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.

29 comments:

Jay said...

I think the happiness argument can be a tricky one. For example, celibacy hasn't always made me happy. Sometimes it can get downright depressing. By the same token, I was very happy with my boyfriend and probably would have stayed happy with him.

The point of going through this and leaving that is not that we'll be happier here (though one can certainly hope and work to achieve contentment). It's that this is what's right and pleasing to God.

Brandon said...

Jay, my point was that I believe acting out on my homosexual desires is sin. I can't seem to escape that no matter what I do. So whenever I act on my desires to want to be with another man, I can't escape this feeling that I'm doing something wrong. Even if in some ways acting out on those feelings makes me feel good or makes me happy, following God and abstaining from acting out on them makes me feel even better. At least overall.

But you're right, being celibate is lousy sometimes. It can get depressing, no doubt about it. But my point is that the same can be said for not being celibate. So, the choice is whether to follow God as you think is best and find contentment and happiness in Him, or the alternative, which, at least for me, seems to always draw me away from God. I guess what I'm getting at is that I'd rather be happy with God than to be happy without him. I'd rather be depressed in my loneliness, than to be depressed in my "sinning".

Does that make any sense?

Maybe you're onto something when talking about contentment. I find more contentment by turning more closely to God and not acting out on my homosexual desires than I do by giving into them, which always makes me feel distanced from God.

Brandon said...

I might just add that that last line of yours is certainly the key to all of this. Knowing, or believing, that I'm doing what is pleasing to God brings me much happiness.

Learner Man said...

I suppose part of what it is all about is finding contentment in God and nothing else. I think that 'acting out' whether it be sexually or even emotionally with someone else can mask the need to turn to God. We might find temporary satisfaction in the relationship or sexual act, that masks our need to find happiness / contentment / satisfaction / completeness in God alone.

I think this could be true of many people - even married heterosexual couples for whom the relationship with one another takes precedence over that with God as the learn to not need God because sex or emotional bonds can mask their need for God, shoving Him to second place - or further down the list.

You might as well say to a heterosexual person, "Your sexual desire is part of who God made you to be, so just sleep with whoever you want to..."

However it all comes down to mankind's desire to find satisfaction and contentment by himself, avoiding the need for God.

otrolado said...

I definitely think you should not be worrying about what other people think. People are always quick to tell others what is best for them. If you are happier being single, then stay single. You can't please everyone and at the end of the day it is your relationship with God that is the most important thing. Good luck.

ewe said...

you use god as a political tool. you just said your point is that being gay is a sin. You are full of nonsense. You say you feel bad when you act out your true feelings. It does not seem to be your true feelings that bother you as much as your behavior. You are a victim of religious terrorism. work on you shame for goodness sake. You know i correct that last statement. It is guilt you feel not shame. I know what shame feels like and whenever i have ever felt shame i fucking change immediately, quietly and without an ounce of fanfare. you feel guilt because guilt is what you are feeding off. guilt is what makes you feel good. guilt makes you feel alive. I feel sorry for you and the dilemma you have created. It is not new. It is not unique. It is up to you to work through your feelings that are a result of societal expectations and ignorance that have been incorrectly ingrained into all of us and it is up to you to recognize it is damaging to you as a gay person whether you wanna say and admit you are gay or not. Brandon, you are exhausting.

ewe said...

Brandon. are you capable of hearing that there are gay men who like being gay and that they felt the same way you once did and processed those natural feelings by not fighting them? You deserve to be free of self criticism. This topic is hard enough for us with so many putting us down and condeming us to their version of hell without us doing it to ourselves. Ask god if you speak with god to lift this pain from you. the pain is not being gay, your pain is how you are dealing with it.

Anonymous said...

there is one very all important question brandon. Why? Why do you feel bad when you sleep with someone of your own sex? Answer it. stick to the question. I don't want to hear all the analysis. What is the feeling you are having because you are sexual with another guy? share your answer on that very basic thing that is making you so unhappy please. Maybe you just have not met the right guy yet?

ewe said...

that is me above as anonymous. ok over and out. i have talked enough.

ewe said...

oh hi there Jay. wink blink

RikFleming said...

"Maybe you just have not met the right guy yet?"

The Samaritan woman in The Gospel of John chapter 4 had the same philosophy. She had 5 husbands and the 6th she hadn't gotten around to marrying yet. But then she met the right man. His name?

J-E-S-U-S

ewe said...

rikfleming:
oh puke and gag. so what. You quote one passage that allegedly happened over 2000 years ago. Got anything current?

ewe said...

Rikfleming: if you hadn't noticed the topic is not about a woman. Why don't you give comprehension another chance! Your comment is dismissive and must be confronted for its stupidiy and lack of staying on topic. Brandon is discussing gay sex and how it makes him feel bad, not about being gay and certainly not about some straigh polygamous woman from ancient times. Do you have a point other than throwing the word Jesus around like its used toilet tissue?

Brandon said...

I actually liked what Rik had to say. Happiness can't be found, I don't believe, in searching for one man after another like that. Whether the person is a straight woman or a gay man. The only person who can ever completely satisfy those wants is Jesus.

But that aside. Ewe, I do not feel bad for having homosexual feelings. I'll admit, in the past--and not too distant past--I have felt bad because of that. But what I'm talking about here is that it is the behavior that makes me feel bad. Not at the time I engage in such activity, but afterward. You're right. It is guilt. I feel guilty because I believe homosexual activity is sin. I think the Bible is quit clear on this subject, and I just feel such a strong sense in my soul that it's wrong, that it's sin. I'm not saying it's a sin to be gay (to have homosexual attractions), but that to act on those attractions is sinful. And because of that thought, regardless of however good I may feel while acting on those feelings, I always feel miserable afterwards. I feel as though I've done something displeasing to God. I know I've sinned and offended Him by doing so. And I love God. I don't want to offend Him or do anything to hurt Him. That's why I feel bad, or feel that guilt.

Aside from that, I don't feel like the man God made me to be when engaging in homosexual activity. I begin acting much more feminine. And in a way, I feel emasculated. I begin feeling like I'm something I shouldn't be, and confused.

And yes, I accept that some people are happy being gay. If they are, then good for them. May God bless them.

But let me clarify something again, Ewe. I do not think being gay is a sin. I only think that acting out on homosexual feelings is sin. There is a difference there, I believe. For instance, one could say I'm gay. I like other men. But that's not sin. God would never hold that against anyone. It's only sin when one acts on those feelings.

And again, I'm not fighting anyone. I'm just sharing my thoughts. No one has to accept or believe anything I say. If you're happy, Ewe, that's fine. I'm glad you're enjoying your life. But please understand, just because some people find enjoyment or peace or whatever by accepting their homosexuality and by giving into those feelings, that doesn't mean everyone else can.

Karen K said...

Great post Brandon. I was thinking how that heaviness or guilt we may feel with sin--that sense of unhappiness is such a gift from God. Like with Word says, he sent his Spirit to convict us. Why? Because he wants it to be a turn signal to go in a way that is better for us. Like the pain receptors we have in our bodies. The pain we feel when touching a hot stove is what keeps us alive in the long run, making us remove ourselves from that which is harming us.

I have seen some ex-ex gays talk about how they are having a hard time getting past what they were taught in ex-gay circles, and that they still feel what they consider residual false guilt, and I feel sad for them because I believe they are mistakenly trying push away the very warning signal God has given them. They are ignoring their conscience.

Celibacy isn't the most fun thing in the world, but I wouldn't trade my best moments with the wonderful women I have been involved with for the peace and joy and sense of purpose in life I have now. Jesus is the best!

ewe said...

Brandon, you are not thinking anything on your own. Every word that came out of your mouth is prepackaged jargon complements of your church. If you feel bad about having sex, perhaps it is true that you are bouncing from guy to guy and i would understand that. You will not feel that way when and if you ever allow yourself to be ready to be loved by another man and love him in return. Your sex will be an expression of your closeness. It is obvious the only sex you have had with men is for yourself. You obviously feel bad about that because sex for sex sake is not what you are seeking. Having said that, it does not make sense for you to carry that further by blaming your homosexuality.

ewe said...

Karen? you "wouln't trade your best moments with women?" BRAVO. and you include Jesus too. kudos to you. I like that. Congratulations. I hope you are happy with whoever you are with or will be with if you are currently single.

ewe said...

Karen? you "WOULDN'T trade your best moments with women?" BRAVO. and you include Jesus too. kudos to you. I like that. Congratulations. I hope you are happy with whoever you are with or will be with if you are currently single.

Jay said...

Ewe: What's with the wink? I don't think we've ever interacted before, although I have seen some of your posts here, on Ex-Gay Watch, and on Alan Chambers' blog.

ewe said...

Jay: i am simply saying hello big guy. Hi. woof. wink. It's called flirting babe.

Brandon said...

Ewe, I'm more than capable of thinking for myself. I've done a lot of thinking about this, and what you've read is my thoughts or conclusions. Nobody has told me what to think, and if they did, I'd tell them I'd make up my own mind on the matter. What you read is what I believe. If it sounds like what others in the church at large believe or say, well, I'll take that as a sign of Christian unity and concordance.

And I think I've already made clear why I feel bad about giving into homosexual activity. It has nothing to do with bouncing around from one guy to the next, which I haven't. It's because I believe it's a sin to do that.

Oh, and unless I misunderstood, I think what Karen meant was that she wouldn't give up the peace and joy and sense of purpose in life she has now by being with women again. If I'm wrong, Karen, please correct me.

ewe said...

well why do you think sex is a sin?

Brandon said...

Now that's a bit of a false question. There are different kinds of sex. What I believe is that only one kind of sex is okay, and that is the kind between a married man and woman. Gay sex and any sex outside of marriage is sinful though. There are many parts of the bible that make this claim, or suggest it.

Joe said...

Brandon,

I don't think it will do you any good to respond to ewe. He/she is a bully and senses (rightly or wrongly) that you will take the bait and allow yourself to be bullied.

Take care of yourself. You have more than enough to deal with without having to fend off haters on your own blog.

ewe said...

yeah right Joe. See no evil, hear no evil may work for right wing fundamentalists but others who live their lives differently are hardly silenced so easily. Grow up. It is you who put me down first if you noticed so do not twist this around. Instead get yourself a mirror you dismissive cunt.

Brandon said...

Watch the language and keeps things civil!!! This goes for everyone. I'd hate to start deleting comments, because I honestly do dislike doing that, but I feel like I've given more than enough warning about this.

Joe, so long as a commenter isn't out to just insult or belittle, but shows some interest in actually sharing ideas, I don't mind answering their questions or discussing differences of opinion. I do appreciate your concern though. :)

ewe said...

and i appreciate you not accusing people of doing exactly what you are doing. Anytime you feel like apologizing Joe, i am here to hear it.

Kevin said...

Okay... where did this ewe person come from?

... said...

hey, how's it going brandon?
i just want to leave a comment saying that I was really encouraged by what you wrote.
too many times, i'm turned off when people say "jesus is my lover" and "He is all that I need" because it never seems real and their actions always seem to say the opposite. even though i can't see what you're doing day-to-day, the choice of words and your tone in this post seemed so authentic and true that I don't deny that you've come to a place in your faith where Jesus is everything to you. And trust me bro, you've encouraged so many people because of that! I'm happy for you man. Keep it up.