Why Don’t You Understand Why I Run Naked?

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally landed a job.  I am working with students who have special needs and even though I am only three days at my new job, God is truly teaching me a whole new set of lessons on grace, patience, and love.

I think that one of the biggest lessons I have learned already is that we all desire to be understood.  It doesn’t matter if you are an kid with special needs, a typical individual frustrated with his or her marriage, or a Christian guy dealing with same sex attractions, being understood is essential to our satisfaction and happiness in life.  As I work with these kids with special needs, they don’t start acting out simply because they are bad kids.  More often than not, it usually is because I am unable to understand what they are trying to communicate to me.  As a result, the only way they can express their frustrations is by falling to the ground, over turning every table in the room, or stripping naked and running down the hallway screaming.  While my initial response always seems to be “What the heck is wrong with this kid?” I soon realize that my question should be “What am I not understanding that he is so desperately trying to communicate?”

Even though I may not strip naked and run around yelling every time I feel as though I am not understood, I think that I have my own methods of screaming for people to recognize and understand the state I am in.  Whether it be me ranting through a blog post, constantly pointing out the flaws of the church, or guilt tripping my friends for their lack of support, I can exhibit some rather pathetic behavior at times.  This is not to say that there is anything wrong with having the desire to be understood, it is merely a recognition of the grace that I need to learn to extend to others when they are unable to fill the hole that I have in my life.

While I am looking forward to how I can be used to help these kids at my workplace, I have a strong feeling that I may walk away from this experience having learned far more than the kids I am working with every day.

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Landed

The great news is that I finally landed a job!  I start tomorrow and I am extremely grateful to be employed again.  It will be nice to not have to figure out how to spend all the hours of my day and constantly trying to remain focused on not wasting my time.  While the job isn’t exactly along the lines of what I hoped for, it is at least an opportunity to work with and help people.

The somewhat scary part of all of this is that my commitment issues are now springing up.  As long as I didn’t have a job, there was always the possibility of moving on.  Now I have to actually look for an apartment, find a roommate, sign a lease, buy furniture, and commit to remaining in a location for a period of time.  Right now all my possessions are nice stored in 4 boxes.  There is so much freedom in not having to worry about stuff.  Perhaps I just need to grow up and recognize that responsible adults don’t live transient lives.  There are definitely going to be some hard changes coming up.  I am sure it will be good for me in the long run, despite how difficult it will be initially.

The thing that scares me the most is that I can’t runaway now when things get rough… I came back wanting to commit to community.  Time for me to nut up or shut up.

 

20 Songs That Saved My Life

While my title is a little overdramatic, I wanted to share 20 songs that have been an important part of my journey.  While this isn’t an exhaustive list, nor a reflection of the music that I normally listen to, these songs have brought me some incredible encouragement and support.  Some reflect my cries of desperation, others are songs of hope.  There are so many stories filled with tears, loneliness, laughter, victories, and struggles that go along with each of these songs.  Hopefully some of these will bring others some hope as well.  Feel free to comment and share some of your own.

  1. Deliver Me – Sarah Brightman
  2. You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban
  3. Hurt – Johnny Cash
  4. Hold On Hope – Guided By Voices
  5. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
  6. Waiting For My Real Life To Begin – Colin Hay
  7. Will You Be There – Michael Jackson
  8. The Beautiful Letdown – Switchfoot
  9. Til Kingdom Come – Coldplay
  10. Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright
  11. What If I Stumble – dc Talk
  12. Not Afraid – Eminem
  13. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
  14. Cry For Love – Michael W. Smith
  15. Bad Day – Daniel Powter
  16. When God Ran – Shaded Red
  17. Broken – Lifehouse
  18. Every New Day – Five Iron Frenzy
  19. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
  20. Paradigm – All Together Separate

I am the honorable filler in your life

I am feeling very insecure right now. While today was an excellent day all around, the smallest little thing knocked me off the edge and put me into a downward spiral. The bottom line of it all is that I will always come second to a persons marriage and somehow I have to come to a place where I am ok with that.  The thing is that I don’t know if I can…

There has been some tremendous growth in my friendships over the past few months. While I am normally able to focus on the positive, the doubts begin to creep in and I really start questioning if it is worth fighting for community and relationships. In almost every friendship that I have, I come second to a significant other and as a result I always feel as though I am simply a filler in my friend’s lives. The sad fact is that my honorable status of being a filler is even contingent upon the fact that their spouse or significant other is working, busy, or not around.  I know that the honest truth is that I am important to them and that they do value our friendship, but most days its hard to feel or see that truth.  Maybe it is due to my selfish tendencies, but I can’t help but desire to be preferred by my friends. I want them to desire to hang out with me, rather than finding time they can spare to fit me into their lives.

I don’t think they ever think about how the words they use affect me.  How would anyone feel valued if the most common line given in reference to their desire to spend time with me is “Let me see if I can find some time” or “I will see if (wife’s name) is gone and I am not doing anything”?  I recognize that their marriage is the most important relationship in their life and I want to support them in making that their utmost priority.  However, I cannot keep fighting for these friendships if I am the only one that puts value on them.

I want to hold onto the hope that it is possible to maintain friendships with individuals who are married.  I want to believe that marriage is not an exclusive stage of life but people can develop relationships and community in all walks, single or married.  More likely than not, due to my same sex attraction, I will never get married in life.  To come to grips with that reality has been difficult enough, but to have to recognize that all friendships are forfeit because I will never experience marriage is almost unbearable.

Brick Walls Broken and I’m Being Myself

I was driving home the other night after hanging out with my friend Will and for the first time in a long time, my heart was overflowing with joy.  It was a strange feeling for me to experience, as it is a rare occurrence.  I can’t even remember the last time I had such feelings.  I sat there and tried to figure out why I had these feelings and I realized something…

I finally felt comfortable being myself.

My relationship with Will has continued to grow deeper over the last two months and God has been doing some amazing things in our relationship.  As we have grown closer, I have slowly been able to let down my guard and truly share whatever I am feeling.  Never in my life have I been able to do that.  There has always been a filter.  However, as he has shown me his willingness to walk with me on this journey, I have been able to let go of the walls I have always needed to put up.

Not only was I able to be myself, but I felt known and understood by someone.

It has been scary as hell to utter what is truly going on inside of me.  I have had to come to recognize that I am different from the “normal” man and that the depth I desire in my friendships with guys is far more than others.  I have always hated to admit that.  No one wants to admit their neediness.  As I have slowly opened up with Will, he has pushed me to keep being vulnerable and thankfully, he has been able to grasp what is going on in my life.  With most men, I have always felt as though I am talking to a brick wall.  As I force myself to be transparent and vulnerable, in the end nothing registers with them and I walk away feeling more dejected.  Thankfully, by the grace of God alone, my relationship with Will has developed to where it is now and I think I am finally seeing a breakthrough in my own life.

As I drove the rest of the way home, one fear quickly set in… nothing this good can last.  I don’t know if the devil was trying to fight back or if it is merely the pattern of life that I have always experienced, rising to the surface, but I knew that I didn’t want the fear to paralyze me.  I know challenges will come with my relationship with Will and I am fine with that.  As good as things are now, I don’t want them to stay here.  With every challenge we face and overcome, our friendship will only grow deeper.  For now, I simply sit here in a state of gratitude and thankfulness.  I have found the glimpse of hope that I have been needing in order to get through this rough stage in life that I have been going through.

Indulge one, might as well all…

Yup, today was one of those days.

I finally landed another job interview.  While I was thankful for the opportunity, I soon realized that this job would not be setting me up for future progress into the field that I want to go to.  I don’t even know if I will get the job, but my fear is that if I do get it, I need to take it.  Any job is better than no job.

Anyways, after getting back from the interview I was a bit stressed and frustrated.  I came back to the apartment and of course was faced with all of my vices simultaneously.  Vice #1: Porn. #2: Masturbation. #3: Food. #4: Television.

After failing to fight Vice #1, I soon fell into all four.  Damn.

Now that my afternoon is completely wasted, I of course go into the phase of self-loathing.  As always, I feel stupid for not being able to control myself and falling into the temptations that I know I will be facing.  I hate when I fall into this cycle.  Particularly when I have been trying my best to be in the Word and spend time in prayer.  My relationship with God has been good… which makes days like today even more disappointing.

I feel like I have been extremely intentional in how I go about each day.  I try to make lists and stick to them.  After seeing how today went, I think I am going to have to stay outside more often.  Perhaps I will have to start paying rent at Starbucks, seeing how much time I end up spending there.  I also have come to realize that when I do land a job and need to find a place to live, I probably shouldn’t live alone.  While it can be such an inconvenience to live with people, I don’t think I have a choice.

Reject, Receive, or Redeem

This morning I was mediating a bit on the Christian’s response to homosexuality.  The blogs, news, and politics are chalk full of opinions and debate.   Somehow I feel as though, we Christians are missing the point.  We are yelling louder than we are listening. In the past, I have heard the “Reject, Receive, and Redeem” model used before regarding cultural shifts that seem to go against common Biblical understanding.  While this is simplified (I am fully aware of that), here are a few thoughts using that model…

Reject, Receive, or Redeem:

1. Reject: We can state that anything related to homosexuality is a sin.  Any attraction, behavior, or product stemming from homosexuality is inherently wrong.  The church should remain pure and holy by removing itself by completely rejecting all things homosexual.

2. Receive:  We can accept it with open arms.  If someone realizes they are gay, they should take pride in that and accept it as who they are and were created to be.  Our religious views need to continue to be molded as culture changes.

3. Redeem:  We can recognize that all are broken and yet God has a plan of redemption within our brokenness.  As vessels and ambassadors of Chist here on earth, the church can focus their attention more on their role to redeem those who have a same sex attraction with eternity in mind, rather than channeling their efforts to fight a losing, earthly battle against a fallen world/culture.

I find the question that needs to be asked is what does it tangibly look like for the church to make an effort to redeem the issue and the people dealing with homosexuality?

 

Appearances, Assumptions, and Judgements

As I drove towards my small group tonight, I was curious how things would turn out after telling them my story last week.  I didn’t know if it would end up being a major topic of conversation or if it would just sort of slide on by.  For the most part, it never came up… except on one major issue.

We have been going through 1 Corinthians together and this week we were reading chapter 8 together.  The overarching theme of the chapter is on the freedom we have in Christ but how we need to be willing to relinquish that freedom if we may cause another brother or sister in the church to stumble.  We had a good conversation about what this means today and how our behavior is seen is not only important for those in the church, but those out of the church as well.

Ever since I returned from working overseas, I have been staying with a female friend of mine who happened to have an open room in her apartment.  My conscience and intentions with her have been completely clear since I moved in as being that I struggle with homosexuality, there is no temptation whatsoever in living with a girl.  However, when one of the leaders at my church heard about my living situation, he voiced a little bit of concern.  Had he tried to get to know me a bit more and perhaps dig a little deeper, I would have been more than willing to share my story with him.  I found out later that he had brought up my living situation with Luke (who knows of my struggle) and had voiced more concern there.

Anyways, tonight at small group, the guys confronted me on this and mentioned the fact that in view of the scripture we read, perhaps I should consider moving out.  I really struggled to know how to respond to them.  I recognize where they are coming from and how my living situation may appear to individuals in the church.  At the same time, they know that the truth of the situation is that there is no temptation or issue for me.  I also mentioned to them that if I ended up moving in with a group of guys, I would then have the church questioning if it is smart for an individual dealing with same sex attraction to be living with guys who could be a temptation.  I am screwed either way.

I am a bit lost right now, not knowing what I should do.  I feel as though I can’t control all the different perceptions that people may have of me.  I can’t control their judgements and assumptions.  At the same time, I want to be obedient to God and if this is truly an issue, then I want to do the right thing.  More than anything, I am scared that if I move out, I will end up more isolated and alone than I am now.  I feel helpless.  My prayer is that God will give me discernment regarding the situation and if I should move out, He would provide a healthy place for me to live.