Wake Up & Smell the Surrender
5 hours into battling the night for even a shred of REM, I partially surrendered to the morning at 7:35 a.m. I could have tried to fight, but something divine was brewing. The Great Creator of the universe was talking. Like a giddy school girl with a juicy bit of gossip, He wasn’t giving up easily. I relented, picked up my smart phone and began a priceless, fuzzy-eyed dictation, birthing wisdom and auto-correct gems like “jasspy” and “flugle’. Staving off blurry vision, I gave my eyes a vigorous rub, simultaneously screaming, ‘I’M UP! I’M UP!’. Full on, white flag surrender was in full effect at 8:05 a.m. I moved like Mario ascending the Donkey Kong tower, dipping and dodging equal parts love and rebuke. I asked God, “I thought you loved me?”. I imagined His face smiling back at me, nodding approval, but still prepping to throw another “barrel”.
I felt like God saying, “You keep asking yourself, ‘Why am I the way that I am?’ That’s the wrong question. You know the right answer, but you’re asking the wrong question.” Many of my issues, dating back to age zero, are the result of behavioral responses to environmental stimuli. “Why do I do what I do?” That's the right question. This refers to my actions, rather than my identity. I am responsible for my behavior. When it comes to my sin, Jesus shoulders the cost as I surrender my life to Him. If I let Jesus master my sin, my sin won't master me. What masters me, shapes my identity. The Holy Bible says that all humans have sinned. Matthew 15:19-20 says “…out of the [human] heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person." All of us are born into sin. We may do good things and live good lives, but our lives are marred by the consequence of sin. I was born in Oklahoma. I am an Okie by birth. People born in Taiwan are Taiwanese. Yet, every different nationality share a common birth defect. We are all born under the curse of sin. And sin, like the mythological Hydra, has many faces.
I have been visiting my father in Oklahoma. Visits home, similar to a trip to the proctologist, leave me…well…I digress. Surprisingly, this trip has been refreshing. Like an invisible neurosurgeon, God constantly works behind the scenes. His non-elective surgeries are often harder to stomach than a Hillary Clinton audiobook, but are necessary for my growth and development. Today, God went straight to the place in my psyche where I retreat. I have always just assumed that other guys possess an innate confidence and understanding of all things MAN. Conversely, my insides are haunted by an overwhelming absence of male love, affirmation and understanding, further complicated by years of submitting sexually to men, rather than relationally. Where most men wade peacefully in a sea of tranquility, I fight the exhaustion of treading endlessly on a vast ocean, rife with discontent and the ebb and flow of self-doubt and gender confusion. I don’t spend my days dwelling on my current inner state. I may struggle with my confidence in who I am as a man, but I have great confidence in who God is. Regardless of how I feel, God calls me to take up my cross daily and follow Him. He doesn’t always explain why He wants me to walk in a particular direction. He just says, “Walk and Trust”. I do my best to obey.
I often beg God for a solution to navigating the turmoil of my inner typhoon. When He’s silent or I choose disobedience, I devise my own solutions. Sometimes the easy answers I get from bad behavior feel better in the moment, even though I find myself treading harder and faster in the long run. As a result of a lifetime struggle with their broken sexuality, some guys fixate on ending the pain, by ending their lives. My focus has evolved to just dealing with the pain. When you’re dealing with a heart ravaged by hopelessness where the sole focus is relief, logic gives way to the fantasy of being free of strife and the method of how to get there is negligible. I am not suicidal, but I am one man among many adrift on the waves. On occasion I catch a glimpse of their faces and discern that some are sinking, perhaps for the last time.
As a young, odd, smart, nerdy boy, my “everything” was forged under the crushing weight of emasculating, feminine influences. I desperatly needed a place of refuge in the world of men. In the absence of knowing what I needed, I chose survival. I needed to be accepted, loved and wanted by knowledgeable men, where I could grow, learn and mature. Instead, I had to settle for being tolerated and managed, by the broken men in my life. Praise God, it's never too late for “broken boys” to find a place amongst good men.
There’s a new answer to Beyonce’s question, “Who run the world?” It’s no longer “girlz”, it’s LGBTQ+. Gay ideology may have seemingly cropped up overnight, but seeds have been sown for decades. LGBTQ+ influence controls the public expression of ideas, social interactions and establishes new cultural norms. It’s similar to all alien invasion in the movies. They show up on the scene, win the approval of a small, but influential group of people and slowly begin to implement small changes that affect the environment, culture and language, by whatever means necessary. All the while, the goal isn’t to co-exist. The goal is to create an atmosphere more suited to their life and comfort, current population be damned.
For years, guys who didn’t measure up to the average, red-blooded American male were ostracized or coerced to fit a mold that was built by men, not God. Over time, some of the “tolerated” got tired of conforming, hiding and suffering in silence. Young gay men, stronger than I, who were fed up, began to rise up, shouldering the consequences of speaking out, alone. Unfortunately, the aggressive, consistent push for LGBTQ+ freedoms generated an unpredictable tsunami, overtaking everyone in its path. The inertial force propelled the movement far beyond the initial goal of equality and generated a lust for nothing less than world domination. Like our Alien visitors, they began the infiltration of every aspect of the society they would replace. Christians now find themselves forced into hiding and silence, much the same place gay people found themselves when the church was orchestrating its own push for world domination.
Like prior, ruling civilizations, church leaders may have enjoyed a turn at bat to preach the dogma of conform or be conquered. Yet, in their insistence to wrestle the scepter of power away from the church, LGBTQ+ influencers also have the blood of dissenters on their hands. They may reject many Christian tenements, but they feverishly perpetuate the ideology of "conform or be conquered". Ironically, the same gay culture that once cried out for freedom and equality, now actively petition to deny that same privilege to those of us who want to leave homosexuality behind. Those of us who pursue God’s true design for sexuality, rather than a sexual expression broken by sin. The truth? People in both camps need to encounter Jesus, lest each “enlightened” people group continue tormenting successive generations with recycled techniques of oppression and a refined sense of arrogance
Sometimes my brokenness gives birth to the bastard thought that God created us and set us adrift. Sin caused me to seek fixes to my broken parts in the world of men. God alone possesses the answers to my questions. Some men search for answers in a bottle, under the hood of a car or the hem of a skirt. I searched in gay bars and the hearts of broken men; a realm bankrupt of knowledge and answers as elusive as the fix I pursued.
I left the gay community, but never stopped pining for the affirmation of men. In my gay life I prostituted my body for affirmation. In my Christian life, I prostituted my heart. I assumed that Christian men and pastors could be trusted, but my encounters with Christian men often left me just as hollow as a one-night stand. Yet, I don’t blame these men for their failings. I laid myself on the altar willingly, worshipping them as gods, because of how I felt about myself. Like the proverbial genie in a bottle, trapped for millennia, I was willing to grant the wish of any man who came along with the potential promise of freedom. The reality of any relationship is that another person can enlighten our minds, enhance our adventure and inflame our heart, but only God can complete us.
Terri Clark sings a country song that describes my relationship with God somedays.
“I’ll never leave. I’ll never stray. My love for you will never change. But I ain’t ready to make up, we’ll get around to that. I think I’m right, I think you’re wrong. I’ll probably give in before long. Please don’t make me smile. I just wanna be mad for a while.”
If you are honest and genuinely walk and trust wherever God says to go, those words probably resonate with you as well.
I have grown to love my early morning chat sessions with Father God. No matter how much I struggle with the truth of His word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, I know I can trust Him. It's time to stop deepening your hopelessness by searching for answers in the beds of other men. I implore you little brother to cry out to God in the midst of your darkness. God pursues us even when we fight His advances.
I will close with a simple story. When I needed it most, my GPS “malfunctioned”. Earlier in the day I had programmed it then immediately contracted amnesia. Ergo, I got lost. To my chagrin I found myself staring down the barrel of a toll booth with empty pockets. I wasn't sure how I was going to pay. Then the toll attendant said, “The guy ahead of you paid your toll, You are free to go." Instantly, I pictured Jesus saying, that’s what I did for you Mattie. Because of some bad programming in life, you got lost. I loved you enough to go ahead of you and pay your toll so that you could go free.