Confessions

I just came back to this blog and saw the last time I posted.  A lot has gone on since then.  A lot that I am ashamed of…

I am not well these days.  I am not handling life in a way that I am proud of and at the core of it all, I don’t see the hope that I need to have in order to continue to push for the changes that need to be made.  With every year, I am shocked at how intense my situation becomes and never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be dealing with the situation I am in at the age of 29.  I never thought I would be completely alone.  I never thought that it would be nearly impossible to find a roommate.  I never thought that church would seem so isolating.  I never thought I would sit on a Friday night with no one nearby to call to hang out… or to have to face Saturday with nothing on my schedule.

The weekends are seriously the worst for me.  If I am lucky, I get through Friday night without doing anything stupid.  At best, I binge watch several hours of Netflix and somehow stay away from drinking at all.  However, by the time I face Saturday and I pretty much have exhausted my self-control, usually with a couple beers in, my walls fall and I am completely vulnerable.  More often then not, I make stupid choices online or even just letting my mind wander back to a previous relationship that I want to be involved in so desperately.  I simply don’t want to be alone.

What sucks is that after every Saturday comes Sunday.  I still go to church.  I feel dirty and ashamed because I failed yet again.  I hate the fact that I face the weekend alone and somehow God doesn’t seem to be enough.  The way the church, books, and people seem to put it is that I should be able to sit alone at my apartment and be completely fulfilled in who Christ is and not fall apart.  I wish that were true…

My work seems to be my only savior.  It keeps me from having to face the reality of my situation.  Yet, somehow God has forced me to step back from my work and it is killing me.  Back in August, due to my injury, I was forced to sit out for several weeks.  Now, it seems as though I am going to be dealing with jury duty for the next 3 weeks unless by some miracle I get released from the case on Monday.

So yeah, I’m hurting.  It’s Friday night and thankfully I haven’t messed up yet.  I pray tomorrow I experience God’s mercy in a huge and overwhelming way.  I need it, I can’t do this alone. I can’t fix this. I can’t fix me.

Getting Desperate

I have survived a week and it hasn’t been easy.  As I mentioned previously, getting slapped in the face with the reality of how isolated I am has been painful and eye-opening.  With almost no presence of friends or community showing up during this time, I realize that I cannot remain in my current state.  Furthermore, sitting alone on the couch for a week straight doing nothing has led to all of the temptations in my life to roar up.  Ultimately, I have failed in that area as well.  It isn’t like I haven’t spent time in the word or prayer either… I have tried to spend a significant amount of time every morning with God.  However, usually by the afternoon or evening, I am so desperate for some sort of connection that I inevitably give in.  

Clearly, I am unable to withstand sin on my own.  I have a lot of years left in me and the temptations and desire for connection with others is only going to get stronger.  Who knows how long I can last doing this whole celibate, gay Christian thing.  

Attempts to speak to my pastors at church have all failed in the past, but I am thinking I am going to have to have another go at it with them.  Somehow if I do not change my circumstances, I am will not going to see any progress in my life, development of community, and overcoming sin.  The last time I spoke with the elders, I made an attempt to get them to understand my situation, to grasp what it was like as a celibate, gay Christian, and to hopefully get them to walk alongside me in this journey.  I failed completely on all three points.  This time I feel like I am needing to go in simply asking for help.  They probably will never grasp where I am at, but hopefully they can help me find a new living situation and somehow connect me to more people.  

I need to learn to develop community even with people who are completely incapable of grasping my situation.  Up till now, even in friendships, if someone wasn’t able to reach some form of empathy and understanding, it was basically impossible to share where I am at in life.  Those friendships for the most part haven’t lasted.  I don’t know how to share my life with others who have no ability to take in what I say and be able to comprehend, discern and speak into my life in a useful manner.  After this experience, I am going to need to learn how to… even if it isn’t a deep form of community, or I don’t even share my true story, I have to start establishing more relationships with those around me.  

Set Back or Opportunity

I recently got injured and am now stuck on a couch for two weeks, having to keep my foot elevated and only able to get around on crutches.  This injury happened in the middle of two of the most busy weeks of the year for me and as a result all my plans are now irrelevant.  All I can do now is sit.

This experience has forced me to face many questions in my life that I have been dreading such as:  If I ever got into an emergency would people be there? If I am unable to be productive, do I view myself any less?  Do I have the self-control to face two weeks on my own?  Is God truly enough when it is only Him and me.

I don’t know how I am going to get through the next two weeks doing nothing.  So far, it looks like I will be spending an unhealthy amount of time on the couch, alone.  I know this is not a good situation for me. 

Somehow I want to view the next to weeks knowing that it is full of opportunity not only for my own self but for God to do his work.  I know that having this time alone is important because God can speak to me much more in the silence.  I need to learn how to not constantly turn to others in the midst of this time.  Texts, social media, and even simply posting on here is a cry for connection.  How do I learn to let God take the place of these needs?

Every Man Has A Woman To Love

I attend a men’s Bible study at my church that focuses on defining a man of God and the necessary elements in his life to make him be complete.  One of those elements is that every man has a woman to love.

Obviously being a single, celibate gay Christian, this statement bothers me.  When I question how this statement applies to a single man (not even a gay man), I am told a woman to love for a single man is the church, as modeled by Jesus.  I am still exploring this thought to see if there is any true biblical basis for such a statement.  Every time I am told this however, I cannot help but become frustrated and bitter towards the church.  Am I truly to consider my bride to be the church?  How can this be when my so-called bride doesn’t even acknowledge my existence?  Can a spouse truly feel apart of a relationship when their significant other does not even acknowledge they are in a relationship?  

As the church makes this statement, I equate it to the level of frustration that exists for women when told wives should be submissive to their husbands.  While I believe this to be biblical, as an isolated statement, it misses out on the entire meaning of the passage and ends up being used in an abusive and controlling manner.  The responsibilities of the husband are just as important and any man who tells his wife she must be submissive is clearly ignoring the sacrifice that he is suppose to make as a loving husband.  A partial biblical truth can be damaging if the full scope of the biblical passage is not given or if only part of a command is utilized.  Is it justifiable for the church to tell a single man that his bride should be the church, despite having never spoken to the church regarding their responsibilities towards singles?  It seems like an easy way out and an incomplete view, ultimately allowing the church to escape responsibility. 

If the bride of a single person is the church, what is the responsibility of said bride?  All pressure cannot be placed on the single person whom is already isolated, without family, and generally viewed as incomplete by the church. 

I would love to hear some thoughts on this topic.  Has anyone else looked into this idea that a single man’s bride is to be the church? How does that sit with your understanding of the scriptures?

Would I Give Up The Last 2.5 Years?

There was a moment today where I caught myself yet again thinking about an unhealthy relationship I was in a few years ago.  It is a continual struggle to let go of my desire to return to that relationship, particularly in times of loneliness and feelings of disconnectedness.  A couple of years ago, while immersed in this relationship, I seriously considered even moving across the country to be with this guy.  

Reflecting back, I am able to look back on the last 2 and a half years and recognize all that I would have missed had I chosen to pursuit that relationship.  I am able to think back to the exact moment where I was met with a fork in the road and I decided to trust in God instead of pursuing a relationship that at that moment, seemed like the best thing that had ever happened to me.  The road since then has definitely not been easy by no means.  Despite the ups and downs, God has used my life in so many areas and it is hard to imagine that if I had pursued my selfish desires, none of that would have happened.  When I think about the friendships that were created and deepened over the last couple years, the guys in my youth group that I have been able to impact, and even simply the experiences I myself have been able to encounter, it gives me a glimpse of hope that it was worth it.  I am really having to hold onto that right now.  I don’t have community right now.  I don’t have any close friends living near me.  I feel like I go through every day completely on my own.  I have to hold on to the hope that God is still at work.  I have to believe that I will look back two and a half years from now and yet again realize that it was worth it.  

Go Back to Jesus

I was walking to a restaurant tonight with one of my best friends and out of nowhere a woman walking passed told us “Go back to Jesus.”  We both looked at each other and back at her to make sure she was speaking to us and she turns to me and said “You in the purple shirt, go back to Jesus.”  It was such a bizarre experience and caught both of us completely off guard.  

As we sat down to eat, my friend asked me if I thought she directed it at me because she thought I was gay.  In all honesty, besides the purple dress shirt that I was wearing, I do not come across as being particularly flamboyant or fashionable.  Almost embarrassingly, my boss wore the exact same shirt to work today so I doubt that it had anything to do with looking a particular way.  Still, I could see how compared to my friend who was simply wearing a T-shirt and jeans, I could possibly have come across as looking a certain way… though I still can’t imagine it. 

Regardless of the woman’s intentions, due to how out of the blue her comment was made, it stuck with me.  As I drove home tonight, I continued to mull over her words and wonder if God may have given her a word that I needed to hear.  I know that regardless of how simple a statement it is, I do need to “go back to Jesus.”  I am caught up in my life’s circumstances.  I constantly am allowing myself, my friendships, my community and my church to dictate my view and relationship with God.  

I was reading Isaiah 6 this morning and was struck by the overwhelming awareness of Isaiah’s  sinfulness in response to being in the presence of God.  God purifies Isaiah through the coal brought from the alter.  Only once his sin is atoned for and guilt taken away is Isaiah able to be in the presence of God.  For myself, it is only by the blood of Christ that I am able to be in God’s presence.  As simple as a concept as that is, I constantly am working my way towards a connection with God and I need to recognize that my efforts are futile.  

As strange as it was, perhaps the word to “Go back to Jesus” is the very thing I need to hear and be reminded of right now.  

Lone Survivor

I watched Lone Survivor last night with one of the guys from church.  Rarely have I had the opportunity to hang out with anyone from church, so it was refreshing to grab dinner and go watch a movie.  Lone Survivor lived up to the hype and was an intense movie worth seeing.  As the men engage in combat, you feel and cringe with every blow and wound inflicted upon the SEALS body.  Though I am not very patriotic, the movie definitely deepens my respect for those who serve in combat roles overseas.

While I really enjoyed the movie, the one aspect I left disappointed in was the portrayal of the bond between the men.  In the trailer as well as in the movie, the brotherhood established between the Navy SEALS is referred to numerous times.  In some ways, I went in with expectations, longing to see men have a deep bond and connection that can only be achieved by undergoing similar extreme experiences.  However, as the movie unfolded, we were aware that the men were close, but rarely do they express that bond.  It felt as though the men still played up the importance of being tough and strong, over expressing the love and care between them and their fellow SEALS.   Perhaps it was a realistic portrayal, but for me, as you see the men slowly dying, the weight of the loss and the characters didn’t transfer over to me.  In comparison, in movies such as End of Watch, the death of a brother was so heavy that it brought me to tears.  I don’t know, perhaps I am just unrealistic.  In Lone Survivor, “We’re good right?” is as close to an expression of care we see expressed between the men through out the whole film.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an excellent film, loved every minute of it… I just really feel as though if anyone went through the experiences those men went through, the level of closeness would be far deeper and would overcome the barriers of acceptable “manly” behavior than portrayed in the film.

Always Resonating with Nouwen

The feeling of being abandoned is always around the corner.  I keep being surprised at how quickly it rears its ugly head.  Yesterday I experienced that nasty feeling in my innermost being.  Just raw anxiety, seemingly disconnected from anything.  I kept asking myself, “why are you so restless, why are you so anxious, why are you so ill at ease, why do you feel so lonely and abandoned?” …Talking lessened my anxiety and I felt peaceful again.  No one can ever heal this wound, but when I can talk about it with a good friend I feel better.

What to do with this inner wound that is so easily touched and starts bleeding again?  It is such a familiar wound.  It has been with me for many years.  I don’t think this wound -this immense need for affection, and this immense fear of rejects -will ever go away.  It is there to stay, but maybe for a good reason.  Perhaps it is a gateway to my salvation, a door to glory, and a passage to freedom!  -Henry Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey

Which Command is More Important?

In the New Testament, Jesus gives two commands:

1. “Follow me.”

2. “Go and sin no more.”

While there are other commands that are more important (i.e. love the lord God with all of your heart), and these are not mutually exclusive commands, I feel as though Christians tend to have a leaning towards one or the other in their spiritual walk.  This leads to a heavy influence on relationships and how we tend to encourage one another in our pursuit of God.

I constantly see this as I work with my youth group.  For the most part, my guys are all good kids.  None of them are openly rebellious or kids that are disrespectful.  They are reaching a point however, where they are realizing the logic their parent’s fed them (i.e. a relationship with God is doing what is right) isn’t panning out.  They are doing what is right but deep down don’t feel as though they really know and experience God.

Perhaps it is only me, but I know I experience God the most through my own screw ups, failures, and struggles.  I know I can’t make it through this life on my own and so the deep grace and mercy of God is really the only I have to hold onto.  Somedays I remember that, other days I don’t.

I wish the church might start leaning more towards the importance of following Jesus, rather than doing what is right.  Usually when you begin following Christ, your actions are also transformed.  Attempting to do what is right and not sin usually only leads to a point of disappointment as we repeatedly fail.

Girls Must Be Bored or Getting Really Desperate

I remember towards the later half of college and the years following, it seemed like everybody and their mom was trying to set me up with someone they knew.  Especially since for some reason moms really like me, I was constantly being told about someone’s daughter, niece or friends that would be absolutely perfect for me.  As you can imagine, little did they know…

I am not sure exactly when it happened but around the time I hit 25 or 26, all of that suddenly stopped.  I honestly feel as though for the last two or three years I was not approached at all by someone making an attempt to pair me up with someone.  Obviously I still had a plethora of comments about the need for me to get married but perhaps due to the vagabond lifestyle or the non-career mentality, it was no longer a common agenda for those around me to play matchmaker with me.

Three months ago, either the stars aligned to cast a special light on me, the unusually warm winter is causing everyone to mistake the season to be the love-lusted spring, or now that I have a “respectable” job… the whole process has kicked in again.  It has been so strange how many people have approached me lately.  Not only have there been attempts at people playing matchmaker, but I have had girls I knew back in college even contact me suggesting we get coffee.  I simply don’t get it.  These are girls I haven’t spoken to or seen in over 6 years.

I recently learned that at a local baby shower all the women got into a conversation about how hard it is to find a good single Christian man. Not only one, but two ladies whom I don’t even know brought my name up.  As a result, my coworker, who was at the shower, is now trying to set up double dates with me and whoever the heck they are trying to help move onto the necessary stage of life in the Christian world.  What is going on?

I am excellent at talking my way around these conversations, however at this point it is almost assumed by people that I would jump on any opportunity to meet a possible future mate.  People aren’t able to grasp why I do not date and so at least to me, it has got to be blatantly obvious to everyone I am probably gay.  With the way people have been pressuring me to date again lately, I am seriously considering coming out to everyone just to end the hassle.  I am isolated as it is and all of my close friends know anyway, so it wouldn’t really matter a whole lot.  I think it I wasn’t working with the youth group at my church, I would definitely consider it.  Anyone have any creative responses for me to give?

My friend and I are joking now that when people tell me they have someone special they know, I should simply respond, “Is he a dude?”  I am sure that the conversation would end pretty quick at that point.