This blog series is following my church’s series, “What’s Missing From Sex” as my pastor preaches about a topic the church has mostly avoided. This particular post goes with the second sermon in the series and can be found on my church’s website here. I urge you to listen! The sermon begins about 16:00 minutes into the video.
“I want a normal life.” I uttered these words to God and then a friend earlier this week. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that word “normal,” because, as I cried to my friend just a few days ago, I know that I’m not normal. I’ve never felt normal—and it’s not just my past addiction that drives that feelings. I don’t fall in love like a normal person, I don’t think or act like a normal person, I don’t have a life that resembles anything “normal.” But that doesn’t mean I don’t crave being “normal”—whatever that means. However, after talking to my friend about it, I realized that it’s not that I crave being “normal.” What I really crave is intimacy. What I really want is for someone to really see me and understand me. What I really want is to be known.
When I think of ungodly relationships I’ve been in and the mistakes I’ve made in the area of sex, I realize that the fact that I’m so different has caused me to crave intimacy in a strong way. And I believed culture’s lie that the easiest way to get intimacy was through sex. But with that view, we get a lot of physical nakedness, but not much spiritual and emotional nakedness—which is really what I am craving (and most others too). I want to be real and authentic, mistakes and all, and to be loved for being those things.
As I’ve reflected on this over the past few days, here are a few things God revealed to me about intimacy:
- God created us to be intimate with him and with others. My friend told me that being fully known by God should be enough for me. However, that’s not entirely true nor is it Biblical. God created us to be relational beings; if He had just wanted us to depend solely on Him, then He never would have said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). He saw that the animals were paired up, and, not finding a suitable helper for man among them, He created one for Him—woman. So not only were women not created to be alone, but women were created out of man, as a helper specifically for man. God wants us to be intimate with Him, YES—more than anything! But God also wants us to experience intimate relationships with other human beings, both male and female.
- It takes trust to build intimacy. Though we should put our full and total trust only in the Lord, we have to take chances and trust people as well. This is difficult in a world that seems plastic and fake. I think sometimes it is easier for me to put all my “stuff” out on the Internet to see than it is to confess it to friends. And for many, it is easier to be physically naked with someone through sex than it is to be emotionally and spiritually naked with them by confiding in them. But we have to change that thought process. God is showing me daily that the more I trust Him with my heart (Proverbs 3:5), the easier it is to trust people who will disappoint or hurt me—and vice versa.
- It takes time to build intimacy. Intimacy isn’t formed overnight. Too often, we enter into relationships with others and expect intimacy before we have actually taken the time to develop it. I believe this is one of the reasons why it is so important to be friends with someone before you date or marry them. When you spend time with others outside of the bedroom, you get to know their feelings, their dreams, their visions, their fears. It is in sharing these things that intimacy is cultivated. True, godly friendships encourage intimacy, and true, godly intimacy occurs over time…time spent with others and time spent with God.
As my pastor pointed out, you cannot have sex without intimacy (which we will discuss later this week). But you can grow in the area of intimacy without having sex. It begins with a willingness to trust and spend quality time with others—and God.
How can you practice being spiritually and emotionally intimate in godly ways this week?