Friday, March 9, 2012

It's Not Just About Sex

Lately, I’ve been talking about some very strong struggles going on within me. I know I’ve made myself addicted to pornography and masturbation, and that I’ve used those two things to try to ease some of the stress, loneliness, and outright depression that I’ve felt. And, to an extent, I know that I’ve felt somewhat more normal or allowed to just be myself through seeing pornography. I see other men doing things that to me just seem to be a normal thing to want. I see them and I feel less different, I guess. But I know these are two things that I want to fight, and I’ve been trying really hard to stop engaging in both over the course of the last few weeks. I’ve admittedly had some falls along the way, but I’ve also found that the longer I’ve tried, the less the desires have been to give into them.

At the same time, however, I have been taking a second look at my decision to remain celibate. This has been brought on by certain lingering doubts that have developed over the course of this last year. I’ve thought about certain various aspects of the Christian faith and wondered seriously if Christians throughout time haven’t managed to get a few things wrong now and then. I see some things that are contradictory or that just don’t make sense at all really. And so I wonder if I’ve honestly made the right decision.

I believe God loves me and will always love me no matter what I do. I believe I am saved through Christ, and that I am offered forgiveness through that faith. I know that forgiveness doesn’t mean I am free to sin without care. I do care. But I know that no matter how hard I’ve ever tried, I always manage to sin one way or another eventually. I know my only hope is through Christ. And I know in my heart He will forgive me if I get a few things wrong.

I have also disclosed the fact that I am in love with someone. I’ve loved him for going on four years now. I wish so much I could be with him. And this is not just about sex, or lust, or anything like that. I know I love him because of who he is, how much we have in common, how much I enjoy his company, how much it warms my soul just the thought of him.

A newfound friend wrote to me the other day, including an excerpt from a story by Corrie Ten Boom. In the story, Corrie was in love with a man who ended up marrying someone else, and her father gave her the advice to pray to love this man in a different way.

I’ve tried to do this myself. Sometimes it helps, but more often than not, it just makes me feel as though I’m throwing away the best thing that could ever happen to me. But I go on trying to let God lead me wherever and to whomever he sees fit.

I’m trying. That’s all I can really say right now.

In all of this, I have actually been in better spirits the last few days. For anyone who has been praying for me, I want to thank you, because I’m sure it’s helped. How much better would life be if we would all pray so much more for each other? I think it’d surprise us a lot.

7 comments:

Craig L. Adams said...

That Corrie Ten Boom story is actually quite profound. I don't think I'd heard it before, so thanks.

Anonymous said...

Brandon,

I've been reading your blog for years now and have even commented a few times (I think). What you are going through now is so so so similar to my situation that I can't help but speak up.

I think I know exactly what you are experiencing. I am in my mid/late 20s and have chosen celibacy in response to my SSA. And brother, it is lonely.

I also have fallen in love with a close friend of mine, although he is very much straight. He is one of the few people who know about my SSA, but he doesn't know about my feelings for him. I often think of how aweful it is to have to strangle and starve my love for him- forcing a love (and that is exactly what it is regardless of what others in the church say about homosexuals) to die has been excruciating and painful.

Its only gotten worse now that he's found a girlfriend and they are starting to talk about marriage. Its like being stabbed with red-hot pokers. Often times I just want to cry: straight people get to experience love and intimacy but gays shouldn't? At the end of the day though, I can't help but come back to the sincere belief that this is what God wants for me. That doesn't change the emotional reality of my life though: Its hard. And It's lonely. And it seems to not have an ending, save death.

I'm sharing all this not because I have answers for you; I don't. Rather just to let you know that you aren't alone in this forest. I do pray for you often, and know that you will pursue God as best you know to do. If that takes you into a homosexual relationship, I understand. If that keeps you on this path of celibacy, I'll understand that too. Just know that you aren't alone.

-LOSD

Brandon said...

Craig, I'm glad you were able to get something out of that story.

LOSD, thank you for commenting. I would say that I'm glad to know someone else knows what I'm going through right now, but that doesn't exactly seem like the right thing to say or think. I wish nobody ever had to know what this is like. If anything, I'm glad for your understanding and compassion. And I greatly appreciate your prayers and comforting words. I will pray for you, too, in this regard. :)

naturgesetz said...

God bless you Brandon, and you too LOSD, as you struggle to be faithful to his will for you.

Andy said...

Wow.

This is really a hard road with no answers.

I am just glad I can read about other people's experiences.

I sometimes wonder what the explanation is going to be when we get to heaven. I'd like to hear that one to be honest!

Tim said...

Hi Brandon,

I check out your blog from time to time, and have found encouragement when I've needed it in the past by reading your posts. Now, maybe I can offer a bit of encouragement in return.

Regarding your struggle with masturbation/porn, you might check out sa.org. Find a group that meets near where you live and go and see for yourself if it works for you. If it doesn't, it will only have cost you a bit of time. I spent 20 years struggling with fantasy, porn and masturbation -- never being able to resist acting out for more than a couple weeks. Since starting SA, I've experienced sobriety now for almost 5 months. For me, it has been the thing that works!

With sobriety I've also experienced a lot more clarity of thought as well, which I didn't even know to expect. I'm amazed at how dark my thoughts, feelings and motives had become as I drunk in pornography and fantasy to comfort myself.

As to your struggle with SSA and your feelings for your friend, I can only say this: do not believe the lie that your only option for intimacy is with another person (regardless of their gender). I have found that intimacy with God offers so much more than another person can ever provide. We are limited, but God is limitless. And, when we heap great expectation on another person to provide us relief, intimacy and satisfaction, we only set ourselves up for great disappointment when we come to realize how insufficient we (humans) are at providing for each others' needs. God is our true provider!

I hope this doesn't sound trite or religious-y, because I know that doesn't help. And, I respect the depth of your struggles -- I know, I've been there. I've experienced SSA for 25+ years, and I've cried out "Why THIS, God?! Why?" more times than I can count. But I've also come to a place where I've realized that there was no answer to that question that would ever satisfy -- in the same way that there is no satisfying answer to the question of why God allows a world where African warlords abduct kids and force them to kill their parents! We live in a broken world, and we're infected by its brokenness. But that is cold comfort at best. Instead I've found that taking my pain before Jesus and saying, "Jesus, I'm desperate, broken, lonely... I'm dying here! But I come to you still... please meet me here in my pain and brokenness..." has provided more comfort than anything else I've ever found. And so I go back to Jesus again and again, bringing my pain, my anguish and my suffering to His feet. And he gets it, because He has suffered like no other in history. So I can trust that He will treat my pain and my struggles and my suffering with respect -- He doesn't belittle me or tell me to "get over it" or to "man up"... No. He just responds like he did to the thief on the cross: "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise." Though Jesus was in bitter agony Himself, He was able to offer those words of comfort to the broken man who rightly saw Jesus for who He was. I believe He offers that same comfort to us today.

Hang in there Brandon... and keep looking up! Your help comes from the LORD!

Tim

Brandon said...

Tim, I'm glad you've found encouragement from me in the past. Thank you for commenting, and for giving me a bit of encouragement in return. It is much appreciated. :)