What Hope?

I have had to do a lot of listening lately.  With my community of close friends all moving away, I no longer have the avenues where I am able to be fully authentic.  In many ways it can be rather stifling to constantly filter my thoughts and actions from those around me.  At the men’s bible study I attend every week, the issue of how to deal with gay Christians has come up fairly frequently.  While I try to challenge everyone’s thoughts, since they do not know about my SSA, I pretty much sit and have to hear their opinions.  It can be pretty painful and discouraging.

It is easier for these men to speak about adult Christians who are now choosing to live our their gay identity, because in their minds they capable human beings and as adults, are not viewed as having relational needs that need to be met.  Most married individuals don’t grasp the life of a single person and the loneliness that results.  Without seeing these basic needs, they only assume that living a celibate life is the obvious answer and it is a simple choice of obedience.

I am still waiting to hear a church that provides hope for the gay Christian or Christian with SSA (whichever wording you need to hear to feel comfortable).  I try to consider what I would tell to my 13 year old self, around the time where I was just realizing that I could possibly be gay.  While it feels justifiable to many to judge an adult and their actions, a 13 year old, who without choosing realizes that he is attracted to men is in a different place.  What message can the church give them in terms of the timeline for their life?

If I had to speak to myself at that age, all I can say is that it is only going to get harder.  You will only get more isolated, you will live without being known and all you can do is hope to hold on to your faith even though the temptation to experience relationship constantly feels overwhelming.  I am only 30 and I never thought life would be this difficult this early.

Typical kids are told somewhat of a timeline for their life with the stages that they should eventually experience.  You graduate from high school, then college, you date, you get married, you establish yourself in a career, you have kids, you live a life as a parent for a while, you become grandparents, you retire so to enjoy your family and all you worked for, then you die.  For a person with SSA, with all stages of life related to family being removed, outside of career there isn’t much to expect.

I recently started going to a Catholic support group in my area (not because I am Catholic, but it is one of the only areas of support close by).  Part of my desire was to hear from older men dealing with SSA and how they are getting to experience life with hope.  Sadly, most of them are still struggling even at their old age.  They don’t speak a life of hope, excitement, fulfillment or expectancy.  Rather the only thing they can hope is to hold on to Christ and remain obedient despite the daily temptations and the feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Until the church can speak of a hope and a life that isn’t merely survival, I feel as though the options for a gay Christian is either change your theology by convincing yourself that the side A is actually a Biblical option or prepare for a long life alone.  I cannot allow my theology to be changed by my experience, but the option I am living now is so difficult.

I have hope for eternity but I don’t have hope for tomorrow.  I dread the coming years and how the life of obedience will only get more difficult.  I am tired, weary and the burden is extremely heavy.  The promise of Jesus in Matthew 11:30 seems far and distant.

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.  

Dare to Hope

I was chatting with a friend recently and she asked what my ideal 2014 would be.  I listed off my usual desires regarding community, friendship, a place to live and ultimately that I would be able to continue to trust God regardless of my circumstances.  As I was contemplating my life this coming year, I really don’t have a whole lot of reason to be hopeful for good to happen to me.  I already know some of the difficult moments I am going to have to face, such as finding a roommate and moving, my best friends leaving the state and the other getting married.  I don’t look forward to 2014.  As I was speaking to my friend, I couldn’t help but feel as though this year I am going to have to dare to hope.  I still believe in God.  Though I am wrestling a lot with my view of God as my Father, I know that He does care for me.  Regardless of what I am going through, if I were to hold onto the truths I know from scripture, God has a plan for me, He cares for me deeply and all that I am going through cannot be for nothing. 

So I must dare to hope.  For me to hope for good in 2014 is truly believing something better will happen beyond my personal circumstances.  I cannot see such good in my near future at all at this point.  Despite everything, God will still allow me to see Him in the midst of everything and I will know that He is still good.  

I have this image of me underwater, struggling for air.  While it may be excruciating, I know eventually my head will rise above the surface and I will be able to take the necessary gasp.  I hope that I reach the surface soon…

 

Back To Work

It has been good to get back to work again.  I never would have imagined not liking vacation or my time off… but it really wasn’t healthy to have so much time alone.  Thankfully I had a pretty good week… or maybe it was more that I didn’t have a bad week for once.

I am in such a weird place right now.  With everything in my life up in the air, I really don’t have much to hold onto.  It is strange, but I am not feeling overwhelmed by my situation.  At least in this moment right now.  I feel as though I am learning to lower my expectation in life, towards people, and even for myself. I am far less likely to be hurt, disappointed, or frustrated if I can learn to curb my expectations.  It is hard though… I want to expect more in life.

It seems to be a fine line between lowering my expectations and letting go of what little hope I have for the future.