One of the most awkward things about my job is describing it to someone. I really don’t like answering the question, “What do you do for work?” I’m never quite sure how to explain to a stranger that I run a Christian ministry focused on sexuality. About five years ago, a young woman helped give me the perfect descriptive words. She said, “Thank you for helping me make sense of God and sex.”
I guess that’s what I do.
This summer, Authentic Intimacy will celebrate its tenth birthday. Nearly a decade ago, I said yes to God’s invitation to step into this space. Frankly, I didn’t know exactly what I was saying yes to. Had I known at the time, I may have lacked the courage.
The busyness and stress of ministry sometimes mutes the reason I said yes in the first place. When times are difficult, it forces me to ask myself why I am still invested in this work. It all comes down to this: I want you to intimately know God.
Many Christians approach sexual issues as if they are interesting topics for discussion or debate. Is God OK with gay marriage? What does the Bible say about gender dysphoria, sex toys, or masturbation?
Sexual struggles are deeply personal, which is why “debates” on these topics can trigger so much anger and fear. I’ve rarely met someone who isn’t wrestling through the shame of sexual sin, the angst of unmet desires, or the pain of sexual harm. Theology means very little if it can’t reach into the most personal and excruciating crevices of our hearts.
Our sexuality is not an isolated part of who we are, but an integrated aspect of what it means to be created in God’s image and loved by Him. Our sexual questions and pain points connect with our deepest longings and fears. It’s impossible to grapple with our sexuality without also confronting our foundational beliefs about God. Is He good? Is He trustworthy? Does He see me?
When you are wrestling with sexual pain or confusion, you are also wrestling with challenges of faith. How does a relationship with the living God intersect with the real-life questions that keep you up at night? This is why I love the work God has given us at Authentic Intimacy.
Throughout the past decade, we’ve witnessed a flurry of people turning away from faith in Jesus Christ (some high profile leaders and countless anonymous others), many because of unanswered questions or shallow answers related to sexuality. When sex becomes confusing, God becomes confusing.
Paul warned the Philippian church to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” He encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight, holding on to the faith and good conscience, which some have rejected and thereby shipwrecked their faith.” In 2022, many of us cannot work out our salvation without honestly wrestling with the integration of God and sexuality.
Friend, as you engage with this ministry, through the podcast, book studies, webinars and more, I pray that you will experience God’s heart for you. His design for gender and sexuality are good. His Word is a guiding light in a dark world. His Spirit is a comforter and counselor.
For many of us, sexuality will not be a neutral aspect of our relationship with God. It will either become something that drives you further away because of doubt and shame, or a journey that invites you to trust Him, even in the most intimate facet of your life.
Want to learn more? Hear Juli and her guests tackle difficult questions about sexuality, justice, and God's goodness in our series "Making Sense of God & Sex" on "Java with Juli." It's happening throughout the month of February. Subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or in your favorite podcast app.
Photo by Maria Shanina on Unsplash