Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Looking Back

Sometimes I look back and wish I could change so many things about my past. I wish I had done a lot of things differently. With school having started back, I've been thinking about my own time in school. In particular, when I was in high school. I was talking with my brother the other day about how much I loved middle school, but then how much I hated high school. He told me, "Well, I was looking through one of your yearbooks a few weeks ago. You looked weird back then. The way you dressed and brushed your hair, and your glasses. You just looked weird. It's no wonder people treated you different."

I then responded, "It shouldn't have mattered how I looked back then. People ought to not base how they treat you by your looks."

He then countered, "But that's not how things are."

"I know that," I reluctantly muttered.

I was weird back then. I looked weird, I acted weird, and I certainly felt weird. I didn't know how to relate to other guys. Especially the older guys. I was quiet a lot of times, and pretty much kept to myself. I didn't get involved in any school activities, or hang out with anyone. What few friends I did have were girls, and in hindsight, I wonder how much they ever truly knew me. Did they know me at all? I really do wonder about that sometimes, because I don't think they could have. I never let anyone get close to me back then. The moment I thought anyone was getting close to me, I'd usually just push them away. I would ignore or avoid them in order to weaken the friendship. Funny, because now I wish I could make friends. Perhaps the reason I'm having trouble with that now is because of how I acted in high school. Maybe I pushed away too many.

I wish I'd known how to be friends with other guys back then. I wish I'd known how to dress like them and look more like them. I wish I'd known how to fit in more. Thing is, I didn't know. I had no teacher. I've always had to teach myself on a lot of things. I wish I knew more about cars, and tools, and things of that nature. I tried to get my dad to show me how to change the oil in my car several different times back this last winter, and I never could get him to show me. I still haven't learned that one. The car just gets took to the shop. But there's just so many other things like that. I couldn't get anyone to teach me. And I've rarely felt comfortable enough to ask anyone to do that.

Why can't I figure out some of these things? Why can't I get Dad to show me anything, or to spend more time with me? Why can't I be more like other guys? Thing is, in the last couple of years, I've found that I'm not as different as I used to think I was, but I know I'm still different. I still feel different, or weird sometimes. I look back to my time in school, and I wish so desperately I could go back and do things differently. I wish I'd been treated differently. Why couldn't at least one of those older guys befriended me, or at least tried? Why wouldn't anyone reach out to me back then? Why did I always have to be so alone?

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Wish I Could Write

There are so many things I wish I could write on this blog. I keep trying to figure out how to write about certain things that's happened in my life. However, I keep having so much difficulty doing that. All the emotional turmoil that surrounds so many of the events of my life seems to just weigh me down whenever I begin. There's just too much to sort out. The stories are too long and too complex. My mind becomes so filled with emotions that I can't write down in words what I'm feeling, or what I've felt. I wish I could write more freely about the events of my life. Of things that's happened to me, of things I've learned, of things I've hated, and things I've enjoyed, people I've known, some whom I've loved, and places I've been and would like to go--some places I hope never to go again.

I have several regrets in my life. Probably the most profound in recent years would be telling my preacher what I struggle with. It was about this time last year that I told my preacher I struggle with homosexuality.

We had a meeting at church one night. I'd went to that meeting with my mind made up to ask my preacher for help, and to tell him. I waited for everyone else to leave, so it'd be just me and him. I asked if I could talk to him for a minute. He said sure, and so we sat back down. I told him I had a problem... and then I froze. I became so nervous I couldn't stand it. I was so afraid of what he was going to think of me. I managed to mention that I had went to a place for help back in April of that year. And then I couldn't say anything else. I just couldn't say anything. I felt stuck then like I do now in trying to write this. I remember just sitting there, nervously shaking my head and looking away, and I said a couple of times, "I just don't know how to tell you this". I then thought that since I couldn't speak the words to tell him, I'd come up with another way. I reached for my Bible and turned to a passage in Leviticus, where homosexual acts are mentioned as being prohibited and as sinful, and I told him to read it. He read through it and then just nodded slightly without looking up, and said, "Homosexuality?" I then nodded back and said, "Yeah".

After I'd finally made contact, that's when the questions came. He asked if I had ever had a homosexual experience. Did I have a boyfriend? (Believe it or not, that sounded so strange to me, hearing someone else ask me that. Up until then, everyone had always asked about me having a girlfriend--or lack thereof). And then there were many more questions after that.

I remember sitting there scared out of my mind. I was shaking all over, my left leg was bouncing up and down, and my jaw was quivering. I honestly don't know if there's ever been a time in my life where I was more nervous.

We ended that conversation with a prayer, and he told me he wanted to help me. I went home following that meeting with such a fear of the unknown. I wasn't sure how he was going to respond. I didn't know if he was going to help me or tell other people about me, or who knows what else. However, I did feel somewhat better having told him. I felt like the burden of keeping my big, dark secret had been lifted away from me.

So, why, you may be asking, is this one of my biggest regrets? Simple. Knowing he knew my secret caused me to be really paranoid around him. Not to mention, awkward. As a result, I gradually began distancing myself from him. But I was desperate for his help. And I wanted some sort of follow up. So, I eventually wrote him a letter, asking if he'd help me more directly. That was in, I think, January of this year. He ended up telling me he had a lot going on, and that he didn't think he'd be able to help me for the time being. That frustrated me quite a bit, because by that point, I'd begun to believe he just didn't want anything to do with me anymore. So, I kept trying to push him to help me, or to at least spend some time with me or to talk with me again. His response from that was to completely ignore me. Then, one day, as I was helping paint some at church, we had a couple of minutes alone time. He came up to me and said he wanted to talk for a minute. I thought good, but then he began talking about a lot of things that I honestly just took a lot of offense to. He basically told me he thought I was irresponsible and immature, and afraid of growing up. I can't say he was wrong on everything he told me, but on a few things I believe he was absolutely wrong. And I felt very hurt by that whole conversation. I felt like he was judging me, that he didn't really care about me, and the three months of constant avoidance which followed only seemed to back up those perceptions. I felt rejected, betrayed, and abandoned by the one person in my life who I thought would be the most understanding.

I felt terrible. And I just wished like crazy I'd never told him. I hated the way I felt around him. I hated that I'd spent all that energy and effort to tell him something so private and personal, and there seemed to be nothing positive at all to come about as a result of that. I ended up quiting church for awhile, because I just couldn't stand being around him. In April and May, I left every church service I attended literally crying my eyes out. I just wished so much that I'd never told him anything, that I could go back and forget all about telling him.

I'm back in church now. I've went the last four Sundays. I've tried to not hold a grudge. I've tried to forgive and forget and move on, and pretty much pretend that there never was anything awkward between us.

But I don't have any sort of relationship with me preacher now. I don't feel the way about him I used to. I wish that I did though. I wish things could be like they used to be. But that isn't the case. Neither of us know, I suppose, how to talk with each other. So we don't really. If he ever does bring up anything from before, I think I'll probably tell him to forget about it. That I don't want or need his help anymore. Telling my preacher has been one of the biggest setbacks I've had with overcoming homosexuality. Does that sound bad to anyone else? I mean, I know I'd planned on telling other people. I'd planned on asking others for help. My parents in particular. But after his somewhat negative response, those plans just went to the wayside. I don't know if I'll ever tell anyone else close to me again. I don't want to ruin anymore relationships.

I'm tired now. I know I haven't written this post the way I wish I could have, or would have liked to. My minds moving faster in thought than my hands are with writing. I just keep thinking about how I wish so many things could be different. I wish my life could be different. I wish I didn't have all the regrets I have. I wish some people could be more understanding.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Center of Your Life

Last Sunday, we had a guest speaker at the church I attend who was speaking on behalf of Men For Christ. In one of the handouts he gave us was the following:

Center of the Bible

What is the shortest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 117. What is the longest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 119. Which chapter is in the center of the Bible? Psalm 118. There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118. There are 594 chapters after Psalm 118. Add these numbers and you get 1188. What is the center verse in the Bible? Psalm 118:8. The next time someone says they would like to find God's perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word!

"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man."

Now, isn't that odd how this worked out (or was God in the center of it?).

Isn't that remarkable, that the center verse of the entire Bible should be that we trust in God. That pretty much sums up everything, doesn't it? When we trust in God, and put our faith in Him, everything is better. At least that's how it is for me.

Point in case: I've recently been trying to resist the temptation to masturbate. I've always felt it was wrong of me to masturbate. Mostly because that particular activity, for me, usually involves rather lustful thinking. But also because I've resorted to masturbation as a means of relieving stress, anger, frustrations, depression, loneliness, or just about any other negative feeling I've ever had. I've done that as a means to escape, to flee into a world of fantasies where all there is is me feeling loved and accepted by other men. Problem is, I know that's just a counterfeit. It isn't real. And in having those thoughts, I usually end up feeling guilty and ashamed, because I know I shouldn't think of other men like that. But also, because in having those thoughts, I tend to feel rather non-manly myself. I begin to think negatively about myself. So, I try to resist.

In the past, masturbation has been my drug. I did that as a means of feeling better. I relied on that for immediate gratification. I put my trust in it to feel better. But that trust was foolish. Any enjoyment from masturbation is short lived. That is, unless you give into it all the time. And if you do that, you're simply waisting your life away. I'll admit, I've waisted a lot of my life away to it. Rather than trusting in God as I should have, I turned to something of my own doing to help me feel better, and that never works. There's nothing lasting by that. I should have trusted in God to help me feel better.

Here lately, in trying to resist, I've tried to do just that, to turn to God and to trust in Him above all else. I'd rather God be my drug any day as opposed to something I know won't ever truly satisfy me. Doing that, I feel better so much longer. I feel closer to God, I feel better about myself, and... well... it's all better. But it's the same with everything else. When God is the center of our lives, everything is better. When other things, or other people, are the center of our lives, nothing is as good. That's because all those other things can let you down. They never fulfill what they promise. But with God... God always delivers. He loves us and cares for us, and when we turn to Him and put our trust in Him, he helps us like nothing else can.

So, is God the center of your life, or are you just waisting time?

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Sometimes I get to thinking too much. I think about all the things I've done in the past, all the things that's going on now in the present, and all the things I'd like to see happen in the future. I seem to think about everything. My mind wanders and I think about so much that it just overwhelms me sometimes. I worry. I stress out. I get depressed and guilt ridden sometimes. I become afraid, and sometimes even panicked.

Earlier today I began thinking about something I did a long time ago. I did something, which I've tried for a long time now to block out and forget. As I was driving out town earlier, and thinking, I was suddenly reminded of what that was. And I thought about that. It didn't take much to make me want to start vomiting. I very nearly did. I just felt sick at my stomach and began thinking, how could you have done that?! Now, I'll admit that I'm talking about something of a sexual nature here. I was so young when I was with that other guy. Sad thing is, he was two years younger than me at the time. I think that makes it all the worse. I feel like I should have known better. But then again, looking back, I see just how stupid I really was about so many things. He did things I know he didn't want to do, and vice verse. I did certain things I didn't really want to do. We were both stupid. But does that justify anything? I don't know. Probably not. We still had choices and we both made the wrong ones.

Why can't I let go of the past? I know God forgives me for whatever I did. I've asked him to at least a thousand times, and I know he forgave me the very first time. So, why does this haunt me? I know why. It's because of this nagging feeling that if I'd only done things differently in the past, things would perhaps be so much better now, here in the present. I might have spared myself years of guilt and regret, and hating myself to the point of desperately wishing to end my life. I very nearly did once. No, I don't think I want to think about that right now.

And then I think of better things. I talked with my counselor the other day, and he said something that really has stuck with me. He said, "I don't think of you as being gay at all. And neither does God. You're not gay. You're a heterosexual male who just happens to struggle with homosexual feelings, but that's not who you are." When he told me this, I felt so good. It felt good that he didn't judge me. It felt good that he would try to see me as God sees me, even knowing all the horrible things I've told him I've done. He hasn't judged me, and that's so wonderful to know. But it's a little baffling as well. He knows I've done all these gay things and everything else, but he refuses to think of me that way. God bless him, because he's right. Just because I've done those things doesn't mean I should label myself as such and put that upon myself.

I think back to my childhood. Why wouldn't my dad spend more time with me? Why couldn't I have had more social involvement with other kids? Why couldn't I have done all those things all the other guys always talk about having done when they were little? Why did so much have to be the way it was?

Questions, questions, and questions upon questions. One thought after another. I feel sometimes like my mind is literally spinning in circles. I keep trying to figure things out and I suppose I'm simply analyzing everything half to death as well. And now I'm just rambling... my mind keeps wandering.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

For All Those Interested

For all those interested in a good read... refer to Rik Fleming's latest post on his blog Journal Of A Struggling Christian, entitled Am I An Arsenokoitai? This post refers to identity and certain terms and phrases used in the Bible, which relate to homosexuality. All I can say is, "Good job, Rik."

For all those wanting more... read Joe Dallas' Desires In Conflict. This was the first book I read when I began trying to overcome homosexuality. I can't tell you how much hope this book gave me. It helped me understand why I might have became attracted to other men, but also why I should care to change those attractions, and how to change those attractions. It's a good first book for anyone looking to leave the homosexual lifestyle.

For all those who can't stop reading and won't... read Jeff Konrad's You Don't Have to Be Gay. This was the second book I read dealing with overcoming homosexuality. The format of the book is in the style of letters written from Konrad to his friend Mike. It's Konrad's testimony of how he overcame homosexuality. And let me tell you, Konrad fills this book so full of hope and encouragement. The way it's written, it's so easy to imagine that Konrad isn't writing to his friend Mike, but to yourself. It's personal and intimate on such a wonderful level. And to beat all, you sense how familiar and sympathetic Konrad is to the struggles of overcoming something like this. Not to shadow a quote from Bill Clinton, but you can tell Konrad feels your pain. It's the same he's felt himself. I've read this book twice now and will probably read it again sometime down the road.

For all those who are serious about overcoming homosexuality... here's one more excellent book for you: Growth Into Manhood, by Alan Medinger. If you've struggled with feeling manly or feeling as though you belong among other men, then this is definitely a must read. There's one particular section in that book where Medinger talks about letting go of your past and allowing Jesus to grow you up. And he paints such a lovely picture of Jesus carrying him on his shoulders as a child and showing him off to all around. Another picture he gives is you, as an adult, taking your child self and handing him over to Jesus. Your child self takes hold of Jesus' hand and the two go walking off until you can no longer see them. Then, Jesus puts his arm around your shoulder, there He is, and you and Jesus go walking off down that same path. He's going to help you. Isn't that beautiful? It's wonderful!

And now a word of advice... whatever you do, don't start down the path of trying to overcome whatever sin is in your life and decide to give up. Keep falling forward. Reach out to others for help. Keep pursuing God. Pray like you've never prayed before. Whatever you do, just find help and don't give up--no matter how hard the struggle!

Reading was one of my first big helps. Reading is anonymous for when you're too scared to reach out to others for help. Reading is something you can keep going back to whenever you start wondering whether or not you understood something right the first time around. Reading can give you quick and immediate help and from several different viewpoints and sources.

For all those interested in wanting to know God... read your Bible, pray, and ask Jesus to come into your life. When you do those three things... everything else will fall into place as it should. That, of course, is the best help you could ever have.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

So This Is How God Works

I'd been skipping church the last couple of months. I had a lot of reasons for this. One, I told my preacher late last August that I struggled with homosexuality. I asked him for help several times, and I just didn't particularly care for his way of trying to help me. He basically avoided me for two or three months and then tried to tell me how immature he thought I was. Not to imply that he wasn't accurate about a few things, because he was. Problem is, I asked him for help, for support, for some words of encouragement. All I got from him was a lot of judgemental hooey, and things just got really awkward between us. I felt so bad about this that I literally left church crying every Sunday from late March until late May. Besides having some harsh feelings toward my preacher, I also had began feeling as if their was no help or hope for me at my church. And as if that wasn't bad enough, I had also began wondering if God really cared about me. Why, if He did, would He allow me to find no help in the church He had placed me in? As a result of all those bitter feelings, I made a decision to quietly withdraw from church.

Some people would say this is a really dumb thing to do. Some may even say it's a sinful thing to do. I'm not sure I agree though. I didn't turn away from God during this time. If anything, I clung onto God with all that I had. Just because a person doesn't go to church, it doesn't mean that they're Godless, or living a life of sin. In my two months absence, I have prayed a lot. I have talked to others about Christ. I have read my Bible. I got hooked on listening to Christian songs on K-Love. I have tried earnestly not to give into certain temptations the devil has held me so captive to. I signed up for and am still involved in taking the Door of Hope course from Setting Captives Free. I've thrown away all the pornography I had left. I've tried very hard to forgive my preacher and to let go of any bad feelings I'd had for him. I feel as if I've humbled myself somewhat before the Lord as well. I know I'm nothing without Him. Overall, I think a lot of positive things have been happening for me lately in my Christian walk of life.

However, I'd missed being in church. I'd missed singing hymns. I'd missed taking communion. I'd missed being in the company of other Christians. I'd missed hearing sermons and being in Sunday School. I'd missed so many things about being in church. I missed the warmth I used to feel and the closeness I felt to God when there.

Throughout the last couple of weeks I'd been feeling more and more a desire to get back in church. I didn't make it last week. And I felt bad about that. I felt that God had wanted me to go. I'd wanted to go. But I had talked my way out of it. So, I prayed a few times throughout this last week for God to help me to go to church this week. Last night, however, I began dredging up some of those old feelings for my preacher. I knew it was just Satan's little way of trying to keep me from going this morning, but I still let that make up my mind not to go. So, I went to bed last night with plans to sleep in this morning.

I woke up today by rolling off the edge of my bed. I caught myself and sat up, noticing the time on the clock. It was the time I would normally have gotten up to go and get ready for church. I laid back down for a few minutes and found myself unable to think about anything other than how I'd prayed for God to help me. I couldn't get that out of my mind. So, I figured this was God's work, and that He wanted me to get on up, get ready, and get to church. And that's just what I did.

The first person I met as I walked through the doors was my preacher. I was so glad to see him. We talked for a minute or two, and none of that old awkwardness was there. I didn't care that he'd judged me. I was just glad to see him. I'd missed him something terribly the last couple of months. After all, this is the man who taught me more about the Bible and about Jesus Christ than any other man I've known. This is the man whom I'd prayed would return to our church after having left so many years ago. With God's help, I've forgiven him. Now, by saying that, I don't mean there aren't still some hurts there. I wish he would have helped me. I wish he'd have not judged me, but had reached out to me and embraced me, sent me an encouraging note, or anything other than what he did. But those hurts don't outweigh the fact that this man has done so much for me in other ways, and I'm called as a Christian to forgive those who hurt me and to love them anyway. It feels good to do that. I'm glad I went to church this morning. Even though a lot of other things had been improving, this was something I'd definitely been missing. I think it was good for me to be out of church for awhile. I think I did need that. I needed the time off to think. But I know it was time to go back.

I didn't fall out of bed this morning. I was pushed. God pushed me out of bed. He woke me up, filled my mind, and guided me through the doors of the church where He wanted me to be. I listened to a really good sermon, I worshipped with other believers, and I felt so very close to God this morning.

God, thanks for helping me!