Recently, I have been thinking about this issue a lot. As some of you know, this is an issue which is very personal for me, and very close to my heart. I have read some reviews of books which were liberal (or pro) in the subject, and some which were more conservative in their viewpoints. I am not writing this as an essay because I am not a theologian, not an apologist, not a scholar. I am writing about same-sex attraction through the eyes of someone who struggles with this everyday, who is a mere Christian trying to live a life pleasing to God. This is merely my experiences in bullet points.
1. We are born in a fallen world.
We are made in God’s image, but the fall of man meant that we are broken and the world is infected with sin and death. Our bodies, minds and hearts are therefore disoriented and broken. We sin, every one of us, and we who experience same-sex attraction are no different.
But when Jesus came to rescue us, He broke the bond that sin has over us. We still experience sinful desires and temptations because we are still living in a fallen world, but we received the spirit of God which gave us the grace and the strength to flee from temptation.
2. Our sacrifices are worth it.
We live in an egoistic society. People can argue all they want, but the rise of social media is all about the individual, how to self-market and how to make me happy. People have always told me that if same-sex relationships are making people fall in love and happy, how can it be wrong? How can happiness be wrong?
It really depends on whose happiness we are talking about. If we really want to please God, we should put His happiness before our own. The Christian life is not an easy road. It is full of suffering, of obstacles, and of sacrifices. Someone once told me that God is not really interested in our comfort. We do not grow by sitting in our comfort zone. We need to make sacrifices if we want to live a life pleasing to God or be more Christ-like. It will be painful but think about the hope of the new heaven and earth where all brokenness will be gone and we will live with God, that makes all the sacrifices and the giving up of temptation worth the pain.
3. Desires does not mean to take action.
I am satisfied that I have these desires that I cannot change or choose. However, I also know that it is not the desires that defines us, it is the responds to these desires that defines us. We can either give into our desires and let our emotions control our lives, or we can learn to manage them so we can raise above our desires and be more Christ-like.
1. Kitchen floor moments
As I try to live in a way that is pleasing to God, not all is daisies and sunshines. There are moments where I hit the kitchen floor, hide my face between my knees and cry about my struggles with same-sex attraction. These moments are the hardest, knowing that they may never go away and that I will never act upon them. It is painful and hard, and there are times when I wanted to give up Christianity just so I can satisfy my own desires. Yet, I cannot be so selfish and leave behind all that I have preserved just so I can be temporarily happy.
2. Healing may not come in this lifetime.
Sometimes, I struggle with the fear that I will need to struggle with this temptation all my life. Sometimes, I don’t know if I can hold off for a lifetime. But I am always reminded of 1 Corinthians where it says that God will never give us temptations more than what we can bear, and when He does, He will provide a way out. He will be with us, helping us to manage this temptation.
3. Rejection and ridicule
I am not talking about the Christian community. Actually, in this day and age, I am actually afraid of other people ridiculing me about my ways of celibacy, and telling me that it is wrong. I fear somewhat rejection from the world because they think of something different to my opinion. So obviously, my opinions are wrong. But God is worth the persecution because Jesus is counter-culture. I struggle but I am sure that God’s will in my life is better than the world’s ways.
1. Faith in God
The one thing that keeps me going is my faith that God is worth all the suffering of this life. There is no trick to it, just knowing that He will never forsake me.
2. Community in the body of Christ
Jesus came to save everyone. There is the church, the body of Christ, which supports and encourages us in our Christian walk. We cannot do it alone, and it is these people that helped me to get through the daily struggles, to be there alongside me and to love me as a Christian sister.
3. Realigning my will to God’s will.
One important thing that I will always try to focus on is realigning my will, the purpose of my life, to God’s will. His will is better and bigger, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. But I can’t do it on my own desires. That will will eventually fade away, but God’s will will never be gone and He will give us more than what we deserve. It is because of His grace that I am here, and it is His will that I want to live out.
I hope this has been somewhat insight for you. This struggle has taught me that I am dependent on God’s grace but I also need to be willing to take up my cross to follow Jesus. It will be a long and painful journey, but God is with me and He gave me the precious gift of friendship to help me through the rock bottom points of my life.
I have this image in my head of a city where I am nobody, where no one knows me, the real me, and I can pretend to be someone else, someone normal.
I have this image in my head where I have a conversation with myself and it ends in me trying to strangle myself to death.
I have this image in my head where I do or say something stupid to someone I really care about, and they get angry at me for the repetiton of my actions, how I am depressed, how I am annoying them, how I am a burden, how I am taking too much of their time, how I am selfish and only thinks of my own problems. So they just leave.
I have this image where my emotions are so bottled up that they eventually explode like a volcano and I break into pieces.
I have this image in my head that I should not care, that nothing is worth it anymore and I should just quit.
I have this image in my head when Jesus returns to judge, I am so focused on my faults, weaknesses and mistakes that I don’t see grace.
How am I so blind, sending myself into a whirlwind of destructive behavior and thoughts that I can not see what God had done for me? I felt like grace had rejected me and love keeps leaving because I am not good enough. How wrong have I been? How much repentance do I need?
There is this vivid image that pops up in my head that I keep playing over and over again. It is the idea that there are people who comes up to the coffin at my own funeral, if I had one, and to tell me that they are sorry that they couldn’t save me. This image is complimented with another that involves my family and friends finding my suicide note and realised that they have completely missed the signs of which I gave out to stop me from taking my own life.
I had always wondered and reflected on the journey which I came to be here at this place and at this time. There were countless moments which I feared that ending my life would be much easier than living it. is it really a coward’s way out? I had convinced myself that sometimes, just the fantasy of contemplating it is enough.
Yet, there was something in me that tells me about a hope. A hope that is sure and perfect, but one that cannot be met if I had not lived long enough for it. How can I not push through each and every moment so I can see that hope, that living itself is worth the sacrifices. Jesus was the atonong sacrifice that He had made for my life. He exchanged sin and death with His flesh and blood. The sure hope that one day, He will return to bring the promise into its full plan.
When we desire that death seems like a better option than life, the sacrifice of that brings us perservance to keep on living, not for ourselves, but for God, for His will and for His glory. It is not about us. We were bought at a price. It is about submitting to God’s will and to allow Him to work in us, to change us, and to bring about the joy to go on living for Him. It will be painful and there will be hurt emotions and periods, but to look forward to the day when there will be no more tears and no more suffering, how precious will we be knowing that we perserved through to the end.
I know I should be writing the kids’ lesson, but I’ve hit a writer’s block on that. Instead, I had a minor revelation today that I thought I would share in case it may help others finding solutions and hope.
I am an ovethinker. I do this a lot, especially after or before an event or situation happens. I like run scenarios in my head and come up with the worst scenario cases. I also tend to fantasise about how other people react to situations, and how they may perceive me. Something my counsellor told me today was interesting. It seems that because I haven’t found my voice heard within the environment in which I grew up in, and how I have learnt to surpress the processing of my emotions, including acknowledging them, has led my cognitive thinking process to run overtime.
One point she made was about how we tend to notice and acknowledge our physical body, sometimes our mental state, but rately would actually become self-aware of our emotions and what causes them. If we don’t acknowledge the physical and mental aspects of our emotions, we don’t learn to understand the triggers for the emotions. Then one of two extremes tend to happen. One is letting emotions control over our actions and thoughts, as we ignore the reasons behind emotions, we let them run wild without responsibility towards our actions and thoughts. The second is surpressing them completely. This will ultimately lead to an outburst of emotions, which can explode and causes danger.
Interestingly, both scenarios meant for emotions to take control over us, instead of us controlling them. I look at my own example in my depression. A part of me really wanted help and support, but a huge part of me said to myself that I am not worth it, or I would be guilty to ask for help. In turn, when people ask me how I am, I don’t have any words to describe my emotions. It turns into suicidal thoughts in the end because the feelings have been surpressed for so long that it comes out on a dangerous level.
In order to move forward, I need to learn to notice the emotions I feel, both mentally and physically, and learn to be vulnerable to my emotions. I need to learn to distinguish and acknowledge the triggers of my emotions so I can understand what make me feel in a particular. This will allow me have better control over my emotions. It is okay to feel and to have emotions, but we are responsible for our reactions, responses and actions to them. To have a better understanding of the way that God made me will help me to learn the emotions that I have and how to live them in a godly and Christ-like way.
Here is the secret. Over the past few months, I have developed a crush or feelings towards someone. On the surface, that seems like a perfectly good thing, but throw in my faith and I have a “forbidden love” thing going for me. The fact is, I had grown so accustomed to having her in my life as a close friend that I don’t want to ruin this intimate friendship that I had forged.
The truth is, she had been very graceful in dealing with me that makes me respect her more and value her friendship more. I had gotten into a perfectly comfortable mindset now, but when I heard she was going on holidays, there was a sense of depression and sadness that I felt. It is not because I don’t want her to go on vacation, because I do and I know that she need it, it was more that I realised that my feelings for her is still present in my life. I know that I will not take any action to fulfill my emotions or desires, but sometimes, when I think about not being able to go on holidays with her without realising my own temptations, those are the times that provide me with “kitchen floor moments”.
I know some of you, those who are not Christian, will tell me there is nothing wrong with my feelings, that I was born that way. But if you knew me, and knew that I value my relationship with God more than anything else in the world, you may learn the battles that I face daily. It is not my will that matters, but God’s purpose in my life. The sacrifices of this world will be difficult and painful, but it is worth it. Somedays, I still go through the emotions of life, sometimes griefing for a love unrequited, but I know that God gives me the temptations that I can bear, or provides me with a way to fight them.
I am grateful for that she had not cowered away from me and had shown me what compassion and grace from God really means. As time passes, I am beginning to learn to fix my eyes first and foremost on Christ and the cross that He bore for us, and everything else will be given to us by God’s will.
In the eyes of the world, we go through life trying to find things that make us happy, accepted, respected, valued and loved.
I have this roommate. She’s been here with me for about 6 months now. One day, there was a knock on the door and when I opened it, she showed up at my doorsteps and dragged her huge luggage into my bedroom. Before I had a chance to respond, she moved in next to me on the bed.
At first, she just made small talk, but then got herself attached to me. She started to disturb me in my sleep and I wake up 2 or 3 times during the night. She follows me around all the time, and when I had an hour by myself finally, she finds me and talks to me. She loves sarcasm, loves to judge and criticise my weaknesses until I know them off by heart. She constantly looks over my shoulder whenever I engage in something and I end up leaving because of the anxiety she puts on me.
It is not all bad, I tell myself. She does go on small vacations. Sometimes for a day, sometimes for several days. On those days, I am grateful for the breather I get and I enjoy me. But sometimes, she returns at the worst possible times and I am left dumbfounded. The worst thing is, she scares all of my friends away with her presence. They don’t want to hang around me when she’s around, because seriously, even I don’t want to hang around me with her around. When I can’t take it anymore, I tried to run away, but she always knew where I am and how to catch up to me.
When she breaks me and I tried to find a friend who will not be afraid and stand with me, she taunts me and says that no one will inconvenience themselves for me. When no one is available, I believe her and I cry in her arms. That’s when she holds me and doesn’t let go.
Lately, she is getting more irritating and more dangerous. When I tell her to get out, she lunges for me and beats me half to death on the ground. I got some help. I can’t beat her up because she is immune to physical damage. But I am learning to know when to expect her to arrive, learn how to change my locks and learn how to stand my ground to her. She is tough because she always comes back and she always stays months at a time. But I will learn to prepare myself with weapons and tools, ready for battle with her.
Oh, by the way, her name is depression.