Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Living out, and another secret

 
 It has been a while since I posted on here, so I thought I'd do a post. I don't know how long it will be, or what I will say, though I have an idea of where I want to go with it.

   I have become quite open about my struggles on my other blog, and life hasn't changed much, to my surprise. For so many years, I feared people finding out my secret, but there doesn't seem to be any repercussions as I long feared. Sure, people may be judging me and talking about me, but I have heard nothing. It would seem my long held fears were indeed groundless. The knowledge that anyone can read my blog and find out that I am attracted to other guys just doesn't worry me anymore.

 When I look back over my life, it is amazing I am where I am. It is amazing I am alive. I was far from careful when I was hooking up with guys, and it is a miracle I never contracted AIDS.

  I would like some day to talk about this issue, but to whom and where I don't know. Right now, I almost feel like an island. I go to church but don't feel part of the church. I sit in a pew and that is about it. During the week I work and see my family, and no one from church. I have really never had many close friends, and it seems my closest friends are ones who don't live close enough to see very often. Sometimes I just feel isolated, though there are times I prefer being alone. I guess I am a paradox.

  I am not liking my job very well, but I feel stuck. I finally have decent insurance, and I need it right now with some health issues I am having.

   Confession: I am still addicted to pornography. It is harder to admit it than attractions to the same sex. My addiction has never been to pictures or videos, though I have looked at my share of both. My addiction likes in gay erotic stories, and always has. I try to quit, but go back to it. Right now, I keep telling myself it is the only fun I have.....but I do want to stop.

 As to my sexual struggles, they are still usually at a low ebb, with an occasional stronger urge. I do believe "coming out of the closet" has helped break the hold it has had on me.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

I Won't Go Back

  In my last post on here, I promised to post more on here, but that was September...... and here I am posting the first time since then. I had a few weeks of intense depression, discouragement, and disappointments. There were times I considered giving up and forgetting serving God, and there were moments I wished I could end it all.

 Oddly enough, it wasn't at all same-sex attraction related. And when I envisioned giving up, going back into the hookup scene didn't occur to me. It would seem that there truly is no going back to that, or a temptation to do so. Yeah, lust is still an issue, porn a temptation...... and one I give into occasionally. I also find myself occasionally wishing I could have a guy to love...... but thankfully, that doesn't happen a lot.

 Also, thankfully I have pretty much come out of the funk I was in. I don't feel as close to God as I felt before it hit, but I am getting there. I had something happen today - a car accident that was my fault due to a few factors, one being an icy road and a red light I didn't see in time. I would normally be devastated with a fine to pay, a deductible, and most likely a raise in my insurance...... but I haven't flipped out.

 This evening I felt this slight urge to use porn, but I didn't want to. That may not make sense, but it was like a habit I do when things go wrong like my accident. Maybe not flipping out about it and getting all worried and discouraged didn't feed the need to jerk off to porn. I may be doing a lousy job of explaining it, but it would seem having the reaction and attitude opposite of what I normally would, diffused what normally would have been a great temptation. Maybe I am wrong, and that isn't it at all, but it does make sense. Whatever the reason, I'll take it and be thankful that I wasn't hit hard with the temptation and desire to use porn.



  There's a new group that formed this past year, which is an odd combination. It consists of two Southern Gospel vocalists and Jody McBryer, formerly of Avalon. One of the songs from their CD has been on my mind a lot lately, and I have been listening to it over and over. I am even listening to it at the moment. It is a song that rings true in my heart and one that I want to claim as my testimony: I Won't Go Back. Below are the words, but listen to the video also which is below the words.  It is a powerful song:

I Won't Go Back, by Cana's Voice

I've been changed
Healed
Freed
Delivered
I've found joy
Peace
Grace
And favor
I've been changed ]
In the presence of the lord, I've been
(healed)
Freed (freed), delivered (delivered)
(I've found joy
Peace)
Grace (grace)
And favor (and favor)
Right now
Today 
I've been changed (I've been changed)
I've been changed 
And I have waited (I have waited for this moment to come)
And I won't let it pass me by

I won't go back, I can't go back, to the way it used to be
Before your presence came and changed me
I won't go back, I can't go back, to the way it used to be
Before your presence came and changed me
All my shame
Guilt
Sins
Forgiven
No more chains
Fear
My past (my past) is over (is over)
Right now is the moment
Today (today is the day)
I've been changed (I've been changed)
I have waited 
For this moment right here
And I won't let it pass me by

I won't go back, I can't go back, to the way it used to be
Before your presence came and changed me
I won't go back, I can't go back, to the way it used to be
Before your presence came and changed me

I won't go back, I can't go back, to the way it used to be
Before your presence came and changed me
I won't go back, I can't go back, to the way it used to be
Before your presence came and changed me



Saturday, September 17, 2016

September update

  I was looking over past blog posts and noticed a trend. There are many blog posts that are negative and were written when I was struggling badly with sexual issues and believing God's love. Now that things are going well, I am not as apt to post on here. There is also the added factor that I "outted" myself on the blog where I am not anonymous, though I will never be as open there as I am here.

  But I don't want this blog to just have posts of when I was discouraged and struggling.... thus this blog post.

  Things have been going pretty well lately. Depression was holding me back a lot for a while, but things are better in that area, thankfully. The temptations to hook up are still rare and not much of a temptation. Porn and lust are still a temptation, but they don't have the strong hold on me that they used to have.

 Just yesterday I saw a shirtless young guy mowing, and another walking down the street..... and I looked, but did I lust? I was tempted to circle back and get another look, but did not.

  My relationship with God is getting back on track after a few months of feeling disconnected - the depression. I have always been one to go by feelings and emotions too much, and depression messes that up a lot.

 I still can't see marriage ever happening for me, and that is OK. I have gotten used to being single, and I like solitude. Sure, I get lonely some, but marriage is no assurance that a person will never be lonely.

 There are some other positive things going on in my life right now, and God willing a new chapter will be starting in my life that I believe will be good for me and help me in a lot of ways. More on that later..

 I still believe my big breakthrough came as a result of finally believing God loves me, an assurance that is still with me. I am very thankful for how far God has brought me, and have hope for the future that I didn't have for so long.

 I have been neglecting this blog, but will try to do better in the coming days. God bless

Monday, September 5, 2016

My book shelf, part 1

  There have been several great books written in recent years on the issue of homosexuality from a Christian and conservative viewpoint. I am sure I haven't read all of them, but here are some I have read lately that I thought were good and worth mentioning:

1) Satisfaction Guranteed by Jonathan Berry and Rob Wood

Book description:


Convinced that real satisfaction can be found only in a relationship with Jesus Christ, the author aims to encourage, inspire and equip all who struggle with same-sex temptations to resist, but 'make him their greatest treasure and live life to the full'. He invites us to dig deep and discover great truths about our awesome God and his plans and purposes for our lives, for only then can we live bravely, boldly and counter-culturally. He writes candidly, humbly and sensitively, with fellow strugglers in mind, but also their friends, families and the church leaders who support them, interweaving deeply personal stories from real life. God is good. He can be trusted even in the most painful situation. The surprising paradox is that it is the narrow road that leads to the abundant life promised by Jesus.

Check out their website at Satisfaction In Christ



2) Dwelling In the Land by Jeanette Howard

This one is by a woman, and I didn't find it as helpful as others I have read.... don't know if that is why, but it is worth mentioning.

Book description:

An important new volume by the author of Out of EgyptSome Christians who think of themselves as "gay" have sought healing and sexual reorientation. Some have chosen a freer interpretation of the biblical texts. Others don't know where they belong or what they should believe. Still others remain gay-identified yet choose celibacy. All have found that their sexual orientation strongly influences, even defines, who they perceive themselves to be.

Jeanette believes that to identify herself as "gay" does not do justice to what God has been doing in her life. Christians belong to Christ. "I have been born from on high and have a completely new DNA, God's DNA, residing in me and flowing through me," says Jeanette. "I am no longer a sinner but a saint. I am a daughter of the King."

With intelligence, compassion and fellow-feeling Jeanette explains what it means, as a Christian who has wrestled for the whole of her adult life with same--sex attraction, to live honestly and consistently as a Bible--believing Christian.

3) Struggle Central by Thomas Mark Zuniga

This book is written from one of the guys at the Your Other Brothers website - a site I highly recommend. He also has his own website at ThomasMarkZuniga.com

Book description:

Struggle Central is a collection of “messy memoirs” from the quarter-life of blogger, Thomas Mark Zuniga. After an ideal upbringing in eastern Pennsylvania, he learned what it meant to struggle in northeast Georgia. Growing up in a perpetual Christian bubble, he confesses the ridicule he received at Christian schools and the isolation he experienced in churches across America. From fear to shame to closeted issues of sexuality, this book charts the struggles of a young introverted Christian trying to find his way in the world – and ultimately, the Church. It wasn't until a second cross-country relocation to southern California that he started finding what he’d long thought impossible.


4) Critical Conversations by Tom Gilson

This book isn't as much for people dealing with same-sex attractions as it is for parents to talk to their kids about it.... though I still found it helpful.

Book description: 

Christian parents need to be prepared to answer the myriad challenges teens might hear in today's increasingly pro homosexual culture. "Why shouldn't gays get married?" “Who says gay sex is wrong?" "Does the Bible actually say there's anything wrong with homosexuality?" "Don't you care that kids are being bullied just for being themselves?"

To start the discussion, Gilson provides a brief history of the issues beginning with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. He explains how and why cultural attitudes have reversed on this subject in such a short time-span, leaving Christians scrambling for answers.

This is perhaps the most complicated and contentious issue Christians face in today's culture. Most churches are poorly equipped to handle it; parents are even less prepared. The good news is that parents need not have pat answers ready before they dive into conversations with their teens and preteens on this difficult topic. Learning together—parents struggling through these issues alongside their kids and leading them to biblical answers— has relational benefits.

Answers are important, though, so manageable, nontechnical answers to common questions surrounding this issue are provided, as well as a guide to further resources.

5) Messy Grace by Caleb Kalttenbach

Book description:

Sometimes, grace gets messy.

Caleb Kaltenbach was raised by LGBT parents, marched in gay pride parades as a youngster, and experienced firsthand the hatred and bitterness of some Christians toward his family.

But then Caleb surprised everyone, including himself, by becoming a Christian…and a pastor.

Very few issues in Christianity are as divisive as the acceptance of the LGBT community in the church. As a pastor and as a person with beloved family members living a gay lifestyle, Caleb had to face this issue with courage and grace. 


Messy Grace shows us that Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” doesn’t have an exception clause for a gay “neighbor”—or for that matter, any other “neighbor” we might find it hard to relate to. Jesus was able to love these people and yet still hold on to his beliefs. So can you. Even when it’s messy.

6) The Transparent Life by McKrae Game

This book was written by the head of the Hope For Wholeness Ministry...... and there is something written in it by yours truly......

Secrets destroy families, relationships, and will stop personal growth. Too many people go through life wearing a mask of shame, terrified that if anyone knew the "real me," they would be shunned and alone. Unfortunately many churches and society tell us to keep our struggles, addictions, and pasts hidden. Hiding our problems will not make them go away. There is a way to be free from the shame and guilt. It begins by understanding The Transparent Life. Author McKrae Game is the president and founder of Hope for Wholeness Network. He lives a transparent life and his ministry has counseled countless men and women to begin their own healing by removing the mask and letting people in. This book is for anyone who desires to be free from struggles, addictions, and secrets.




These are just 6 books I have read lately that I found helpful. I will do another post in the future about others. If you have read any that you recommend, let me know and I'll mention it.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

I surrender my sexual desires

 
  I recently had a comment on my other blog by a gay man that bothered me. It wasn't the fact that the man disagreed with me, but it was what he said. He commented that if he believed that I was right in what I believe about homosexuality, he'd kill himself and just go to be with Jesus, because he couldn't handle life without a partner.

  This man's sexual identitity and need for a partner is more important to him than serving God. No matter what it is, if we feel we'd rather die than give something up for God, whether it is sinful or not, we value that thing more than we value God.

  To be a "gay Christian", one must overlook, twist, and re-interpret several Bible verses to make the Bible say something totally different about homosexuality.

    What these individuals don't seem to get, or don't want to get, is Jesus asks the same thing of all of us: deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. Those pushing the pro-gay theology seem to believe that gay people are exempt from this command of Jesus, along with the command to repent and sin no more. But to truly follow Jesus means denying yourself of any sin, repenting of all sin, and leaving all sin. We who deal with same-sex attractions do not get a special pass to keep doing what the Bible says is sin. No matter how people try to twist the Bible verses, no matter how unfair it may seem, we cannot serve God and do what the Bible says is sin. Anyone who truly believes that is on dangerous ground.

  There's a hymn we used to sing in church titled "I Surrender All". That is what everyone following Jesus must do, and it isn't easy to surrender all to follow Jesus. I have to wonder many "gay Christians" have prayed and submitted their sexuality, sexual attractions, and desires to God.... or have they just tossed aside the need to do that? Can you truly submit this area of your  life to God and continue living the same way?



  Granted, gay people are not the only ones falling short of submitting their all to Jesus and denying themselves. This modern Christianity we have is so shallow and lukewarm that it asks for no denial, no surrender, no cross, and no true repentance and leaving of sin.

  We all are going to stand before God some day to give account our lives. I am afraid there will be many people on that day who will miss Heaven because they chose to put their sexuality before God. Man's opinions and interpretations of Scripture won't matter on that day, and no excuse will work with God. We must all truly surrender our all, repent, and leave our sin.....even homosexuality.... while we can.



Saturday, August 20, 2016

My pathway to freedom

In my last post, I blogged about what true freedom is. I am going to go a different direction and try not to rehash any of those points. I have had guys ask me how I got to the place I am with my same-sex attractions/struggles. The answer may be more complicated and involved than I can put into words, and I am sure there are aspects of it that I am not even aware of, but I shall try to give an explanation.

  This journey is different for everyone, but for me there are some things that stand out to me:

1) Acceptance. I don't mean this in a fatalistic way, nor do I mean it in the way that the out and proud people have accepted the fact that they are gay. I just tried to fight these feelings for so long, and prayed until I was blue in the face to be "normal" (whatever that is). I finally got to the place where I realized it was not going to go away, and decided I was OK with it. If it wasn't this, it would be something else.

2) Surrender. I gave it to God and surrendered my sexual attractions and desires to Him. I have actually prayed and told God I don't care if He ever takes them away, but to just help me live above them and not give in. I have told God several times to use my experiences to help others.

3) Coming out of the closet. Once I got to the place I didn't care who knew my secret, it started losing its hold on me. No, I don't wear a t-shirt, but I talk about it on my blog where everyone knows who I am, and I doubt many people who know me very well don't know at this point. And by coming out of the closet, I don't mean in any way that I have come out as gay, but as a Christian who is attracted to the same sex. There is a difference.



4) Changing my reasons. For so long I just wanted to be "normal", to be like other guys, to be "straight" so I could marry and have a wife and kids. As Christopher Yuan said: the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality...... but holiness. I had to get to the point that I wanted to change to please God, not so I could be happy and heterosexual.

5) God's love. I won't go into all of the reasons for it on this post, but I doubted that God loved me for most of my life. It was more than doubt - I was convinced He didn't love me or like me. It is difficult to serve God when you don't believe He loves you, and your main reason is to escape hell and the feelings of guilt and misery. It is very common among people dealing with same-sex attractions,

  In December, it will have been three years since I finally believed He loves me....and what a difference it has made. I still have a small twinge occasionally, "if God loves me, then why.......", but they are easily brushed aside.



  Believing God loves me has made me want to live a life that pleases Him, and has made a real relationship with Him that I never really had before. And I immediately noticed a difference in my struggles. I believe the other things I mentioned played a big part, but this one seemed to be the catharsis that finally broke the chains. This was when I deleted all of the apps and hook up sites I had been using, This was when the constant desire to hook up with other guys started going away.

  God gets a bad rap from a lot of people who try to walk away from homosexuality only to go back to it. I believe we just give up too easily and try for the wrong reasons, and all too often aren't truly committed and surrendered. It isn't easy, and it may take longer than we want, but it is so worth it.



Thursday, August 18, 2016

What does freedom look like?


   It seems one argument of the pro-gay crowd is that since you can't "pray the gay away", then it is OK to be gay.

   If I had a dollar for every time I asked God to make the same-sex attractions go away, I'd be a wealthy man. No matter how many times I prayed that, it didn't happen. I was recently mocked by a fellow Christian who is pro-gay because I dared to say God has set me free even though I am still attracted to men. Many would agree with this person that if a person is still attracted to the same sex, then they aren't free. The ultra conservative part of Christianity would even suggest you aren't even a Christian if you are attracted to the same sex.

  Are either of these two groups right? The latter is definitely wrong. The Bible does not condemn attractions to  the same sex, but sex with and lusting of the same sex. But what about the first group's thinking?

  God works in different ways in our lives. There have been people God instantly delivered from same-sex attractions, drug addictions, alcoholism, pornography, and other sins/addictions/issues. And then there are others who seem to be in the majority that struggle with these things for the rest of their lives on some level.

  It has been suggested that these people haven't prayed enough, that they don't have a close enough relationship with God, and probably other reasons I haven't heard. Someone said it is possible God instantly delivers those who He knows can't handle a constant struggle, while some can and be made stronger for it, so He doesn't instantly set them free from the desires for it. I like that idea, but I have no idea if that is true or not.



    But what does freedom truly look like? Is it not freedom from sin? God set me free from the constant hookups, the chat rooms, personals, and apps that I used to seek hookups. Is that not a miracle? Is that not freedom? Of course I am tempted occasionally to go back, but the temptations are rare and barely a blip on my radar screen. The temptation to lust and have bad thoughts is a bigger battle, but God helps me in that area also.

  God could indeed remove all desires and temptations for the sins and addictions in our lives, but is it any less of a miracle and any less freedom for Him to help us say no to those temptations and desires and live for Him instead of our passions and desires?

  And is it possible if He completely took away all desires for those things that we would be shallow Christians not dependent on Him?

  We are all tempted. The devil knows us and is smart enough to know our weak areas. Of course he is going to tempt us where we are weak. If a sexy young woman cornered me and tried to seduce me, I could easily walk away. I am not attracted to women, and it wouldn't be a temptation. But if a young sexy guy tried to seduce me.....that would be a temptation hard to walk away from, but walking away from it would be true freedom and would show that God does indeed help us.



  When a person has an issue like same-sex attraction, drugs, alcohol, or any tough issue or habitual sin; it makes them more dependent on God. I have found that I can't just coast along and mutter a short little prayer each day. It is a daily battle that requires a close relationship with God and total dependence on Him.

  God broke the chains that held me for so long. Sure, I am still attracted to guys instead of women, but the driving desire and temptation to hook up with guys and chat on line is gone. And that is freedom. That is as miraculous as God taking the same-sex attractions away and making me heterosexual.