We are designed for intimacy. The longing to be linked deeply with others is coursing through our veins. It’s in the very fabric of our beings. God created me, you, us in the depths intimately and intricately. Everything about a relationship with God is founded from this sort of intimacy. From those hidden and most intimate moments nothing he has done in relationship with us is without intention and purpose. He has not made one mistake.
He knows my deepest moments of hurt and heartaches. The things I long for so much that I’m scared to even put them to words… He knows those too. He grieves with me when I make a mess of my life, and gently reminds me of my worth in the moments I am most scared and insecure.
He is my strength. He is always with me. His love for me never changes. He is purposeful and committed. He does what He says. Always. He listens. He responds. He is my greatest advocate and protector. Securely I am able to be naked and unashamed with Him because He is not going anywhere. It feels safe to be with and known by Him. Such intimacy is life changing. Soul changing.
One of the biggest metaphors for the type of love God has for us is the marriage relationship. The Groom is to love His Bride as Christ loved the church in: commitment, integrity, intention, honor, unconditional love, service, patience, grace, protection. The list goes on. He is a tender warrior and holds his bride with such esteem that he would do anything for her. He would even die for her so that she could live in freedom. This Bride is to humbly serve her Groom. What bride wouldn't want to serve a man that loves her in such a powerful way as this. Can you imagine the type of physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy that could be experienced from this context? It’s holy. It’s sacred. It’s counter cultural. It’s a type of love that will redeem a hurting and broken world. It’s that powerful.
When I was 17 years old my mom ordered me a white gold band that I put on the ring finger of my right hand. It was a simple ring, but it’s significance bold. On a hot and humid Sunday afternoon in Texas I made a commitment to myself, to my future husband, and to God that I would wait until marriage to have sex. I got a certificate which I quickly lost, and wore my ring proudly until I misplaced that too.
This year I turn 30. I’m still single, and still a virgin. It was easy, almost flippant to declare “I’m waiting” in Bible Belt Texas as a high school senior. It is (at least it feels like) a completely different sort of stand now in my life. As a photographer and blogger in New York City, I live in the epicenter of a society that screams sex and praises promiscuity.
If you’re like me, then you’ve probably blown it physically with a guy at some point. Maybe I haven’t flown over the guardrail, but I’ve crashed. I have walked away from the wreckage of a broken relationship bloody and bruised. In the moment all I wanted was that other person, but every time we took it too far I felt insecure afterwards. I would question myself and him. Our motives. Did he desire my heart, soul, mind, intellect, hopes, dreams, and desires? Was it just physical? I felt disconnected from myself, from him, and from God. I felt alone, ashamed and was experienced what seemed to be the opposite of intimacy with this person and it was so confusing.
In hindsight I see more clearly. True intimacy physical and spiritual flourish amidst a committed relationship. As much as I want to have sex, I know that I really want something more than that. I want a relationship. I feel safe, connected and intimate with God because he is committed to me. He has intention and is in constant pursuit of my heart. Sex in the context of that sort of relationship can be the most freeing, bonding and safe experience. Because you know that person isn’t going anywhere, and neither are you.
That’s the type of love I’m looking for. I don’t want a hook up, or a quick fix. I want to be committed to one man, and I want to give him all of me. Sex without love or commitment is just mechanics. I want something more than technique. The physical is never just about the physical. There’s always an invitation to the spiritual.
More than purity what I’m really fighting for is wholeness. I want the whole relationship. The whole person mind, body, and spirit, not just part of him. I don’t fight for it because it makes me a “good Christian girl”. If that were the case I would’ve thrown in the towel long ago. I fight for it because of what this type of love has the potential to create in our world.
Within the context of love, commitment, promises, intention and marriage physical intimacy can allow for connection when there seems to be distance. It creates space for our souls to mingle with our bodies, and it is holy. It is sacred. It connects us to God, our partner and ourselves.
Is this journey easy? Absolutely not. Anyone who tells you so is lying. I am far from perfect, and have made mistakes. But I want you to know this is a journey worth being on. You are not alone.
Can you imagine a world in which men and women loved and honored each other in the way that God designed it to be?
I imagine it would be a world teeming with endless possibilities of love, hope, peace, redemption, purpose, connectedness and true mind, body and soul intimacy.