swish and flick (and introspect)

I hate coming face to face with questions to which I have no answer, questions that back me up against the cold, brick wall of my limited wisdom and demand something I cannot provide. But it’s an inevitable human experience, I guess. This summer left me with a few haunting thoughts that have continually defied my attempts at mental exorcism, becoming mildly disruptive squatters in my little thought world.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if a powerful wizard (let’s say Albus Dumbledore, to add some fabulous irony) came to me and said he could, without fail, cast a spell that would make me attracted to women. Would I accept? Decline? Stand there like some dazed fool, unable or unwilling to speak?

Probably the latter.

As if the relentless indecision weren’t enough, I’m not sure if my inability to decide is, well, sinful… especially because, if forced, I think I would turn Dumbledore down. I think I would choose to remain as I am, and for reasons that are solid as iron or flimsy as wet paper, depending on the day and hour.

I’ll spare you all the angst-ridden back and forth. It mostly comes down to whether or not the fact that I am content with who I am, at peace with the life God has called me to live, and excited about what ministry opportunities may lay before me as a Christian who happens to be attracted to the same sex, is enough to justify the fact that I can no longer categorize my desires as “unwanted” (which is the standard language of most conservative churches). The counselors drove home, again and again, the point that I hadn’t really done all that much to remove the “unwanted desires.” They were so sincere, so certain that proper biblical counseling would produce results as surely as a wave of a wand, that it is hard not to at least wonder…… In the heated moment their stream of words merely flowed past me. But, you know, given time, water can bore a hole through a mountain, and they have been swirling around my brain for a while now.

So I have to ask myself, why would I be so hesitant to take Dumbledore up on his kindly offer (aside from wanting to spite him for his refusal to invite me to Hogwarts)? It’s not that I think I have to be gay for God to use me, teach me, grow me, reveal himself to me in powerful ways… It’s just that he has done all of that through my experiences of being same-sex attracted, and it’s terrifying to think of that changing.

Maybe it’s that I’m exceptionally afraid of becoming a stranger to myself, exceptionally afraid of losing that which often feels like the only thing that makes me worth listening to, exceptionally afraid of all that would change, or just exceptionally afraid of not being exceptional. No, not “maybe,” I’m definitely afraid even though I know there is nothing to fear, and that makes me wonder if a new idol has been carved from the stone of my heart.

But what idol, exactly, and how shall it be torn down? God give me wisdom (or a bird formation that spells out the answer in the air, whichever).

Perhaps these are the wrong questions. One of my mentors certainly suggested I put these to rest and focus instead on the reality of what God has placed in front of me now – trusting that the truth will bloom before me on the path of faith and draw me ever onward. I think he’s right, and I think it’s not always so easy.

There’s more, there’s always more, but I’m going to drive myself crazy if I try to keep qualifying and nuancing everything like I want. There’s no real point to this; these are simply the things that have been occupying my attention recently; please feel free to comment with advice or different perspectives. I first started digging into these questions hoping to arrive at sturdy conclusions upon which I could rest, but I’m beginning to suspect they’re the kind of questions that are worth asking not because I’ll arrive anywhere, but because they urge me on in the process of sanctification like some kind of holy gadfly.

But then again, maybe I’m just wrong.

Jordan

P.S. Thought I’d include a simple reminder that God is good and he loves you relentlessly. That’s all.

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11 thoughts on “swish and flick (and introspect)

  1. I think I understand this. At one point I was asked that if I would go back and time and save my father from cancer (he died when I was eight). As much as I would want him to be alive right now, I don’t know if I could bring him back. Who I am is a product of that tragedy. Willing him back to life would be willing myself a different person–which I don’t know if I could do or had the right to do.

  2. I think it all boils down to the fact that we don’t really know what is best for us. If, on the other hand, you are actively pursuing God’s will for you by doing whatever’s right for you to do in the moment, it becomes clear in time. I’m working that out in my own life right now; not sure what God’s ultimate will is for me regarding a long-standing relationship, so I’m trying to focus on doing “the next right thing” (going to work, washing the dishes, getting together with a friend) and let Him worry about it, because I don’t know.

    I find that anything I become obsessively worried over is not helpful. 😉

    • I think I’m at a similar place. I’ve just kind of decided that I’m going to keep seeking after God and serving him relentlessly in all that is before me, and trust he will make things clear in time. It’s a bit of a gamble, though, and I’m prepared to really throw myself on his forgiveness. I know how I feel about times when friends who are obviously in sinful behavioral patterns tell me they are simply waiting for God to convict them. I don’t think it’s the same thing, but there are plenty of people who do.

      Thanks for the wisdom!

      Jordan

      • I think there’s three possible responses to difficult problems like this: worrying, ignoring (what the “sinful behavioral patterns” person is doing), and WAITING. With waiting, there’s none of the anxiety, because we know God will work it out, but there’s also an expectancy, an active searching for the right answer. You sound like you’re moving toward waiting and away from worrying. Man, that question certainly messes with me too though, when I think about it!

  3. I loved this post. I’ve had a lot of the same anxieties before. Is it idolatry to recognize that our experiences have made us who we are? I don’t think so, so long as we recognize that it’s God who ordained those experiences and brought us to them (and through them) for a reason. My homosexuality, to me, refers more to my past and the experiences I’ve gone through, even if it doesn’t define my day-to-day present. (I’m celibate, after all. At a certain point you can’t keep talking about all the sex you’re not having.)

    I actually had a lot more to say, but it ended up becoming a blog post in and of itself. Thanks for inspiring me to write more, and I made sure to link you! God bless.

    • But there is just *so much sex* that I’m not having! Endless opportunity for conversations!

      Nah man, I feel you. Your post was great by the way – thanks for adding to the reflections.

      Jordan

  4. Reading this post I noticed something. You wrote “one of my mentors.” You are very blessed. More than one mentor. I wish I had one. Remember how blessed you are. Eddie

    • Hi Eddie!

      Yes, I am unbelievably blessed. Two mentors with whom I met weekly and a few others on the side. More than almost anything I attribute my growth at Wheaton to their influence. I miss them all terribly.

      I hope you find a good one. If you like your church (which I pray you do), maybe ask the pastor if anyone in the congregation would be willing to meet with you regularly. You never know!

      Peace, brother.

      Jordan

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