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For 6,000 years, Satan has had a special hatred for women. He has deceived many of them into believing that love and intimacy are the source of much of their pain.

How did they come to this conclusion? Those who were supposed to express love to them in their youth took from them instead of nurturing them with compassionate love.

The result has been that some women have vowed to keep intimacy at a distance. Others have chosen to remain numb, feeling no emotions, no warmth, no passion--believing that if they do not feel then they cannot be disappointed again. Still others have determined that gentleness and intimacy are signs of weakness, and they avoid them for fear of being controlled.

These ungodly beliefs can result in a life of independence or isolation. When a desire for love and intimacy is lost we tend to develop a survival mentality: "I must be strong and tough and unyielding!"

But God doesn't want us to withhold ourselves from Him and others. He created us—"in His own image" (Gen. 1:27, NASB)—for love.

Because God created both men and women in His image, His nature must encompass both masculine and feminine characteristics (v. 27). The masculine heart cries out to "do," to form, to create, to initiate, to know, and to rationalize and intellectualize. The feminine heart seeks to "be" and desires intimacy ("in-to-me-see"). It longs for communion, for connection, to bond, to know and to be known.

First John 3:9 tells us that God's seed (spermah in Greek)—that is, God's DNA—abides in us; therefore, men also have within them the feminine aspect of God's nature, and women have the masculine qualities. But if you totally separate the feminine qualities from a Christian, he will most likely be driven by hyper-religious activity, reasoning, and the desire to do and to perform. He will be tempted to focus so much on achievement that he has little energy left for intimate, loving relationships.

When Satan deceived mankind in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lost intimacy and hid themselves among God's handiwork. God began the restoration of intimacy by empowering the woman to bruise the deceiver.

Womanhood was not cursed in the Garden—Satan was. God told the devil that femininity would bring great harm to his kingdom (Gen. 3:14-15).

Now Satan fears any man or woman who walks in intimacy, compassion, gentleness, and the ability to give and receive love. He seeks to deceive mankind into devaluing feminine qualities. Thus many cultures and religions place their women under heavy veils of oppression and even perpetuate acts of violence against them.

Could it be that the church has lost some of its authority and power to overcome the accuser by putting a higher value on typically masculine qualities than we do on feminine ones? Could it be that we need a healthier balance of both within men and women before the church is empowered to meet the desperate need of a world that is looking for love in all the wrong places?

To devalue feminine qualities is to devalue empathy, nurture, comfort and intimacy. Women who do this reject a primary aspect of their nature and end up depending on possessions, position, performance, or power to find acceptance and form their identity.

A Return to Intimacy

Many of us struggle relationally through life because we distrust intimacy. Either because of a deficiency of parental love or because we experienced some traumatic form of disappointment in the past, we set up walls of self-protection to keep people out so that we do not suffer more pain.

In our isolation, the enemy lies to us about God's character and purposes for our lives. He tells us God does not love us unless we perform well enough to earn His love.

He wants us to believe that God is angry, aloof or constantly disappointed with us. If he can convince us that God devalues feminine traits or has withdrawn from us because of some sin we have committed, he can cause us to begin striving to earn God's love, thus increasing the depth of our shame, fear and control. Intimacy is then lost.

Here are four important keys to restoring intimacy:

1. Developing a proper image of yourself. Femininity is an aspect of God's nature, and God is love. If you devalue femininity, you are uncomfortable with God and love.

If you are uncomfortable with love, you find it difficult to receive God's love and acceptance, and the enemy can warp your self-image.

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