   The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Their action exposed their doubt over the sufficiency of God’s provision for them. They were acting as if they did not have knowledge already. As if God had not revealed Himself to them. It was the doubt they tried to excuse. “Well, the woman You gave to me gave me the fruit! Honestly, Father, I wouldn’t have eaten it otherwise.” “Yeah, well, I only gave it to him because the serpent in our garden said it would be okay.” With their pointing fingers, they sought to exonerate their greedy desire to obtain more without paying any consequences. They were grabbing for something they already had, because someone else repackaged it and presented it as something out of their reach. Adam and Eve were the agents of their own downfall because they didn’t take personal responsibility for their knowledge or for their actions. In conversation with the serpent they did not assert absolutely that particular tree, in a garden of amazing bounty, was off limits. And when God approached them and asked what they had done, they did not confess their sin.

Before the fall, Adam was proud of and pleased with the helpmate God had provided him with. They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:25)

Some argue that Adam and Eve knew no shame before the fall because they were innocent. The argument suggests they had no knowledge of good and evil. I think that’s rather simplistic. Adam and Eve were made in the image of their creator. They were connected to their source. They had all the knowledge they needed and access to whatever they wanted.

Adam and Eve were joined as one flesh as man and wife. Their joining created a unity and an emotional transparency that didn’t survive the enemy’s challenge. They became divided after the conflict with the serpent. Eve shared with her husband, and Adam willingly took what his wife offered. There was no remorse or shame in the receiving and eating. That came as an afterthought when God appeared in the garden to question them. At that point they both sought to hide and protect themselves. In this sense, they not only lost their direct connection with God, but the completeness of their union was damaged. Both attempts of covering themselves with leaves and hiding in the trees are examples of division and separation.

The first thing Adam said to God when God called to him was, I heard Your voice… and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself. In other words, I was exposed and I couldn’t face you. I didn’t want you to see me – not like this. Adam and Eve didn’t hide simply because they ate the fruit. They hid because of the emotion associated with their action; the shame of having doubted and disobeyed God and they feared judgment. Adam’s fear speaks of his disconnection from his source more clearly than anything, as we are told in 1 John 4:16-18, quite clearly: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

In 2 Timothy 1:7, we are told explicitly that God did not give us a spirit of fear (timidity), but rather a spirit of power, love and of self-discipline (sound mind). When you know who you are and you are secure in your place, position and relationships (with God and people), reminding yourself of this fact is sufficient to check yourself when doubt creeps in.

Adam and Eve should have presented a united front and protected one another. Instead, they selfishly sought to please and protect themselves. We are told in 1 Peter 4:8, Above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. I think, perhaps, that’s where the bulk of their shame came from. Not only were they caught doing something they knew not to do, they compounded their disobedience by not protecting their partner – they did not provide covering for one another. They didn’t defend or stand up for each other. There is no fear in love. Fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Adam and Eve started off perfect in love. Their love could have covered their sin. Instead they chose not to take responsibility for their actions and passed blame in fear of punishment. Their choices speak directly to their separation from one another.

Their story is an illustration of a relationship in its perfect state. Two people joined as one flesh, caring and providing for one another. They were emotionally open and available to one another; they were naked together and unashamed. Their story is also an illustration of the destruction a relationship is susceptible to when influenced by outside forces and internal selfishness. They lost sight of one another’s best interests. They sought to shield themselves from the other.

Relationships are still susceptible to all the nuances that caused Adam and Eve to fall.

We are in danger of destroying ourselves and our relationships when we build up defenses and guard against intimacy with our partner. There is danger when we blame our partner or others for our shortcomings and insecurities. When we hide our true selves from view in hopes of escaping judgment and recriminations. There is great danger when we fear our nakedness and our emotional vulnerabilities. More danger in the fear and hiding than simply revealing where we are.

Relationships fail for many reasons – outside interference, lack of trust, selfishness, individualistic attitude being a few reasons that come to mind.  None of that has to be the end of a union. You can overcome anything simply by choosing to cover your spouse with your love.

With Adam and Eve’s relationship, certain characteristics were implicit in their joining and in their nakedness before the fall. Trust is implicit when you expose and open your heart to someone. It’s not something to be manipulated, taken for granted or set aside. Our nakedness is sacred and should be honored as such.

In Proverbs 4:23 we are admonished to guard our hearts above all things. We may be gifted with a spouse, but it is our choice to continue day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute in performing our love for our partner. So, be careful you are not giving away pieces of your heart before you get to your assigned spouse; only your spouse should benefit from your emotional nakedness.

Meditation Verse: Genesis 2:18, 20-25

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


Awareness of Nakedness

Duality of Man: Strength and Vulnerability

When Truth Destroys