Like all long journeys, I had my fair share of breakdowns. There were days when I’d be sitting in the middle of a lecture and quietly stand up, gather my things and stroll out the door. Once free, I’d make a break for my car in the parking lot, hold it all in until I couldn’t anymore and then cry- hard into the steering wheel. It was all too much, those questions. Celibacy, Marriage, opinions, hell, judgment, church, loneliness, fear, anxiety, anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.
It’s not easy, gay one, I know. In fact, it is downright complicated and scary. You might feel outside opinions pressing down on you and the old fears of hell licking up at your feet, but if I could tell you one thing- it’s this: God’s love aint’ going anywhere. You are still the same masterpiece, still exquisite, still moving forward from one degree of glory to the next. It might not always feel like this, but it’s true.
And unfortunately, your head will make the mistake of distorting the loving community around you. You might see them swimming like sharks, impatiently waiting on you to choose your life- and at the time- you might think they just want you to choose them. All of Which is way too much- very unfair, and likely, not true at all. Likely, they’re trying to be the ribbon of love you need, giving you all the time and space the world can offer.
And, frankly, some might turn on you and run. They might cut the strings and walk away. Listen to me- that’s on them. Others will adore you, wrap their arms around you and tell you that you did good. Listen to me- Love them right back. Hold them tighter and tighter and never let them go.
And you might think that the answers are just right there. If you would just read that Bible and just hear it’s Truth and just be done with your search- but I’d like to tell you to tap the brakes. I’d ask you to open that book again and tell me how you reconcile all that hope with all that darkness. Or your own experiences, the feelings you feel deep down. Open that book again, exhaust yourself in it. Change along with it.
In the end, after all, you are holding the wild sea of scripture in your hands and it is on you to be curious. It demands your attention and humility and honesty and time. It beckons you into a story, one that eventually will bring you face to face with who you are and who you are not. Choose which one to put on. The created, the loved, or the distant, disaffected. It won’t be easy, but it’s necessary.
Most important, above all, is to know that God is in love with you. Better said: He’s insane with love for you. His patience is longer than your lifetime, which is freeing because sometimes, you’ll need space. On his porch, He’s waiting anxiously, nervously, hopefully. Breaking open, eyes twinkling bright with tears and gratitude as you come dragging your feet back up the dusty road to his house. He is calling out, telling you to accept that you’re accepted and telling you to live in that beautiful reality. The one being offered freely. The kind that you can feel more than you can understand, as is beauty. And the acceptance all has to happen within. It is by far the only thing you really need to do in this life: accept that you’re accepted.
He drapes you in His big kind of bravery, for you’ll need it when you walk into those questions. Make that love, that strength your foundation. Know in your heart that, yes, you’re figuring out your life, but, no, you’re not risking His love. You’re not abusing His grace. There probably is a right way and a wrong way, but if you’re honest and humble in your search, looking for that joy and truth in his promises, there is no way that you can ever come out wrong.
Look at me, gay one. You’re not any less loved if you fall in love with a soul that is in the same gender. If you find, through faith and mind and the message of your own beating heart that this is right, that this is a Holy kind of gift, that God is blessing you (like he would any straight couple), then who cares about the fire-breathing pastors calling you hellbound. Feel pity on them, for their god is shitty.
The God you love is the God that looks at you and still sees Perfect. He still celebrates your life and pats himself cheerfully on the back for the fine work He did. The angels are sick of all his bragging and wallet-album waving.
If you choose the route of singleness, not because it’s your first choice but out of deep conviction, you are not God’s chump. You are not a self-loathing, religious zealot, you are coming to terms with what your heart is telling you, what your values are telling you and you’re taking the hard route because it’s what you believe. And that matters, to me and to God, and you are to be celebrated. Forget the masses telling you that you haven’t accepted yourself. You know who you are. You love yourself and you love God and you know that none of this can be fully understood until we stop in our tracks before the Great King’s throne. Until we get to the other side of heaven.
And to you, still staring out at the questions, shuffling back and forth between Side A and Side B, I want you to know that it will be overwhelming sometimes. Each new insight will suck the air right out of your lungs. The shame will come, like it always does when we grow, and you’re going to have to name it. Say it. Say it out loud. You are loved, you are holy, just as you are and not as you should be.
You will find yourself surprised by joy and fear and uncertainty all at once. There will be the difficult work of making God’s will your own and then thinking and rethinking what that even means. You’ll fall and rise and run and stumble into some thick brush of anxiety. It’s all okay. It comes different for all of us.
No matter how long it takes, you are in a better place than the closet, than denial, than self-hatred. Move forward in your faith boldly. Put on that Jesus Bravery.
I was once at the frayed end of my rope, choking on questions and all past hope. But a good friend stepped in. A good friend who said,
“Look at me. No matter what you do, who you become, whether you marry or not. His grace. His beautiful, strong grace will always be enough for you. Nothing can separate that kind of love, that kind of endearment.”
Live in that grace, that love, it’s the only light you have in the complicated, glorious questioning. In the end, it’s the one thing you can hold as true. And beautiful.