Friday, February 24, 2012
I was listening to a presentation done by someone who was sharing about the loss of their child due to a murder. She talked about letting go and specifically 15 things that she learnt. What struck me was as she shared was the similarities to my own journey with same sex attraction.
I want to re-write them in a way that makes sense to my journey in hopes that it strikes a chord in someone else. How often in our life journey do we really acknowledge the hard stuff. The continued struggle with sanctification and letting go of the past.
When I walked away, I had to leave behind a lot. For most people this kind of leaving behind doesn’t happen. They don’t have to take drastic steps and so in my own process, I went through a lot of grieving. Coming to really authentically walk through all the stages of grief was important to me.
I needed to let go…
1. Of finding a happy ending to my story. I had found Christ, but I had to let go of what my life would look like. I had to let go of the happily ever after expectations, that if I let go of being gay that I would one day have no more struggle with same sex attraction, that I would find a wife and have a big family. That life would somehow look perfect if I could just get rid of this same sex stuff.
2. Of fear. Fear that would keep me bound. Fear of the unknown. Fear that in my healing journey that I would fall sexually with someone. That someone would take advantage of me and cross my healthy boundaries. That I would never have healthy male friends. Fear that if I talked about my journey within the body of Christ that I would be rejected…considered an untouchable.
3. Of my grief and learn to laugh again. I had to learn to enjoy life. I was saying no to a lot of things. I was grieving the loss of friends, family and security and memories with a partner. I grieved the loss of pets that I had. It as pretty hard for me at times. Sometimes I actually felt crippled with grief. In the process I had to begin to say yes to good things. Yes, to life giving decisions which would bring joy and laughter back into my life. I find this an on going process.
4. Ego. The need to defend myself. I had to let go of the protective wall around my heart. The defensive mechanisms that would keep me away from others. I had to allow people in and allow the walls to come down so people could see the real Kenny.
5. Narrow Faith. I had somehow thought that life was a certain way in regards to faith. That somehow if you struggled you were actually sinning. I entered into this wide path of amazing love and grace. Captured by the beauty of Christ, welcoming me into his arms of love. It opened my eyes to a much larger and loving Jesus. Even though for a lot of aspects my journey is on a very narrow path, my faith has opened like green pastures and I can run like a wild horse within the bounds of Jesus’ love.
6. Old me and make peace with my new identity. Wow this one struck me. Yes, I had to let go of the old Kenn. The gay Kenn…and embrace the new Kenny. Even adding a y on the end of my name was symbolic to a more intimate Kenn. One of childlike faith. I needed to let the old Kenn die and make peace with the creative, gifted, compassionate Kenny, walking in integrity, respect for myself and others.
7. Expectations, that life is fair. This too was very challenging. For instance, letting go of a home that I owned, security in the future. Entitlement! I had to lay that down and let go of the expectation that if I came back to God…everything would be easy and life would some how be fair all the time. I know that ultimately God is in control and life isn’t fair all the time, but God is still God and his love never changes. He is showing me that He is my provision and He cares for me. He doesn’t promise life will be perfect and that I wouldn’t see hardship…on the contrary. He promises that He will never leave me nor forsake me and that He will be there throughout the storms and trials.
8. My guilt. That I could have done things differently. That I could have made better choices and decisions in life. That if I had done things differently than life would be easier now. My guilt needs to go.
9. My need to know…all the answers to all my questions. Why do I still struggle? Why did we lose babies? Why can’t it somehow be easier? My need to know all the answers…I needed to learn to live in a life with tension and be okay in this place.
10. Rage. I needed to let go of my anger. My obsession to seek out revenge on numerous people. The bullies in school…the endless taunting, those who took advantage of me…sexually, those who refused to respect me, those who ultimately stole my entitled share. I could let rage be my friend and yet, I needed to forgive and let rest. I had to acknowledge first that the rage had legitimacy but I couldn’t let it rule me or rest in my heart. That would have killed me. Instead, it is a constant surrender at the cross.
11. Obsession with offender. This one I had to tweak and say obsession with my past life. Obsession with my ex partner, what is his life looking like. (most of this due in part with the issue with our house split) I had to lay it down. It doesn’t mean it never comes up. Sure it does. I’m human and with that comes fleshy thoughts and sinful attitudes. I need to give it over again to Jesus who is my advocate and the perfect friend.
12. Need for perfect justice. This correlates with number 11.
13. Dream of closure, live in the now. Oh yes, my closure isn’t until heaven. But I need to live in the now. Live in the every day moments of what is going on now. Live in the joys of today. God has granted so much more than I had ever hoped or imagined. Seriously, nearly 35 years of struggle…8 of those years I lived openly as gay…so I didn’t consider that a struggle, yet there was tension in the mix. I now realize that there is no closure in the flesh, yet there is some closure in the spiritual. Jesus has somehow done something in my heart that is so different than what I had for the past 35 years. He is increasingly putting in joy and anticipation. He is increasing and I am decreasing. It is living in the reality that I will probably always struggle to some degree with same sex attraction, but authentically, I am way beyond that defining me and keeping me in a box.
14. Hope of peace and reconciliation. I regard this as my hope of peace and reconciliation with certain people who are not in the space for relationship. Who have decided to end relationships because of my faith and their decisions to be gay identified. I love and accept them, but they have choices that they can make to be at peace and be reconciled with me and so for right now, I have to rely and trust in God for them. There are those whom I cannot reconcile with, those whom I would love to have relationship with, but for me at this point in my life, it wouldn't be healthy for me, nor my family.
15. Right to feel sorry for myself. I had to let go of the entitlement that I had this right. That I was so hard done by. That if my life would only have had a better beginning that it would be far better right now. I had to give up feeling sorry for myself and actually live. I had to do love…and fill myself with positive emotions and allow that to come in play with those in my life. I am a far happier person since doing this. It is actually letting it all go…and living with eyes wide open and a heart ready to love…because I have had love extended toward me by my heavenly Father. His love is immeasurable.
These are just a few things that I have had to let go of. It is constantly being updated, reloaded, re thought. That is the process we all go through. What things are we holding onto...that Jesus may be saying..."hey let go...and let's see what will happen...remember I have your back!"