“Yada”: Cultivating Intimacy with God

Yada, the Hebrew word meaning, “to know,” is used multiple times throughout scripture for a variety of different topics. However, when the term is used to define the yada, as the relationship between man and God, it speaks of a deep intimacy that the Father longs to have with His children.

As now a young woman, in my early days I grew up around the church. I attended church school. I went to church camp. My entire existence was centered around church, but I’ll share a hard truth, it was not centered around intimacy with Him.

Throughout my childhood, I learned how to memorize scripture, pray, have daily devotions. I learned how to talk the talk, but when it came to walking intimately with the Lord, I didn’t really understand what that entailed.

Recently, for a project that is totally unrelated to this subject, I was reading about the left-brain vs. the right-brain. I tend to favor the right side of my brain above the factual more practical left side. Through evaluating the pros and cons of both sides of the brain, I gained revelation about my intimate walk with the Lord.

As more of a right-brained extrovert, I tend to be spontaneous and extravagant. I show my love through giant outbursts of hugs and support that have no other purpose than to love and be loved. But to me, growing up, the God of the Church seemed more left-brained. He cared about numbers, facts, how many scriptures I had memorized, and about the level of discipline I could achieve when I woke up early every morning to read the Word. Still, my right-brain self longed for a spontaneous outburst now and again. A love walk with an intimate friend, but that just seemed too silly for a staunch and crisp Heavenly Father.

Over time, because I had no understanding, I would teach myself to place these inner longings deep within myself, hiding my need for a greater intimacy with Him from others and from myself. In exchange, I did my daily duties as an obligatory sacrifice to what seemed a disapproving God.

So, it is no wonder that when I became an adult and had the opportunity to walk away from the Church, and worse still to walk away from God, I took it. It was just too hard. I just could never measure up. There was always someone else who was so much better at self-discipline than I was, and it just made sense to me that God must love him or her more because of their abilities.

Soon after making this decision, I chose a career in the arts. In some ways, I came home for the first time. The arts are filled with passionate people who march to the beat of their own drum, who love self-exploration and expression. It was a whole new world, where I was invited to explore just for the sake of exploring. The process of creativity was enough. The journey was the thing, not the destination. Yet, after a time, that became empty too. I kept walking in circles and struggling to have a focus. Eventually, I just got lost all together.

Just as the prodigal son in the parable of Jesus, I would later decide that it would be better to be a slave in my Father’s house than to wallow in the mud of a pigpen. In a desperate cry for help, I chose to renounce my sins and to invite Jesus into my heart, understanding that I would once again be obligated to read the Word, memorize, obey, obey, obey. It wasn’t an easy decision. You may be shocked at this statement… but it just wasn’t.

Then, much to my surprise, what happened instead of a life of indentured servitude is this… My Father saw me from afar off! He met me where I was at, and in an extravagant act of love towards me He came running down the road, yelling out, “My daughter! My daughter! She has returned home! Kill My very best calf! Throw a party! Let’s celebrate My beautiful extravagant daughter who has returned to Me!” The Father, who I had so longed to please through works, showed me the overabundance of His true heart for me in a spontaneous outburst of love and celebration.

It has taken time, but over the last few years Father God has been removing the barriers that have stood in my way from truly walking in intimacy with Him. I understand now that walking in close relationship is a balancing act. I study the scriptures now to better understand the One who ran to me—displaying His affection for the entire world to see. I spend time in prayer for the issues that break His heart, not out of obligation, but because I love what He loves.

Please understand that this doesn’t mean that there isn’t an element of self-discipline that has had to take place. Both processes are the same in the sense that I choose daily to seek His face. The thing that is different is that I understand my relationship with the Lord can be unique to me. So now, when I seek Him, I know that it doesn’t have to be a cookie-cutter version of the person next to me. There are still biblical principles that I must walk out like everyone else, but who is to say that me coloring a picture as I meditate on the Word is wrong? It’s just a different approach.

I write in my journal to Him. I paint, dance, take pictures. I sing to Him. I plant gardens and walk with Him in His creation. I allow my right-brained self to express yada with Him in my own unique ways. The more I do this, the more I long to read His Word and know Him more. It is a life of devotion, not a life of devotions.

I want to encourage you, if you too struggle with developing an intimate relationship with the Father, begin a process of unpacking where those lies crept into your heart. Ask Him to show you where you’ve exchanged works, or acts of service, for private quality times that were unique just to your relationship with Him. Ask Father God to give you wisdom and revelation of how He is yearning to communicate to you through the pages of the Bible. Reach out to Him, inviting Him into every aspect of your day-to-day life—understanding that He placed certain desires in your heart for a reason, and that He knows your thoughts and your greatest heart’s desires. As you begin to allow Him to join you in even the silliest little expressions of your love for Him, He will begin to fill up those voids and places of deep longing for intimacy, and in turn His love will begin to overflow out of you and into the lives of others.

May you be encouraged today—strengthened in the knowledge that your Heavenly Father is an extravagant Papa who waits eagerly and expectantly to spend quality yada time with you… and you alone.

Marisa Fritzemeier has attended House of David since 2010. Over the years she has been honored to serve the house in various capacities. It has been her greatest privilege to join them on multiple trips to Israel and neighboring nations. Marisa spends much of her time working with children. She has a BFA in Theatre from Emporia State, and has spent much of her life dedicated to exploring various artistic mediums. She is passionate about developing art programing with Kingdom purposes. In her spare time, Marisa also works for a digital marketing team building websites and developing advertising for small businesses across the globe. It is her highest honor to know Yeshua as her personal savior, and it is with great joy that she serves Him daily.