As I said in my last post, my faith and identity became a crisis. I wrestled with the subject of my sexual identity for almost three years. To me, changing my identity was as impossible as changing the natural color of my eyes. The thought of surrendering my identity caused anguish to run deep within me, my emotions ranging from sorrow to rage. I related to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-29. Verses 21 & 22 stand out to me—here they are in the Message:
21 “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.” 22 That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
In reading this, I began to understand it was not the thing that mattered, i.e. sexuality, as much as the value one places on the thing. For the rich young ruler it was his possessions that mattered most to him. For me it was my sexuality and my perceived entitlement to identify as a lesbian. In other translations of the Bible, the word “crestfallen” is translated as “sorrowful.” The Greek word lypeō means “to be affected with sadness and grief” and “be made uneasy.” Like the young ruler, I was experiencing the grief of letting go of the thing I valued the most: my personhood.
Then it hit me: I was struggling about my need to be right about being born gay with the “The One” who created me. While I may not have had a choice about my attractions and desires, I did have a choice about surrendering this aspect of myself to my creator. Would I let my pride and ego stand in the way? Once again, Christopher Yuan’s profound question “If Jesus could surrender His sexuality for us, why couldn’t we surrender sexuality to Him?” haunted me! Would I walk away like the rich young man and reject Jesus?
At this point I knew this was the most crucial decision I would ever make. I faced a life of self-denial and singlehood. I knew I would be a social outcast to other gay-identified people—no light matter, as these were my people and my community. Although I had new Christian friends I still felt like an outsider through no fault of theirs. The weight of this choice weighed so heavily on me that at times I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want to lose the peace that lived within me. I knew that this was an all-or-nothing choice. If I rejected God’s call to surrender the thing that mattered most to me, I would walk away from Him as well. For a brief moment I could see the darkness that would engulf me if I walked away and chose my own way. It felt like death and torment. With that, I chose life and surrendered my sexuality to God. There was no major switch in my attractions, yet I sensed a seismic wave erupting within me.
Thanks for following my journey, your comments are welcome.