Once you’re out, you’re out. It’s not something you can really take back. That’s why it’s so important to be sure you’re ready. Your decision can’t be dependent on a person’s reaction to your honesty; because—take it from me—you don’t always get the response you expect. For years, I operated on a “need to know” basis. My progress went something like this: until 10 years ago, no one knew my truth. 5 years ago, I could count on one hand the people who knew. 2 years ago, I could count that number on two hands. Today? I have no idea. And frankly, it scares the crap out of me. Why is that? Because it’s out of my control. I no longer get to decide who knows that I’m gay. Since my guest post on Andrew Marin’s blog, and my article in Curve magazine, one can now discover my sexual orientation with a simple Google search. It’s out there in the blogosphere! I won’t lie… it’s frightening. I don’t regret my articles, nor do I regret this blog. I started this website to discover others who were struggling like me, and perhaps create a sense of community among those who often feel so alone. God has brought some amazing people into my life through this blog, and I’m forever grateful for that. I wouldn’t change it—not for the world! Yet there are several nagging fears ever-present in my consciousness:
•I’m afraid that people will dismiss me as a Christian and minimize my personal walk with God. This is by far the most intense fear I have. I’m afraid that people will simply assume I have abandoned all matters of faith, and turned my back on God. The truth is, this journey has been a long one. It has been filled with years and years of research, prayer, and Scripture meditation. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “I don’t care what the Bible says! I’m attracted to women and I intend to live my life as a lesbian!” Quite the contrary, actually. I fasted. I prayed. I pleaded. I bargained with God. I read the Bible like never before. I went to healing services. I attempted to will myself to become sexually attracted to men. I began to feel so ashamed that things weren’t changing! I became convinced that God just wouldn’t even want to hear from a filthy soul like me. God began to heal my spirit, a little at a time. I began to feel His love for me, and it gave me the courage to love myself again. The experience I had (and am still having) is a profound one to me. Not everyone will understand it that way. Some people see things in black and white, with no gray in between. (Have you noticed the only people who think that being gay is a choice are straight?) But that is my story. That is my experience… and no one can take that away from me. I’m not really the type of person that has ever desired to shout my sexual orientation from the city’s tallest building. But I talk about it because it gives me satisfaction to share my stories with those who are going through the same things. It brings me great joy to talk about the all-inclusive, fierce, unconditional love of Christ. Sadly (and rather ironically), for many Christian LGBT brothers and sisters, it is a love that has been eclipsed by the words of other Christ-followers.
•I’m afraid that people from my past will find out, and that it will change their mind about me as a person. I think the biggest factor here might be that there’s no way of knowing their current views on homosexuality. I have so many fond memories of childhood friends, teachers, ministers, etc. I fear it may ruin all of that if they find out. I’ve heard people say more than once about gay people: “Oh, it’s such a shame! They used to be such a sweet child.” As if sexual orientation somehow blemishes an individual’s character or integrity!
•I fear my approval addiction will rule my life. I’m a people-pleaser. I always have been. The number one reason I generally choose to keep my sexuality off the table for discussion is because I worry what others will think of me. I know this is a valid concern, because it’s happened to me more than once. People are going to think what they want, and “haters gonna hate”. The trick is to stop caring!
•I fear I will become unable to love those who cannot love me. I’m all about love. Every fiber of my being believes that is the answer to every evil that exists in this world. After all, that’s our number one commandment from Jesus. If we don’t remember anything else from his life of ministry on this earth, we are supposed to remember how to love God, and love each other. I’ve come to realize that different people have varying perceptions of the definition of love. There is fair-weathered love, forced love, selfish love, love with benefits, insincere love, self-righteous love. Yet we know none of these are truly pure love. Pure love is unconditional; it’s the kind where actions speak much louder than words ever will. Unconditional love is the love of Jesus. It transcends race, gender, social class… and it transcends time. Love… nothing more, and certainly nothing less. There is so much negativity concerning the topic of homosexuality within the Church. Thankfully, it’s not like that in every congregation. But when you are in an environment where people persecute you with their words, looks, or even their deafening silence… it gets to you after a while. But one thing we know, friends: we cannot fight fire with fire, or hate with hate. We must remember that God changes hearts. We must love with the relentless love of Jesus.
These are the things I’m pondering today as I continue my journey. What are your fears?