Thursday, July 24, 2008

Falling Forward

I seem to be at somewhat of a turning point in my life. I've been out of school for several years now, but I'm about to be going back. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about this. I'm excited about it, because I have been wanting to go back, but I guess I'm nervous because it's a new school (I'd went to a different one previously) and I'm still not convinced that the degree I'm going back for is the one I want. As if that wasn't enough to cause me some doubts, I may also have to quit my job in order to go. All of my classes will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I know I'll be able to change my work schedule to be off on those days, but that also means I'll have to work the rest of the days of the week and will have no days off for at least two or three months this fall. I think I can probably handle this, but I know I'm usually at my weakest when tired. It's when I'm tired that I most often give into temptations. I'm not trying to be pessimistic or negative in my thinking, but prepared. So, I've sort of mixed feelings about getting back in school.

Another turning point may be a little more spiritual in nature. I've given a lot of thought about stepping aside from a few of the leadership roles I've had at my church. I'm not yet convinced about doing this, but it's just something that's been on my mind for a while now. I get so frustrated with working on certain matters alongside some of the people at my church. I've found that when there is a conflict, I have trouble separating that from what should be the true purposes of church. I let the conflict consume me more than I should and cause me to have harsh feelings for what truly are really good people. I guess I hold a grudge. Because of that, I've seriously considered stepping aside. I've thought a lot about what church should be about and what my focus should be while there. Lately, I don't think I've been thinking of church in the right way. I've been thinking too heavily upon some of the conflicts and blocking out true worship of Jesus Christ among fellow saints. I've been thinking too negatively about the church. And so I know I either need to step aside, or figure out some other way of putting aside those negative feelings. Either choice is a hard decision to make. I've struggled some with knowing what God wants me to do about this. I feel like if I stay in the leadership roles I'm in, I'll be able to make a positive difference for a lot of people, but struggle to keep my focus on Jesus. But if I do step aside, I feel like I might feel closer to Christ and those in my church, but that I won't be able to do as much for others. So, there's my dilemma. I'm not sure which decision would bring about the most good. I just know I can't stay in this current state.

The last few weeks I have struggled a great deal with anger. Not just anger, but stress and worry as well. I've been bothered by things at church, at home, at work, and it's just all sort of overwhelmed me. I feel like there's no refuge or place I can get away. A friend at work recently told me that I'm one of those people who just bottles everything up and then finally explodes and goes off on everyone. I can see that in myself. I do tend to bottle up my emotions a great deal of the time. It's hard for me to let others know how I'm thinking or feeling. This blog has been an exercise for me in overcoming that. But I do tend to hold onto my emotions a great deal more than I should sometimes. I get frustrated with people who make dumb decisions and won't listen to any reasoning, and it angers me when their wrong decisions effect me in some negative consequence, or effects others in the same way. I find it so hard to give these sorts of feelings over to God, or to express them in healthy ways. When I get angry or frustrated or stressed, I tend to find myself not caring so much about what sins I commit. I begin to distance myself from God and others. I begin cussing like a sailor, which is something I really detest. I can't stand hearing that sort of talk from others, and it kills me how often I tend to just blurt out one of those little four-letter words without even thinking about it. I cringe practically every time I do. And I find myself giving into so many other things as well. It's just that I have a hard time working through my emotions. That's something I'm certainly going to be working more on. But in working through these things I'm hoping to improve my spiritual life some. I don't want to be holding any grudges and distancing myself from the church and those in it.

So, in short, I guess I could say that life is tough and sad and exciting and joyous and all the rest. I don't imagine that's a surprise to anyone reading. There are ups and downs to everything in this life. I guess the trick is to keep falling forward and to always place trust in God. I'm sure if I let Him, He'll lead me exactly where I'm supposed to go, and everything will work out as it should.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

If It Makes Me Happy

Why is it that when I tell people I don't want to be gay, that I don't like who I am when I act on those feelings, that I become unhappy about my life and who I am when I do, that they insist I should do those things in order to be happy? Do they refuse to listen to me when I say that I'm not happy living like that? Does it anger them that I—heaven forbid—don't just follow the gay crowd and make all that is gay sound as glamorous and good as I possibly can? Whatever the reason, I wish those who continuously insist I should just accept myself as being a gay man and go out and find myself a boyfriend would realize that that's not what will make me happy. My nature keeps drawing me toward wanting to be with another man, but I've never found any happiness from pursuing those feelings or thoughts. I find myself miserable when I do that. But I find myself happiest when I put those thoughts to the side and strive to see myself in a different light, as God sees me. That being the case, why would anyone ever think that the way for me to be happy would be for me to do what makes me unhappy? The logic of that makes no sense to me. Is it a purely political response why you'd suggest that? Or is it something else?

Perhaps it bothers some people that I actually find happiness out of not accepting myself as gay. A couple of posts back, I mentioned how much better I've felt accepting Jesus more fully into my life, and letting Him take away some of those feelings I've had. And I have to say it's puzzled me by how many people seemed to misunderstand or reject the notion of that. Did you not understand what I was saying? I've found a companion in life who is everything good and loving that can ever be. That companion is Jesus. And since I've come to this realization, I've felt better than I have in years. Maybe better than I've ever felt. I feel like I belong to someone now and I am loved. Why would I ever want to go back to the way I felt before? What good would that do me?

I have felt good lately. I know I am loved. I know I belong. I know that it doesn't matter so much that I'm different in a lot of ways from most other guys. I know my best friend is walking alongside me, always leading me, nudging me, and helping me forward in life with each breath that I take. I have something good now.

I know I've tended to use this forum as a means of letting off steam. Maybe I shouldn't do that as often, or in the same way. In my last post, I voiced my frustration concerning my preacher. It did hurt me the way he treated me. But there again, I know I shouldn't have let it hurt me the way it did. I know this man cares about me. He'd have never offered to meet with me in the first place if he didn't. I know I just get frustrated about things a lot of the time. I don't understand how to relate to people. I don't understand their actions and responses sometimes. I have trouble knowing how to interpret them. Are they joking or are they being serious? Sometimes I can't tell. So I get frustrated, and mostly with myself. I get angry somewhat easily as well and I know I certainly overreact at times. I tend to be a glass is half full sort of person, and I tend to take everything personally. I know that none of that sort of thinking does me any good.

I know that I have so much to be positive about. I have so much to be thankful for. I have friends to spend time with. I have a family, and I know they love me. I have a church where I can make a difference and the Lord can use me for His own purposes. But the thing I'm most thankful for, most happy about, what makes me happy, is that I have Jesus in my life. I feel so much love and hope and joy and excitement, and all those bad feelings leave me whenever I just keep my focus on Him. I've felt so much at peace lately about who I am. And no matter what anybody else says, I know I'll be happiest following Jesus. He makes me happy. And He makes me a better person. He helps me resist temptations. He gives me patience and understanding. He calms me down and helps me to think better thoughts and to be more positive and hopeful in life.

Now let me explain something. I don't want anyone to think that I've found happiness by masturbating to the thought of Jesus or any other sort of nonsense like that. What I've been trying to say is that I feel like I belong to someone now. I feel like I have a partner in this life. I'm not alone. And with that being the case, why would I need a romantic relationship with anyone else? What would be the point? I can tell Jesus anything and know I can trust Him. I can always count on His love for me. I can always count on Him to comfort me and help me. I can spend any amount of time I want with Him. He never rejects me. He never pushes me away. He never abuses me. The most intimate relationship I've ever had with anyone is with Him. And if I'm crazy for feeling this way, well at least I'm happy in my craziness. I don't regret it. I can honestly say it's the best thing that's ever happened to me—to be crazy for Jesus.

And just one more thing, concerning this blog. The purpose of this blog is not to tear people down, or anything else like that. I write this blog, mostly, to help me process some of my thoughts or feelings. I write this blog to help me keep from bottling everything up. But I also write it because I want other people who share in similar struggles to know that they're not alone. I want other people to have a place where they can find community, understanding, and reassurance of God's love for them. And now I'll ask, is that really such a bad thing? Is it a bad thing if people find something good out of this blog that helps them to live a better life? And is it wrong for me to find happiness in following Christ and letting Him take control of my life? I don't think so.