Oh intimacy how you’ve been dragged thru the mud
your true meaning undone
distorted and tainted by the world
covered in fear and shame
but the time has come
you will be redeemed and restored
seen for what you truly are
pure, innocent, gentle, heart and soul
God’s heart seen to all
Our friendship is not a friendship we have ever seen lived out, but we have the example of David & Jonathan in the Bible to live out. David & Jonathan’s covenant friendship is a rare and beautiful bond. Scripture states, “David met Jonathan and there was an immediate bond of love between them and they became the best of friends.” We knew from the beginning that our bond was rare. The love we have for each other is not like we have ever experienced with any other friend. We have such a deep desire to love each other and see the other fulfill and be all God has called the other to be. In other words, we love each other as ourselves. It’s a pure love that comes from Christ Himself to each other. We can compare this bond/friendship to a marriage. A husband is to love his wife as himself. “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies,” Eph. 5:28. David & Jonathan loved the same way “…Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” We are commanded to love as Christ has loved. The problem is we don’t see relationships like this today. In our society/culture, there is a scarcity in true intimacy. How is this kind of relationship established? It is by developing a heart and soul connection, which takes time, vulnerability and intimacy.
Just as marriage entails vulnerability, so does covenant friendship. Vulnerability is an opening of your heart, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Brene Brown states “to let ourselves be seen, deeply and vulnerably, by others; love others wholeheartedly even though there’s no guarantee of reciprocation; practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror; and believe we are enough.” It requires being honest with how we feel. The word vulnerability may be very scary to people because being vulnerable leaves room for hurt and rejection. Out of fear, many of us put up walls. However, this form of self-protection fails to allow relationships to flourish. When we choose to not be vulnerable, we also lose out on all the good life has to offer. Gay Gaddis, owner and founder of T3 (The Think Tank in Austin, Texas) says, “When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity.” We look for vulnerability in others, but lack the confidence to give it of ourselves. The misconception is that when we are vulnerable, it shows weakness. Conversely, when others give it, it shows boldness and courage. Vulnerability is risky, but a risk worth taking if we want to see relationships grow in greater intimacy.
Author Brené Brown says vulnerability is about showing up and being seen, which is tough to do when we’re terrified about what people might see or think. We become fueled by the fear of what others think or that voice whispering, “You’re not good enough.” “We end up hustling for our worthiness rather than standing in it. When we’ve attached our self-worth to what we produce or earn, being real gets dicey,” says Brown.
My sister and I had an immediate bond, so while vulnerability came natural and easy for us; it still takes on a variety of levels in our daily walk with it. We are learning that part of being vulnerable is letting the other person know what you need. When you let the expectations go and allow yourself to be open and vulnerable with the other person, you create a safe place and open the floor for honest communication and resolution. In John and Stasi Eldredeg’s book “Captivating,” Stasi explains that “The capacity of a woman’s heart for meaningful relationships is vast. There is no way your husband or children can ever provide the intimacy and relational satisfaction you need. A woman must have women friends.”
Covenant relationships not only require vulnerability, but also intimacy. Let me make clear that intimacy is not all sexual. Intimacy has been perverted by the world. The sexual part of intimacy is just a small part of it and exclusively for marriage between a man and woman. Let’s take what the world, society and our culture have told us about intimacy and see what it really means according to the word of God.
Dictionary.com defines intimacy as “showing a close union or combination of particles or elements: an intimate mixture.” Another definition I love by Shannon Schutte is “In-to-me-see,” where intimacy is more about a heart and soul connection.
Intimacy knows someone’s innermost being; to really be known. Isn’t that how Jesus wants us to know Him? He longs for intimacy with us. We are made in His image so we also have a longing for intimacy. It is in our nature to be intimate. If we are created in His image, then we also are inheritably intimate. Intimacy doesn’t just happen. It takes time and effort. If intimacy requires vulnerability and is a heart and soul connection, then we have to cultivate it. The problem is that most people think they don’t have time for this kind of friendship/relationship. That is one of our biggest problems. We are too busy investing our time and energy in things that aren’t as important as relationships. We have become a culture that is disconnected. We communicate through social media. We often regard our intimacy and relationship with Christ the same, disconnected. We have to take time to spend with Him to know his heart. How we build intimacy with Jesus is how we should implement in our earthly relationships. Our relationships should be a reflection of Jesus.
Intimacy is also physical touch. Human touch is essential and everyone needs it. We cannot survive without human touch. As stated in psychologytoday.com on the power of touch: “Touch is the first sense we acquire and the secret weapon in many a successful relationship.” Think about when women give birth to a child. One of the first things the Doctor does is put the baby on the mother’s chest-skin to skin. God gave us our sense’s, one of them being touch/feel. Studies have been done on the power of touch.
Research by the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute has revealed that human touch has wide-ranging physical and emotional benefits for people of all age groups. In the Institute’s experiments, touch lessened pain, improved pulmonary function, increased growth in infants, lowered blood glucose and improved immune function. Human touch is important for all ages, but by the time children reach their teen years, they receive only half as much touching as they did in the early part of their lives. Adults touch each other even less.
It’s sad to think that as we enter adulthood, we receive very little physical touch. Even in marriage, most of our physical touch is sexual, and in friendships, we don’t consider physical touch at all. Physical touch gives us a sense of comfort, safety, and connection. Why is it children can be seen holding hands and we don’t think anything abnormal? We actually think it’s cute. It’s because it’s innocent, natural and pure. Where did we lose that? At what age did we become embarrassed or told it was wrong? Why don’t we see grown women holding hands? Is it because we are afraid of what others will think? Women may say, “that’s just not me,” or “I’m not an intimate person.” Those are lies from the enemy. If we are made in Gods image and He is an intimate God, then aren’t we also? Could it be that many of us don’t consider ourselves intimate because it was never displayed to us? Many of us may not have been brought up in homes that showed affection. The way we learn how to become more intimate is first building that with God. Intimacy with Him must be established before we can learn to give it. Let’s take the time to cultivate intimacy with God so we can display to others what true Godly intimacy looks like. Our world is in desperate need of seeing this displayed!
This is why my sister and I have no problem from time to time grabbing each other’s hand, giving each other hugs or reaching over and just putting our hand on the others. The problem is that culture and society have distorted true intimacy. People think of touch and immediately think sexuality. In today’s culture, my sister and I seen holding hands are suggested lesbians. But God created us for human touch and we will not be ashamed to live and love the way He has called us to. It’s time our world and generation see friendship/relationship lived out in the love of Christ. God is restoring relationships the way He intended it from the beginning; for the body of Christ to be one with Him and one with each other; to love like He loves, flowing in perfect harmony and unison on one accord that is the love of Christ!