becoming israel

moving forward part 2
November 17, 2010, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is about what I learned at Exodus, too but I couldn’t quite break it down in bullet point form. If I had to choose 2, they’d be:

  • God calls us to lean into Him for what we need.
  • Idolatry happens when you look to get what only God can give you from something else and when you make what is “good” the “ultimate” in your life.

One concern I had in preparing for Exodus was the abundant amount of possible temptation I could possibly run into. It was a conference full of people who struggle with the same thing I do and I’d be spending a lot of time talking, eating, learning and even rooming with other women who struggled with SSA (same-sex attraction). I addressed the rooming situation with them before I went and it turned out completely fine.  A lot of prayer goes into the rooming situations, in case you were wondering…because I was. 🙂

I don’t think I realized how green I was to living with SSA until I met so many women at Exodus who were so much further ahead in their journey than I was. I was pretty young compared to most of the people I met, it seemed. So when I made a new friend, M, I was excited to get to know someone closer to my age who I felt like had a similar story to mine. I immediately recognized that this was a situation that I might possibly be tempted, so I tried very hard to stay self-aware and let my SGL know. Still, however, I started having feelings for M.

That made me really frustrated and mad because I didn’t want to be “that girl” who falls for a girl at gay camp or the predatorial girl who was looking for someone to pounce on. I struggled with it intensely and did my best to put some distance between us but, at the same time, I was really upset that I’ve finally met a well-balanced person who identifies with me and who I clicked with and it was getting all screwed up.

During worship the 3rd morning, I ended up sitting by M and was really trying to focus on what God wanted to teach me in this but I kept getting distracted. I turned into a 6th grader who wonders if the person sitting next to me meant to accidentally brush my hand with theirs to send some sort of sign that she, too, was thinking what I was (was I the only 6th grader who did that? maybe i was…). As we stood for the final worship song that morning, I could physically feel myself leaning toward M with some sort of desperate hope that she’d be leaning toward me too. At the same time, I could feel and hear God saying “Why are you leaning toward what you know can’t fulfill you? I can fulfill you. I am steady. I am with you always. Lean on me. Press into me.”

Don’t we all do this to some aspect? We lean on our finances or relationships or social status to give us what we think will fulfill us. All the while, knowing that God is the only one who can satisfy. My pastor recently defined an idol as “something you look to give you what only God can.” At that moment, I was making a relationship with M my idol instead of worshiping God, literally.

Ultimately, I felt myself get weaker and weaker in my attempt to leave M alone in my thoughts and I confided in one of the the women both of us had spent some time with. Before I told her, I was literally shaking and super-emotional. Looking back now, I don’t think I was so upset because of what was tempting me. I was upset because I didn’t want to let it go. I was fighting the confession because what I didn’t confess, I could keep in my mind and live there when I wanted to. The woman, who was one of those who was much much further along in her journey, pretty much recognized how I was feeling before I ever told her and she gave me some very encouraging words and prayed with me.

I ended up talking to one other woman who gave more encouraging words and I am so thankful I had those people near me when I felt so weak and confused and frustrated. I’m also extremely thankful that I can still keep in touch with them and get advice when I need it. Since Exodus, M and I have kept in touch a little bit but ultimately she’s distanced herself quite a bit and I’ve had to deal with that on my own. Being the codependent people-pleaser that I am, I’ve wanted to reach out and apologize for something. I’m not even sure what I’d apologize for. I never put her in a compromising position or told her how I felt (apparently, that’s kind of like the golden rule at Exodus…don’t tell another struggler that you struggle with them…makes sense). I think any attempt at an apology would just be an excuse to bring up a bunch of stuff that doesn’t need to be brought up with her.

After taking some time to really think about M and how I felt about her, etc., I came to the conclusion that my feelings for her were the devil’s way of getting me unfocused at Exodus. My pastor uses another phrase when talking about idols, saying that “idolatry happens when we make what is good, ultimate.” That’s what I did with M. She and I had some really great conversations about my journey and she wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions and be painfully honest with me. I think there was a lot of room there for a really genuine, honest, accountable friendship with M, but I feel like I pretty much ruined that opportunity when I made her “ultimate” because I thought she was cute or whatever. I made other friendships at Exodus that were very similar and they were and are just fine and healthy. They are good things that I don’t place above my relationship with God.

Reflecting on all of this has made me realize that the devil attacks when God is up to something in my life. When I feel weak or tempted or doubtful about this whole journey, I have to step back and wonder what good work God is trying to do in my life that’s grabbed the devil’s attention. I don’t know if this is theologically accurate and I’m not claiming that this is the cure for all of my struggles, but it does give a little hope – which I need as much as I can get these days. Learning to focus on what God has in store for my life takes so much effort. But the good and great things that came out of Exodus have proven to me that it’s worth the effort.


3 Comments so far
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i just wanted to let you know that this blog really touches me and makes me think.
it touches me because, i see the love for God that you have, the desire to love God that you have.
i think that is where it all begins, huh?
hope that you keep on going, wherever it takes you-

Comment by esther

I have read several of your posts and I am riveted. Please forgive me for this being quite long, but I have so much to say. In my Psychology Masters program I did my thesis on the inner-struggles of homosexuality and Christianity and merging these both seemingly contradictory identities. I found that the majority of those who have been in Exodus programs feel great, relieved, and supported for the first few years due to knowing others with the same problem, then around 3-5 years afterward, they begin to feel intense struggle when they realize that these same-sex feelings are not going anywhere no matter how hard you have been faithful and prayed. You can become overwhelmed with guilt and foster self-hatred and even commit suicide feeling there is no way out. As a lesbian and a Christian (it is possible to be both), I do not agree with the psychological impact that these programs have on giving up your natural identity of who you love. ALTHOUGH, I do believe that you specifically have been called by God to celibacy for a reason. It appears that maybe God has plans for you that would not be possible if you were to be clouded by the emotions and distractions of being in a relationship (with a woman or even a man-if you had been heterosexual.) I still encourage you to research the original texts of the Hebrew and Greek language of the Bible. You will find that the 6 verses that appear to condemn homosexuality could be speaking of other things (male prostitution, rape, child molestation, etc.) when you look at the language and the cultural time in which the Bible was written. Once again, my first blog entry describes the years of research that I have done on the topic. I am compelled to leave you with just one example which does not require knowledge of ancient language but just cultural practices in Biblical times. If you look at the story of Sodom, you will notice that the visitors who accompanied Lot to Sodom were angels. Note that in this culture, it was common for men to rape other men that came into their city as a foreigner as a sign of power (similar to prison rape today.) Lot was not originally from Sodom and neither were the angels, obviously. When all the Sodomite men surrounded their dwelling place to try and have sex with them, Lot protested that it was wicked. What most Christians have completely overlooked is the fact that these were not human men, but angels! Also, this was not someone wanting to have a loving relationship, it was a group of men wanting to have sex with angels against their will, i.e rape! I can confidently say that I believe that it would be a sin to rape, whether it be men or angels. Is this verse condemning same-gender love, attraction or even sex? Or is it condemning the lust of the heart, wanting to go after “strange flesh” of the heavenly beings and dominance through rape? It makes you think. Other verses that seem so very clear in the English language, like “do not lie with a man as you lie with a woman” are also in question when you look at the Greek and Hebrew language. Please read my blog article (linked in my profile) which includes all of my years of research on this topic. I just want you to know that God loves you as you are, and it seems at this point, He has called you to celibacy to do His work, but this may not be because your love for the same-sex is evil and must always be avoided. Continue to lean on Him and please pray for discernment between the word of misguided man and the words of God on your heart. Not everything is as how it seems. I pray that God blesses you and I pray that you will do His work and feel free from the bondage of this inner-struggle.

Comment by moanti (moe·on·tee)

Thanks for being so real about your journey. I also respect the opinion of Moanti. I do pray that you don’t feel bondage or burdened in your journey. I do think that female-with-male partnership and sex in a committed, trusting relationship is such a joy, spiritually and biologically. I do believe that society paints and imposes a messed up picture of what a man ought to be and what a woman ought to be. “Real men” are taught to be rugged, sports-loving and beer-drinking. “Real women” are taught to be soft, home-making and lingerie-wearing. What happens to those that don’t feel comfortable with these social norms or don’t have the physical/emotional make-up to fit into these? TV, film and music videos also paint a messed-up picture of sexual relations – males dominating females, normality of broken, disfunctional relationships and rape being sensual. We need to stand up together against these images of society and fight for love and sex that are trusting, consensually giving, free, fulfilling, mutually empowering, committed and unselfish.

Comment by Phil

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