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Podcast: Intimacy, What is it?

What is intimacy? Some say sex, some it’s more. What is it? What if I am single? What about when I am married? It’s about fostering something bigger, healthier, an authentic connection.

Join Josh and Kit as they talk through that longing that we all have to connect fully. The desire to truly be seen.

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Kit 0:07
I think it’s interesting that when I think about my life, and you know, I can sit back and I can look at it and even experienced it as this is a good life. I have good friends, I have a good marriage. I have a good relationship with my kids. And I’m grateful. And also sometimes I’m lonely. And I don’t always know what to do with that. Where’s that coming from? What’s that about?

Josh 0:53
Yeah. Yeah, welcome back, listeners. Kid Elmer Josh Glazer. Talking today, we wanted to talk about a couple things, we actually sat down and we said, we want to talk about intimacy. Because we people we work with here in our own lives, we certainly recognize there’s a lot of confusion about what intimacy is what it’s about what it’s for, where we get it, do we need it? And I think is we’re honest about our longing for intimacy. kit, what you just shared rings true for a lot of people the sense of the depth of my longing, the strength of my longing, is not always met, isn’t met in all the ways I want. It’s it’s a confounding difficult thing. When we started doing this podcast over a year ago now, one of our first the first episodes was our very first episode, I think, was intimacy is the starting and ending point. We’re basically and this one we’re about as human beings, every single person on the planet begins because of an intimate act between a man and a woman. However, however good that intimacy was, that’s where they are beginning is going back even further that to Genesis, and Genesis one God declares, and day sex, he says, Let us create mankind in our image, male and female, he created them. We are created from God’s intimacy, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, how that works is a mystery. But nonetheless, that’s our starting point. And we look forward to where we’re headed, and what we long for, whether in this life longing for good friends, a marriage, maybe somebody who knows me, loves me, etc, etc. Or even beyond this life to the next life, when we see Jesus face to face, and we come home. Finally, we’re longing for intimacy is the starting point. So it’s a fitting a year later that we come back to this. But let’s talk about it in a way that really kind of, you know, puts the, our feet on the ground and what where do we get mixed up about intimacy? And what does it mean? It doesn’t mean so kit. This was your idea to talk about what what are some of the the problems or the struggles of intimacy that we wanted to get after?

Kit 2:52
Well, one of the things that we were talking about that was really interesting, before we started recording was this idea of what does intimacy mean? And I said, Gosh, I think it’s really, I don’t think about it apart, really, from some kind of sexual interaction. And of course, that’s not what it means, like the word itself, the word itself, you know, like I was, we were intimate. That means we we had, we made love, we had sex and and yet, that’s not what the word means. And so I think our culture has, I don’t think I’m alone in that maybe some people think of it differently. But I think a lot of us think of it that way. And so we’ve really been, it’s kind of been reduced to this. It has to look like this for us to have intimacy. And I really think that’s unfortunate, because we can have intimacy in so many different ways in different relationships. And that’s one of the things we were talking about, too. You know, there’s emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, physical, spiritual, recreational, and sexual and those things. You know, all of those things are ways to be intimate with each other. So it’d be good. I think it was good for me to kind of think about that in context of my marriage, in, in friendships. So it’s just good to talk about that. What does that mean? We live in that fullness, intimacy with God, what does that mean? How does that affect our relationships?

Josh 4:17
Yeah. One thing that comes to mind as you’re talking is, is that reality that I think for a lot of us who have wrestled with sexual issues, sexual sins, sexual compulsivity, there’s this. There’s an avenue where we can approach those things. It’s not just about cutting something out, you know, it’s not about stopping something. It is about fostering something bigger, something different, something healthier. And I think when we begin to have a larger context for what intimacy is, it opens some doors for us to say, you know what, right now, it’s not really sex that I’m after. As much as a real connection with another human being who who knows me and cares about me. Where can I get that? Where can I pursue that? Certainly, you know, whether it’s retirement married or single here, but I think, you know, within marriage, if there’s confusion about that, then one spouse can always be kind of pursuing sex. And, and when that was a really after is, is an emotional connection or relational connection. And then as a single person, I think a single can, who’s feeling sexual temptation? Can Can No, they’re, what can I do at this temptation? Aside from just run away from the temptation? Well, I can I can actually pick up the phone and try to get to a good friend. And

Kit 5:31
I think that’s such a good point. You know, we’ve talked a lot about this idea of how we’re raised how we’re formed as children, things that we come to believe or as, you know, middle schoolers, high schoolers, young adults, and so I think you had your finger on the pulse of something for me that I really, my searching for intimacy, for a lot of my life was, was not about sex, even though it just it actually, unfortunately, acted out that way. And appropriately, but what I was really looking for was all the rest. And so, you know, I think if if we’re kind of saturated in our culture, with this idea that intimacy is sex, and that’s going to be something around that kind of love. And sex is going to give you what you need, then you miss out on all these other things. Yeah. And so in my marriage now, you know, we talk about that now. But you know, what, that’s been 3233 years into it. You know, we’re even now unpacking like, Well, how do we spend time emotionally connecting, intellectually connecting, let’s read a book together, let’s talk about it. Let’s actually explore, my husband is really honest with about the fact that he, it’s a little bit harder for him to get in touch with the emotions, and he’s peonies wants to work on that. And so like, you know, we, how do we expand this intimacy idea in all of our relationships, so we’re not missing out. So

Josh 6:58
so I can hear some of our listeners pushing back and things were saying and going, like, Alright, all well and good for you, you both married, so even if you can pursue these kinds of intimacy, yeah, you still you can still have sex, you know, it’s right. It’s when I’m single, or I’m, you know, I’ve never been married, or I’m divorced, or, or what, you know, whatever the situation is, I, you know, my wife and I can’t have sex, my husband, I can’t have sex right now. And so I’m just longing for that, that kind of touch. And we just we want to, let me just say out loud, like, the the longing, the longing for touch, the ache that we feel in our bodies for touch, or to be held, is a good longing, the desire for sexual intimacy is a really good, godly desire. So we’re not trying to push that aside and say, you know, oh, yeah, you can get that completely fulfilled in different ways. We’re just we are saying that these overlap these different kinds of intimacy, intimacy, in general, is a larger category than just sex. And I

Kit 7:50
think it’s so important to acknowledge that, you know, I really appreciate you say that, because I’m not single, and I haven’t been single for a long time, and I want to understand and, and think about and care about that longing, that that single people have. And I also know, unfortunately, a lot of married people are not satisfied, right? Like, whatever is happening physically or sexually in their marriage is sometimes unsatisfying, or maybe even really, really destructive. Right? So it is, it’s a delicate issue. And, and one that can elude us in in many different ways.

Josh 8:32
When I think there, you put your finger on something else, which is, there, there are, there’s the form of intimacy in as many different, you know, versions, like it’s a form of intimacy to share with another person, what I’m feeling, it’s a form of intimacy, to have to physically have sex, another person, it’s a form of intimacy, to hold hands. But those forms do not equate with intimacy. They themselves are not intimacy, they’re, they’re the form of it. For two people to hold hands, you can see him to be walking down the street holding hands, where the one is, you know, grabbing other person’s hand and dragging them along. Well, that’s a form but that’s not intimacy that we’re talking about. And we know the difference. It’s, you know, there’s a difference and I think with so within marriage within a sexual relationship and marriage, there can be the form the physical act of sex without true sexual intimacy. Yeah, and

Kit 9:24
probably more than we would. We would believe. Yeah, it’s a it eludes us.

Josh 9:30
Yeah. When the definition I heard for intimacy years ago, is intimacy is into me, you see. Yeah. And the, the undercurrent of that of the spirit of that is not just do you see me there, but you you, you honor what you see you like what you see you value you hold in esteem. Yeah, what you see. Yeah, and so you know, seeing another person’s naked body. Again, that’s a form, the form of intimacy, the outward kind of expression, but but to really See, honor value. That’s it. That’s that’s the intimacy we’re talking about the same with, you know, I think you and I both know the people sometimes, and I’ve been in the guilty party in the sometimes where I’m sharing emotions with somebody. And it’s not really, it’s not an intimate moment, it’s not an intimate situation. There’s not the trust and the honor that’s there. Sometimes we have shared things with people and I walk away and go, why they had no, they don’t know me, I don’t, that’s not a person, I trusted that information. I wish I hadn’t shared it, or vice versa, or somebody I don’t know real well, you know, and not in a setting like regeneration, but maybe just off the street, you know, sharing something, I think, Oh, you know, that’s not the place for that. So, yeah, intimacy is it is this delicate thing. That good,

Kit 10:44
I think we have expectations, too, you know, that. And we, we’ve talked about this some before, but you know, we, because we grow up with all these songs, and all these movies, and, you know, whatever, you know, we’re we’re looking to, to have all these things look a certain way. And, and, and we think that we’re going to get them and when we don’t, then we’re disappointed, there’s something wrong with my life, there’s something wrong with me. And in reality, you know, the things that we look to, like, it’s good and fine to hope and want intimacy with friends and spouses. But usually, we’re looking for way too much. Yeah, you know, usually we’re putting so much pressure on the relationship. And you know, that, that deep sense of, I’m loved, and I’m okay, and I’m seeing and honored, has to come from God, or we will always be asking people to do more than they could ever do for us,

Josh 11:45
right. And there. And when we get into that place that we are in, we’re in dangerous territory, for a lot of reasons, I think. So that, so let’s just name it this way. That desire. So intimacy is into me, you see that mean in a really positive way. So that desire to be seen and honored, valued, loved, as we’re seeing to be truly seen, naked and unashamed. That’s a good God given desire. And when that goes sideways, or when we direct that desire, to this person in the wrong context, or to this group of people or to this person too soon, or to be fulfilled completely in this person, or these people, then then what we’ve done is we’ve taken that desire, which is a good God given desire, and we’ve we’ve misplaced it, we’ve, we’ve aimed it in the wrong direction, or in the wrong place. And what happens there, I think, then, we’re either set up for disappointment. And that’s kind of best case scenario, or we end up using other people for the sense of intimacy, that but it’s really a false intimacy that they can give us. And I think that even when Jesus talks about the shepherds feeding off the sheep, I think in some ways that one of the situations that can happen is where a leader who is longing to be seen and loved, has a platform and is accumulating followers, but really what they’re after is, I just really, I just really need to be close to somebody, and they end up kind of using their platform to try to meet that need. And what we’re getting at here is that ultimately, and this is gonna sound so Christian cliche. So we’re gonna unpack it a little bit, because we want to be real about this. Ultimately, our desire for intimacy has to be filled has to begin and end with God Himself. Yeah. So I said, you know, that first podcast way back when and reminded us of this time that, you know, intimacy is the beginning and ending point. And it really, it doesn’t, you know, the genesis of every person is that intimate Act of, of a mom and a dad. But the reality is that that mom and the dad on their own apart from God cannot produce life we are knit together in our mother’s womb is by by God. I mean, it’s his design. He’s the one who knew us and plant trust before the foundation, the earth. And what we’re really longing for is intimacy, that intimate union with him. Yeah. All right. So bring that back down to earth, because Okay, oh, yeah. You know, credit for that a million times. I go to church every Sunday,

Unknown Speaker 14:08
you know, is that still lonely as heck? Yeah.

Kit 14:10
Yeah. And when people say, Okay, all right, I’m open. I got, you know, I’m open, you know, let me have that intimacy with you. What is that? What? How do I do that? Not feeling it? I’m asking for it. Not feeling it? Yeah. You know,

Josh 14:23
what do you do with that? Can

Kit 14:23
you do with that?

Josh 14:25
No, I’m asking you. So that’s in the podcast. I don’t know what to do with that. You know, I so I don’t have an easy

Kit 14:35
isn’t it isn’t a Oh, here’s the answer. But it is a great question. Yeah. It’s a great thing to be aware of, and to ask about in your own life and in your own relationship with God.

Josh 14:46
So I want to share two things. One is a story just to be honest, and one is a an anecdote or an idea about this that I’ve got from Christopher West. The story is this. I’ve been going through a very dry time, spiritually. Life has been very busy. Good, good stuff happening, but just a dry spiritual season. And I found myself for the last several years, many times in my prayer life hitting times where I’m like, Lorna, I miss you, I miss you. And I have a ton of connection with him. And I feel renewed and invigorated Oh, upswing, and then I’m like, oh, Lord, where, you know, just a lot of that. And these last several years for me. And recently, I went on a run hadn’t been running, especially out in the woods, I went for a run in the woods and had some worship music playing my headphones. And it was such an intimate time with God, it was so so good. And when I got back, the song that was playing my back was this beautiful worship song. I think it’s a Bethel song. And there’s a line in it that says, You didn’t have to come. Or you don’t have to come, but you always do. And it’s that kind of call it to God. And it’s just, and then the line switches to you don’t have to come but you wanted to. And I was just I was singing from my heart. I’d felt God’s presence. It was just so sweet. Wonderful. Yeah. Thank you, Lord for this. Yeah. And this morning, I’m getting out of bed. I’m leaving the house. And what was that song? What was I feeling? What was happening that like, it felt so distant? Yes, yes.

Kit 16:07
And it does. And that’s life. And so I think one of the things that’s really important for me, is that I, I know that if I expect I’m going to have like, moment after moment after moment like that with God every day, all day long, I’m going to be disappointed I, it is a mixed bag, there are going to be times when we’re going to be close to God. And there’s going to be times when we feel like we’re not life is busy, or, or hard or sad. And so for me, it’s really helpful to be like, Okay, well, here’s, that was really beautiful. And then the next day, if I don’t feel it, okay, this is one of those moments when I’m not going to feel it. And then I’m not quite so devastated. Like, oh, something’s wrong, you know, there are going to be times of closeness. That’s true friendships, marriage, everything. And with God, it’s true to and we we don’t give up.

Josh 16:58
Right. And that’s, that’s where the, that’s the crux in my mind. Like, I think if, if we experienced those downtime, so there’s distinct times of those times that don’t work, where our feelings don’t, you know, we don’t feel close, we don’t feel intimate, whether it’s in a marriage or friendship, or a mentor relationship or a relationship with God, we don’t feel that if at that point, we say, it’s not worth it, it doesn’t happen. It’s all fake. It’s a ruse. Then then we end up in this territory of making agreements about God’s closeness or distance or faithfulness. And, and, and then I think we can, what we can tend to do in a defensive posture is tend to close up that desire for intimacy. Yes,

Kit 17:38
and that’s a mistake and get angry and disappointed. You

Josh 17:41
know, if God’s you know, if it’s if it feels like this, sometimes that I’m just not even gonna go there, I’m going to assume that God doesn’t want this mistake on for two reasons. One, because we need him, we need intimacy with God, and we need intimacy with others. Secondly, and I, I believe this wholeheartedly, he wants intimacy with us. He was so listener with you. And so in any way that you close yourself off from intimacy with him, or I closed myself off in intimacy with him, because it just gets tough. Sometimes. He feels the longing, he wants to be close to us. That doesn’t mean that God needs us in some kind of, you know, he’s, he won’t, he’ll cease to exist without us. But you know, in Hosea, God describes longing for his people, like a mother whose breasts are longing to nurse their baby. And in any mom who’s who’s gone a long time between nursing the baby, it’s, it’s a painful long, you know, why did God use that illustration, I think, to be intimate to give a very intimate illustration of you guys. You know, you can’t understand this for me. But what I’m trying to communicate to you in a way that you do understand is I long for you, and that gives me hope. So the Christopher West idea here, and it’s not original to him, but I learned from him is, is the idea of taking that ache, that longing for intimacy, whether it’s a longing for sexual intimacy with another person, whether it’s a longing for intimacy with God, whether it’s an emotional intimacy or a relational intimacy, taking that ache and and turning that into a prayer, and even maybe even acknowledging or recognizing that the ache itself, if we’ll let it be, is a prayer, it is our flesh, crying out for you the living God to put it in, in David’s words, or it’s our heart crying out for you the living God. I think what that helps me to do is to redirect disappointed with other people, or, or, you know, the longing for this or that kind of intimacy in this moment, and direct it to the one who has made all of those things and it keeps me kind of rightly postured to other people, and to God and I think it also keeps that kind of hopeful expectation or anticipation that he is coming, you know, Come, Lord Jesus, come here, your bride says come. And

Kit 20:04
what I like about that, too, is that’s a very honest, uncomplicated response to a very deep need. And I think sometimes when we grew up in the church, well intentioned, we think why I need to, I need to memorize a scripture, I need to read my Bible more, I need to, you know, there’s all this sense of burden and stress about I’m not being a good enough Christian, I’m not doing the things I should do. And I hear that in my own life. And I hear that all the time from people and that’s,

Josh 20:31
that’s the form those are good things. It’s the form of intimacy, but if done from that posture of like, I gotta, gotta gotta gotta get it well, then it’s not the real intimacy. Yeah.

Kit 20:40
And I think that’s what we fall into a lot of the time and, and then of course, we’re disappointed because it doesn’t work. And so just the invitation to people who are listening, like, have a sense of freedom, about what this looks like to connect with God, like, like, what do you enjoy doing? What do you enjoy doing? bring God into it, sit outside, like, or, and just have some quiet, or sit in a room that you really enjoy being in and invite God into it? And whatever way that looks like? What are your flowers garden? I don’t know. I’m trying to think of all kinds of things that people like to do that are different than what I like to do. And just invite God into it. Because I think sometimes when we do the other prescriptive stuff, it really aggravates it.

Josh 21:25
Yeah, it can. Yeah. And I think that, you know, we began by one of the things we started by saying was that there’s so many different kinds of intimacy. Yeah. And I think so if we, if we think about all of creation, all the God has made, you know, the water, the seas, the mountains, the deserts, the the flowers, that huge, massive icebergs and the tiny, tiny little insects with intricate designs and their wings, like, the spectrum of those things, I think, are all his invitations to, you know, almost infinite means of connecting with him because he so desires and longs for intimacy with us. So why did I close this with this, and I’m not gonna try to wrap this up in any bow, but I’m gonna pray really, authentically, from my own heart about longing for God and instant about you listeners, and you can’t just pray along and invite him. So, Lord, I want to simply pray that way. God, so listeners, wherever you might be longing for intimacy right now, whether you’re most aware of it, or it’s most acute in relation to another person, or a specific aspect of intimacy, relational, sexual, emotional, intellectual, eccentric cetera, wherever you’re most aware of your kind of that acute desire, longing need for intimacy, when you just be there in that moment, so Lord, for me, I feel that Lord and you know where I feel it and I just want to take that ache, Lord, that longing that need that desire, it’s it’s a, so yell inside of me, Lord, Lord, I don’t shut it down. I want to open it up and turn it to you as a prayer. My flesh, my heart, my mind, cries out for you, a living God. Enter into that place, Lord those places. We ask these things with hope, looking to you and you alone, in the name of the Father and Son, Holy Spirit.

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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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