If you remember in my post Use Your God Tools I shared that postmodernists have a mindset of, I rule my own life . . . Truth is relative . . . If it feels good, do it . . . Human experience and feelings trump reason and truth. In Invest I stated that a person who experiences the unmet needs of the four As (Attention, Affection, Affirmation and Acceptance) from their same-sex parent can be driven to get those needs met in illegitimate ways. These factors are contributors to how people perceive themselves and may lead to same-sex attractions.
In my journey to resolve my faith and sexuality, I have also seen that one’s identity is impacted by: childhood environment, life experiences, temperament, choices and perceptions. Ultimately one’s perceptions have the most influence about who they believe themselves to be. For example, I am a tom-girl, a natural-born leader, and very forthright in personality. My foster-mother was a reserved woman who always wore a dress and rarely spoke with me. It was as if we spoke a different language, living in two separate worlds under the same roof. Subconsciously I didn’t believe I belonged in the world of girls and women and felt much more at ease in the world of boys and men.
In addition, I received mixed messages from both of my foster parents concerning my gender. One predominant message was that I was supposed to be a boy. Even more alienating and painful for me to hear were the words, “You’re not a boy.” I felt less than and other than by not being a boy. I strove to be as good as, smart as and fast as the boys in my world. By the time I reached puberty I considered myself equal to boys and eventually men. Yet I lacked acceptance from the two people raising me. As I entered into junior high I became alienated from the majority of boys and girls—which in turn further affirmed the message that I was “other than” everyone else.
Adding to my inner conflict and confusion, I was attracted to other girls. Additionally, I had begun to hang out with high schoolers and college-age students. Eventually, I found myself in a circle of gay women who openly accepted me as one of their own and from that point forward I saw myself as one of them.
From age 15-22 I encountered a group of Christians who accepted me as a person and I even ventured into a para-church organization for a few years. While I didn’t act on my desires and attractions, my sexuality didn’t escape the notice of key leadership who confronted me and pressured me into false remorse and repentance for my desires. This fed the “other than” beast growing within, to the point that I abandoned God and Christianity altogether, fully embracing my identity as a lesbian.
By this I mean my sexual identity became the driving force in my life. My attractions and desires defined my personhood. I was also driven by a deep need for acceptance and began to voice that need with an in-your-face type of attitude about my sexuality. I became “out loud and proud,” and I mandated both acceptance and respect, to the point of promoting gay rights and marriage equality. It wasn’t enough to be surrounded by people who were like me in the LGBT community; I needed the world at large to see me as their equal and to be treated fairly and with respect. This led to a sense of entitlement and intolerance for those who didn’t accept and affirm my sexual identity.
It is my hope in sharing from my personal experience that my readers will get a glimpse into the “authentic self” mentality. Our gay-identified friends and family are driven by unmet needs and perceptions. In reality, their greatest need is not to resolve their faith and sexuality; their foremost need is for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. From personal experience, as my relationship with Jesus has grown, so has my desire to become more like Him. This in turn, is what placed me on the journey to resolve my faith and sexuality.
To my great delight, I have experienced that Jesus can satisfy my deepest needs and longings. I accept that my attractions and desires may not change this side of heaven, but I can surrender them to the One who calls me to live for Him. Equally so, I am at peace that if it is God’s plan for me to be in a relationship with a man, then He will change my desires.
May I encourage you to keep Jesus at the center of your relationships with your gay-identified friends and family. Our greatest need, whether gay or straight, is our need for a savior who can save us from ourselves. I am living proof that God can change a person from the inside out.
Pray with me: Lord, draw our loved ones to a relationship with You. Give us wisdom as we navigate life with them. Give us grace, understanding and compassion as we walk beside them. Let the hope within us draw them to You.