by Jason Peaks
I don’t think I have come across a more daunting and terrifying word in my life. It’s one of those words chock full of various meanings and allusions. I mean the moment someone says “intimacy,” we all have a thought or a picture come to mind. “Sexual relations” is probably the term most often connected to intimacy in our culture. When I polled a number of guys about the word “intimacy,” almost every one of them asked if I meant sexual relations when used the word.
I honestly do not immediately think of this word in relationship to sexuality. Maybe it is because I have heard the word used in the church so consistently. It’s one of those words slipping into the spiritual vernacular of the Christian millennial. “Intimacy with Jesus is the most important thing.” “Your whole Christian life is about intimacy.” “I just really want an intimate relationship with Jesus.” “I want the Lord to know me intimately and me to know him in the same way.” All of these sentences I have heard from various church leaders, students at the school I am employed, and other congregants of my local church. The word "intimacy," is overused and under-explained.
And every single time I hear the word intimacy - I cringe. I shut off. I check out. It’s probably because I would prefer to neglect a word which I feel incompetent to use. Or it could be because in my heart of hearts, I genuinely want deep meaningful relationship with others and with God, and that always seems tied to intimacy. Or maybe it is a struggle to think of Bible verses connected to the word. It’s not that blatant in the Scriptures. But it could just simply be that I haven’t a clue what that word really means. I mean I do sorta, but I really don’t. And I think most of us are in that boat.
When I hear the word, “intimacy” used (or perhaps misused), I do oddly find it alluring. I unintentionally have a deep curiosity about this concept. I have learned from very early in my Christian life is that intimacy and knowledge go hand in hand. I have heard Hebrew and Greek words masterfully unpacked to express the complexity of how we know each other and how we know God. But then my curiosity is thwarted. I find myself getting awkward thinking of relationship with others and with God. How am I supposed to get all intimate with someone? Do I have to get in their face? Do I have to be naked? Is it going to be awkward? I guess that’s something I equate with the word intimacy - it's awkward. But I really don’t want it to be. I really just want to understand it. But my problem is people use the word as if we all have some powerful revelation about what it actually means.
The truth (or mystery) is; what does it even mean?
So I decided to take on a 40 day journey to understanding intimacy. And I’d like to invite you to join me on my most “rigorous search.” I plan on sharing what I learn and discover over the next few weeks. I am going to delve into as much as I can about the word, the definition, the use, the history, the context the etymology, the psychology, the theology, etc. The goal is to have a better response to the word, “intimacy” by Easter. I’ve purchased a book or two, I have my researching hat on, and I plan to get to the point where "intimacy" is a word I no longer fear.