Designed For Intimacy

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.

 

Kat Harris

Kat Harris is a NYC and LA lifestyle and editorial photographer and a destination wedding photographer.  You can follow Kat on Twitter, and Instagram

Join the discussion

Ted Martin April 28, 2016 at 5:54am

Great post! Both women and men are designed for intimacy and connection. In order for that to happen though it takes an environment where both feel safe and that there is a level of trust established in order to lower the walls and take the risk of being vulnerable which leads to intimacy and connection. I know for me a hurdle to get over is the fear of rejection in doing that. It's a risk being vulnerable. There are some great videos related to that at:
http://www.mymensgroup.net/building-intimacy--connection-resources.html. I know from a guy's point of view they really hit home for me in what it feels like from the guy's perspective.

Eleasha January 7, 2016 at 3:34pm

As I was reading this, I felt like as if the 30 year old me was writing this. I also have gotten my first purity ring when I was 17 because of a broken relationship with someone who only wanted me lustfully not spiritually and ever since then I have kept my promise to God. Yes I have been tempted but God has never given up on me. I have also lost my paper and ring too haha but my promise to God is not made on a ring or paper but through my actions and my heart. Lately I've been feeling as if I will never find the man God has for me because all of my friends have boyfriends now, going on dates, and taking cute selfies together while I'm over here in my room watching sappy romantic movies on Netflix. But then I realized that I shouldn't be aspiring to have relationships where it only consists of #relationshipgoals, scenes like the Notebook, or having intimacy only through kissing and sex. I should be aspiring to have a relationship with someone who embodies God's unconditional love for me. Someone who honors my body, serves me, cares for me, listens to me, and brings me more closer to God by encouraging me through my darkest moments. And I agree as well, how different might it be if everyone treated each other like the Father has for us? What if the world was more aware of God's unending love for us? Thank you so much for sharing your testimony and how much I can relate to you. God bless you!

Stephanie August 6, 2015 at 8:18pm

Thank you so much for sharing. My journey looks a bit different from yours but I'm the same season of wanting intimacy but waiting in faith. God bless x

Ann July 31, 2015 at 4:17am

Great Article!! I am on the same journey, but at a different level. I am a divorcee who has learned the consequences of settling for second best. I know the consequences of premarital sex which leaves God out when you decide to get married. I have recovered my spiritual virginity . I am grateful to the Lord for showing and strengthening me to honor him with my body. I am in my early 40's and waiting for the one the Lord has planned for me to marry. The Holy Spirit taught me early on how to establish and maintain guard rails and it works.

Sarah June 16, 2015 at 10:40am

This was such a joy to read. Thank you for being so honest and encouraging. God truly has designed each season in our lives with purpose, and I love waiting on his perfect timing for all things.

nems June 15, 2015 at 4:21pm

Wow..thank you for this message... Singleness and waiting for the one God prepared for us is not an easy journey especially when you are standing not on the world standards but God's standards..it's very comforting to know that I'm not alone in this journey..

Nicole June 12, 2015 at 3:09am

Thank you Kat for this very honest and real but hopeful article. I am turning 30 in a few months and it has been a great time of reflection for my heart on this subject. I COMPLETELY understand where you are at Kat. Singleness is its own journey. One that people often think is easy which is FAR from true. Especially if you are trying to live singleness God's way. BUT every season is challenging whether single or married. Both are seasons that ask us to grow and to declare total dependency on Him. Both are beautiful and a gift of grace in their own right. One is not more important than the other or more special than the other. Each are God created and are there for a reason. He created both. Saving ourselves for marriage is SO IMPORTANT. It is a struggle to stay pure in this day and age and the pressure to be sexually active is so strong. It is a normal thing to do BUT I have found that if God and the pursuit of His love and attention is my one aim that He truly does satisfy the deepest longings of my heart and those temptations are completely taken away. It is all about identity. If He is the basis of my being, the breath in my lungs, and the song in my heart then what else do I need? I have come to see those moments of loneliness or temptation as an opportunity....an opportunity to press into Him even more and see Him be all to me in that moment including the Lover of my soul. Those moments are a call to intimacy with Him and in Him all can be put to rest and wholeness restored. I called to be His woman no matter my marital status. He has created us as beautiful and unique creations with a divine purpose and I for one intend to live out all that I was created to be with great joy and gusto! :) Blessings to you Kat and Propel for this amazing resource. It has become a HUGE part of moving me forward into my God designed destiny. Take heart my sisters!

JJC June 11, 2015 at 11:42pm

I absolutely LOVED this article. I feel like those of us on this journey need a reminder once in a while that we are NOT the only ones on this journey! Constantly being surrounded by everything sex, in the media, news, everywhere, can make you feel like such an alien. I have just recently to move to a place in my life where I convinced myself that waiting is perfectly normal, healthy and of course, the way that God designed it to be! I have been to committed to waiting my whole life, I am 25, but used to be so ashamed of it. Because we are women, very emotional beings, and may crave intimacy more on some days than others, the journey can feel so lonely. It's good to come across articles like this to remind me I'm not. :)

Lauren June 10, 2015 at 5:11am

Thank you for posting! Coming from someone who waited, I am so glad that I did, and can certainly say that it was worth the wait. I asked my mentor, why wait? It would have been so easy for my fiancé at the time, now husband and I to be intimate. She put it beautifully for me in a way that I took to heart and really understood. My husband and I have both said many times that we are so glad that we both waited for one another. It is SO worth it!

Anna Marie June 9, 2015 at 11:45pm

Thank you for this. Came right on time. I turn 37 this friday and am walking this journey with you..
This last year has been trying but i know my Jesus has a plan for me that is far sweeter than i could ever know. So i join you and our other sisters who have commented here - in believing in His Way and staying the course as we Wait on Him. Knowing that it is HIS love that ultimately frees us to be all that we can be and experience this life to the fullest.

Des June 9, 2015 at 7:04am

Thank you Kat for your beautiful, open and honest article. I just turned 34 and I was divorced 2 years ago from a very abusive relationship of 16 years. Abusive on the spiritual, sexual, mental level and when it began to turn into physical abuse I realized that the love that God has for me would NEVER treat me this way and so I left. It was not easy, because I have four children and I had to start my life over again, with little finances and no degree of any sort, but God gave me His strength and love and a great support system and I have never regretted leaving for even a moment, I feel free, FREE to worship MY Jesus the way He intended me to and to continue to be in His service with the ministry He has given me. I am not belittling marriage or upholding divorce, but some situations are just NOT what God intended and it is OKAY to leave. So I am mothering my children with my Heavenly Husband, working a few jobs and going to school to get my degree. It is not always easy to be single, but it is A LOT EASIER than being in a BAD relationship. In reading your article I really respect what you had to say and I can relate to it very well. Even though I have had sex, I can still relate to it, because even in a marriage sex can be unhallowed and not what God intended if your husband or for men their wife are not consecrated to God. My ex husband was a so called "Christian", he was even the head of a ministry, but behind closed doors he was a man that nobody knew or believed to be. I was very young when I married him, 18 years to be exact and I only wish I took the advice, "Watch how a man treats his mother", because if you think your an exception to the mother, your wrong, eventually you will be in the same boat. So I find it wonderful that women like yourself are waiting for that right man that God has ordained for you and that you are waiting with patience, I want to encourage you to continue to wait for God's wisdom in the choice of the man He wants for you and not your own choice. I encourage this, because I would NEVER want any woman to suffer in the ways I have, because of my own impatience and making my own decision for a husband instead of God's. So I hope that if anyone is tempted to make a decision, because they are lonely for a relationship, please hear me it is NOT worth it outside of God's providence. Now that I am divorced I have done a similar thing as you did Kat with the ring, I have a ministry in film and I make independent Christian films, God has blessed me with awards, but MOST of all I have had the opportunity to touch people's lives, my ex husband used to be jealous of my work and even tell me it wasn't from God, he would tell me it wasn't even work and cut me down in so many ways, but now that I am FREE, I continue to see how God has continued to support my work, I have learned to lean on Him as my husband and depend on Him for my support and all my needs. So about a little over a year ago I decided that I wanted to wear a wedding ring, I thought about Jesus being the pearl of great price and that He is my MOST valued treasure and so I purchased a simple pearl ring from Israel, and I wear it on my ring finger as a commitment to God and that I have committed my Life and Life's work to Him and a reminder of Who I Live for and Who Loves me with TRUE Love and that I am NOT to accept anything less than His Love and what His love has intended for me. It's true what you say we as human beings long for intimacy, and really especially in it's true sense, I have no desire for sex outside of God's true intended context. I closely befriended a man last year that I had been friends with for over three years, I had never seen him as anything more than a friend and even when we began to hang out I truly only thought "Oh he will be a good friend" and nothing more. Then as things can happen and do happen sometimes I realized I really liked him, then I was falling in love with him, and then I loved him. It was a mutual thing on many levels, but I can see clearly more on my side than his and I prayed to God to keep me and to help me and to give me a clear mind, because I continually thought about where the Bible talks about to not be unequally yoked and I asked God to help me not to make any decisions upon the strong emotions that were overwhelming me, but to make decisions with a clear mind with God by my side. It was NOT easy, but FREEING as God gave me strength to look ahead and see things. Not that this man is bad, he actually still remains a good friend, but I realized that He just was NOT the one God had for me, it has taken and still takes sometimes moments of great prayer to stay strong, because we do desire intimacy as human beings. After I divorced I had vowed I would NEVER marry again and that I was done! But when I began spending time with this particular man things in my heart awakened that I had NOT expected to ever rise in my heart and that I wasn't aware were there (the needs I had), but at a deeper level than I had realized. So without making the decision to fall in love I just did in response to the love and kindness that was being shown towards me that I had not experienced before from a man. And when I love someone, I love them. But over time I knew and still know there are to many differences (everyone has differences I understand, but there are some that are to big) and that my EVERY breath is Living for and with God and I would NEVER want an unequal yoking to be in the way of my relationship with God or to hinder the work He has put before me. So by God's grace I was able to stand and be honest about it all with this man, regardless of how my heart felt or the possible cost of the friend I had grown to love and become accustomed to being a part of my life, I knew I had to be honest and stop the path we were heading down, not just for me, but for his sake before it would be to hard for him as well, because my heart is ALWAYS more to God as my priority. We have remained good friends, and nothing ever physical (which I would not have consented to anything improper), but not even a kiss ever transpired and we never officially dated, but had only ever hung out as good friends, that knew we loved each other and I am thankful we still know we love each other and just want each other to be happy. I pray all the time that God will bring a woman in his path that he can be equally yoked with. As for myself I have ONE desire to Live my life for God and I don't know what that means completely for my life, but I will live day by day in His grace, and although I have a desire to be affectionate to a man, I also know I will not settle for anything less by His grace than what HE intended me to have as His child and bride. I do know my preference is to remain single and to be completely free to serve God in the way that I can serve Him only as a single person can, But I am not God and I don't know what He has planned for me, maybe I will remain single like Florence Nightingale or marry like Ruth Graham, I honestly don't know, I just leave it in God's hands as He is the ONLY One that knows that answer and what is best for me, so whether I marry in the future or I don't marry, I TRULY know that I have TRUE Love with MY Jesus. So it is wonderful to know that I am not the only one walking this path, we may all have different backgrounds some of us have been intimate and some not, but intimacy is NOT intimacy unless it is the TRUE intimacy God intended and it will NEVER fill any gap unless Christ is our center and the person's center that we choose to connect our lives too, we all have the same goal as we are in Christ and that is to be COMPLETELY in Love with God and Live for Him in His purity. So remain in Him our Savior. GOD IS GOOD AND GOD IS LOVE!

Justina June 8, 2015 at 8:53pm

Many thanks for this beautiful reminder! I also turn 30 this year and I'm still waiting. What we're trusting God for is SO much worth it! Yes, it's not easy - if it was, everybody on earth would be doing it. I'm encouraged. Thank you Kat...and thank you Propel!

Danielle June 7, 2015 at 9:56pm

I LOVE this article! Thank you so much for expressing the beauty and sacredness of God's heart towards us! It beckons my heart even now! He draws us with cords of love and desires us deeply!!!

Lynn June 7, 2015 at 11:50am

Thank you for this article, I also have chosen to honor my future husband with this commitment. When I was younger I didn't realize how much it would be challenged through the years. Even by some Christian guys. Now in my mid-30's I'm learning that God has so much more to teach me about intimacy and love for Him. Refocusing on Him now instead of getting so flustered over not being married and not having it yet.

CW June 7, 2015 at 11:10am

As a 52 year old single I agree. It's a constant battle to stay pure while desiring an intimate relationship.

Fran June 7, 2015 at 11:02am

Thank you so much for sharing this article Kat. I empathize with you really. I am 32 and am kinda in the same boat as you. Just want to encourage you and all the other ladies in waiting, it is not easy at all but it is soooo worth it. In the meantime, let us let our beloved Jesus love on us and fill every gap of our lives. After all, only He can truly satisfy us.

Cathy June 7, 2015 at 9:33am

Thank you for this wonderful reminder! It's hard not to give up hope when you've made mistakes, given your heart away to the wrong men, and been hurt. But instead of lowering my standards, I'm committed to raising them. I know that my God is greater than all of this, and I continue to heal as I wait.

Christine June 7, 2015 at 9:30am

This is an amazing article. I felt like I was reading the story of my own life. Thank you so much for that encouragement!!!! I am so blessed to be reminded that we all have many sisters in Christ walking this road with us.

Margaret June 7, 2015 at 7:33am

Beautiful post Kat - so intimate, honest and driven by love. Thank you. I'm 40 and I'm a virgin. I have no regrets about saving myself for my husband and I know that God truly values my decision to remain holy. Sex outside of marriage has spiritual significance and consequences. I look forward to enjoying sex with my husband in the sanctity of marriage. Thanks again for your words. x

Ntombi June 7, 2015 at 6:38am

Every word in this article was written for me, as Gods way of keeping the pieces of my heart together. As a young person in this day and age, this is by far one of the most trying things. It's so easy to question the 'relevance' of purity and 'choosing' to wait.
Then there is also the part that feels safer to deny that we were created for intimacy and that the fibre of our being longs for it.

I walk away remembering that God is at the centre of my being, my desires, my confusion, my convictions...at the centre of it all. Thank you❤️

Rowe June 7, 2015 at 5:12am

How beautiful Kat! It's like you wrote what was in my heart!!
Praise God. He will answer the deepest desire of your heart girl!!

Rachel June 5, 2015 at 6:49pm

Brilliantly articulated I'm 35 and still waiting, I haven't been in any relationship and that's hard to feel normal and often hard to remember the reality of what a marriage and a true biblical love can bring. Thank you so much for the reminder

Bethany June 5, 2015 at 12:50pm

I recently read a similar article posted on The Gospel Coalition (http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/sex-and-the-single-woman). I appreciate the openness. As a young adult, single gal I have also craved intimacy. But I believe, as these ladies have articulated, that there is so much love God has for me in this season. I've found that my attempt to fill a gap with an imitation of that love, will not work. Thank you for sharing your journey.

Sarah June 5, 2015 at 11:23am

I'm with you! It's not easy but I know He's worth it and wants to fulfill our dreams and then some! So good to know I'm not alone. I so desire this intimacy in my life. He knows. And He's drawing me to himself in it. He's drawing us.