Intimacy, by definition is a noun described as “close familiarity or friendship; closeness.” But perhaps we are more familiar with intimacy as it is described in one of it’s other definitions “an intimate act, especially sexual intercourse”. Both of these definitions are correct. However, I believe intimacy to be a lost art in this day and age. We think we have it all figured out; but the truth is that we have lost touch with what it means to have intimacy. Both with others and with God. But as with anything, there is always logic behind my accusations and thoughts.
While writing this I texted a few friends to ask them what Intimacy meant to them. Just the clear-cut truth. It was no surprise to me that almost all of them came back with the second definition of intimacy revolving around physical acts of love. And this is the first basis of where we have it all wrong. Were my friends wrong when they gave me their responses? No. But we even get this type of intimacy so wrong these days. We sleep with someone and we call it “intimacy”. But half of the time we haven’t even experienced the first definition of “closeness” with that person. There is so much more to intimacy than intercourse…and it all begins with God in the Garden of Eden.
If you talk to a young adult or even a teenager about having intimacy with God. Like I said before, this is because we’ve warped the definition into something that it’s not. Intimacy in and of itself has been distorted and mistaken for so long now that nobody knows or even cares to know where it originated and what it actually means to be intimate.
Let’s start at the creation of man. For all of you revolutionists, I am talking about Adam and Eve. Now, if you don’t believe in this particular story of the creation of man, just try not to look at the religious aspect of it and give me a chance.
Now, when God created Adam and Eve they lived in Shalom. The definition of this Jewish word means “peace”. There was no such thing as sin at this point in time. Adam and Eve lived in perfect shalom with God. This was the start of the definition of Intimacy. God himself dwelled with them in the garden. Genesis 2:25 describes what I think is the core of intimacy; “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
They felt…no shame. Let’s look at just that piece of it. I want you to think here for just a minute. Is there anything that if it were to be brought up / seen by / or known by someone you believe to be intimate with, would you feel ashamed or embarrassed? We constantly think that someone seeing us naked is the basis of intimacy. But there is so much more to it than that. When was the last time you were emotionally naked with someone? When was the last time you bore it all for that person to see? All your flaws, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your embarrassing adolescent stories. It’s so natural for us to shy backwards and hide or catch our tongues. But when was the last time you actually sat there and talked about these things? Let’s flip the script. When was the last time you pursued these things from your significant other?
You see, intimacy is just as much about opening up as it is about pursuing one another. God shows us this within the same book of Genesis. We aren’t exact about how long the Shalom lasted, but we know that it only lasted one verse before Eve messes things up for everyone. We can’t pretend that God didn’t know this was going to happen, but that’s a topic for another time. Let’s look into how God responds to the first act of Sin.
So, we all know Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and all at once they are aware of good and evil. And they realize they’re naked and become afraid and ashamed. And as they hear God entering the garden, they hide. But it says in Genesis 3:9 “But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
God pursues his creation. He doesn’t storm in with fiery rage and wipe them from the face of the planet. He asks “Adam, where are you?” And when Adam tells God that he hid because he was naked and afraid, God’s response is even more delicate. “Who told you that you were naked?” This is similar to a parent asking a child, or one significant other to the other “who told you that you’re not good enough?”
God asks this question because he knows that he wasn’t the one telling Adam that he should be ashamed. Might that be how God wishes for us to be intimate; not only with Him but with each other. God spends the rest of the Bible and even to this day pursuing us. He even became man and walked among us so that we may know Him. So ask yourself, do you pursue one another? Do you know one another down to the core?
God also values intimacy over fame….We should too.
Besides sex, the other part that we get wrong with intimacy is with the privacy of it. I do a lot of posting; about God, about Emily, about my family. Like many others, I myself am guilty of over-sharing at times. But my most intimate moments take place alone. When I talk to God, ask him questions, let him know that I’m angry, let him know that I’m sad or lonely or that I feel inadequate and unappreciated. There are intimate moments (no, not sexual) that Emily and I have shared that nobody knows about. Things I haven’t posted.
God wants to have intimacy with you. He wants to know you and for you to know him. He wants that closeness. It’s hard to have that when it’s all show and tell. Just like it’s hard to be close when other people are involved or know. A secret isn’t a secret if everyone knows right?
We see it all the time. An Instagram post of a heartfelt letter or a romantic surprise of some sort. Hashtags everywhere. People like it until their thumbs fall off and comment the heart-eye emoji. Have you ever stopped to think that sometimes posting things like this for everyone to see takes the value out of the intimacy? Sometimes there are things that everyone doesn’t need to see/know. This goes for both good things and bad things.
Sometimes intimacy is a little more than posting a “woman crush Wednesday” or posting every little surprise that your significant other does for you. Sometimes intimacy can be you two, lying nose-to-nose, talking about your day. Talking about the future. Knowing each other or learning more and more about each other. Sometimes it’s just letting someone know that you’re thinking about them. A moment. Shared only between the two of you. That is the core of what intimacy is…and somehow we have lost touch with it.
Might we get back to practicing the art of intimacy. Both with God and with each other. This is an art that is slowly falling through our grip…We need to take hold of it. Otherwise, we will spend our time constantly searching for more, constantly feeling lonely in a room full of people. Get back to being intimate.
Thanks for reading!