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Unfulfilled Intimacy: What Do I Do?

Remember that you are not alone; your ache is common to every human on earth.

Last summer I cried. For two weeks, when a fresh longing for companionship erupted in my heart, my emotions were laid waste with want. I ached for emotional and physical intimacy. When I slid into bed at night, my heart yearned for a man to replace my heating pad and a friend to fill my loneliness.

During this short season of intense longing, I journaled like a mad woman, slamming honest, raw emotions onto the page that I am sure would have bled red if they could.

Now, nine months later, my raging ache for intimacy has passed and the sun of God's faithfulness shines brightly once more. Without surprise, He has proven again that I am His precious daughter—single or married. And once more I have surrendered my desire for intimacy to Him which has renewed my strength and hope (Isaiah 40:31).

Now, as a celebration of His faithfulness, I've decided to journal again, but this time in response to my summer entries as if having a conversation with myself. My prayer is that if you are struggling with a longing for intimacy that has gone unanswered, that you'll remember that you are not alone; your ache is common to every human on earth, and that God loves you deeply.

June 18, 2008

It's six months after my 40th birthday. Loneliness looms over me like a cloud that is ready to rain. Today I went to the grocery store and looked at the left hand of everyone I walked by. Most wore wedding rings. "They had someone to hold last night," I thought. I ache for physical touch and emotional intimacy.

Every day that goes by past the "Big 4-0" I wonder more and more if I will ever marry. Should I resign myself to living like a nun the rest of my life? Will the single life be all I will know until I get to heaven? What do I do with my desires? Do I resign myself to the fact that I can have a career, but I can't have a man? Do I throw myself into my work to make up for longing?

Response to Self
Feb. 14, 2009

Dear Shana,

One of the most difficult things to do as time passes and the years roll by with what seems like greater speed is resting and trusting God's plan for your life, when you want to panic because you wonder if you'll ever find someone special.

Sometimes you joke that your uterus is an antique and that you're going to join a convent if you're not married by the time you are 50. Underneath your funny comments there is an ache, but do you want to marry more than you want God's plan for your life? Absolutely not. In fact, you have often told Him through tears that if I you have to choose between marriage and fulfilling His calling, that you choose His way. Do you see how this pleases God because this is an expression of faith? (Hebrews 11:6).

Remember that God loves you with agape love (the kind that has your best interest in mind—John 3:16) and that He can see the beginning of your life from the end (Psalm 139:16), therefore, He knows what is best for you. Dear daughter of God, rest in the present and do not fret about the future (Matthew 6:34), which will steal moments and days that you can't recover and make you unproductive. You would never want to finally meet your mate, then regret that you had wasted so much time complaining, would you?

June 21, 2008

Maybe it would be easier to deny my heart. After all, I know what it's like to shut down desire. I've done it before. I stop watching chick flicks because they prick at something deep inside of me. When I watch two lovers kiss, it's almost more than my heart can stand. I start watching dramas and documentaries. I focus my attention on the news, earning a living, following God's vision for my career, traveling and socializing with a wide circle of friends. These are the areas in which I feel competent. But in my most transparent and honest moments, I wonder if anyone will really see the beauty inside me.

Although I know my desires are God-given, I don't want to be desperate. So I put my longings in a closet and only let them out at night when no one can see. Like David, tears stain my pillow and I only allow small controlled bits of my ache to show in public.

Still, I ask myself, "Aren't we all just a little desperate?" Truth be told, yes, we are. People who say they are completely in control without any broken places have become detached from their hearts, which they left somewhere in the past when someone—or something—deeply wounded them.

Response to Self
February 15, 2009

Dear Shana,

Remember that the grief, desperation and longing that you sometimes feel are not bad. Like passion, when you will allow it, all three have the power to move you from passivity to action, from not leaning on God to crying out to Him, "Lord, help me!" In this, you glorify God, strengthen your resolve, and show others that He indeed, is real. Remember to turn to Christ in the middle of your grief and let Him bear your burdens as He has promised to do (1 Peter 5:7; Matthew 11:28).

Do you remember that one of your favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you"?

This verse shows that what you think about and focus on will affect how you feel, specifically that your thoughts will affect your level of peace. If you focus on not having a mate, complain about how life is not good because you are single, then you will miss out on the peace that could be yours and you'll live in emotional torment. Also, others will miss out on the joy you could give to them because you'll be self absorbed. However, if you focus (keep your mind "stayed") on the goodness of God and the truth that He is trustworthy—no matter your marital status, you will experience peace and others will be blessed.

Remember that your life is not all about you.

A true test of spirituality, trust and belief in God is to have peace within while there is none without (in your circumstances), to usher the kingdom of God into your heart through the steady, consistent concentration on the faithfulness of God.

Keep in mind that truly trusting God means trusting Him without an agenda, whether He brings you a mate or not. Be willing to do whatever He asks of you, because this is what He has called you to, to be a faithful servant. He is in on the throne of your life; you are not.

June 22, 2008

Sometimes I hurts that I've been labeled a "weirdo" by some and rejected by men because of my non-sexual lifestyle. Even Hollywood produced a movie portraying a virgin as an idiot without a brain, charisma or sex-appeal. I'm confident that I have all of the above, but sadly, many men (even self-proclaimed Christians), have swallowed the lies of our society about sex. After discussing my values, one man asked me, "What's wrong with you?" and even one man once said, "You're not normal. I don't know one woman your age who isn't sexually active."

Still, I realize there is absolutely no other way because I love God desperately. If I decide to give in to the ways of the world, I would kill my heart and wound my relationship with Christ, the One I love most. To become sexually intimate with a man without being married would not only be disobedient to God's Word, but it would be like committing emotional—and spiritual—suicide.

Response to Self
Feb. 16, 2009

Dear Shana,

In this world, right has been labeled wrong and wrong has been labeled right. Just because others have sometimes labeled you "weird" does not make it so. Even Jesus was ridiculed for following His Father's plan. Do you see how your obedience is pleasing to your Lord?

Remember to focus not on what is temporal, but on what is eternal, because the things that you can see are passing away (2 Cor. 4:18). One day, you will stand before your Lord, the only One you have to please. Remember that you are living your life for an audience of One and not for the approval of others. Those who have bought into the lies of the Evil One who would tempt them to go the way of the world lose. But you, you are blessed, and you are like a vine planted by streams of living water (Psalms 1:3) because you have guarded your heart, which is the wellspring of life (Prov.4:23).

Dear daughter of God, hang tight to hope and keep trusting your Lord, the one who loves you more and better than any man ever could.

 

 
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