I am not out. Clearly, as I am bearing the pseudonym of a set of beloved TV brothers. However, this does not mean I’m afraid to share my struggles in public.
Honestly, there are quite a few people who know about my struggle with same-sex attraction. Most of my immediate family knows, along with countless friends and random people who I just happened to tell. I’m the most out / not-out person there is, it seems.
Yet it still isn’t easy to tell someone about my sexual struggles each time.
I recently included another individual into the growing number of people who know more than usual about my sex life — one of my new coworkers. He and I were having lunch and it actually came up naturally. We were talking about families, struggles within our families, and struggles in the world.
Homosexuality came up, and I felt God prompting me to share.
His reaction was great — most times, it is, in my experience. He was reaffirming and kind. He thanked me for sharing with him, and overall we had a great conversation! A few hours later, though, he texted me and told me I should probably consider talking to my pastor about it.
Now, I am no stranger to telling a pastor all about my sex life. Been there, done that, and got the great memories of awkward conversations to keep.
But each time, it’s always a little difficult. I know the general reaction will be good — I pray so, anyway. More than likely, the pastor would thank me, reaffirm me, pray for me, and then discuss the issue further with me in the near or not-so-near future. The procedure is generally the same everywhere.
I’m still afraid, though.
Even though I am generally well-received, I have also experienced some not-so-great reactions. I have had people reject me. A Christian school once rejected me as a job candidate when I included my struggle in my testimony. I have had people not understand and not accept my struggle as real or whatnot.
There is always that chance that this could happen again. My current pastor could throw me out, spewing curses and judgments. That would be out of line with his character, but it is possible.
I expressed this fear to my coworker and he, doing the right thing as usual, reaffirmed me and encouraged me to go through with it. He said it would be beneficial overall, that it would be a great opportunity to grow my relationship with my pastor. I know he’s right. But it still isn’t easy.
It made me wonder: will I ever not be afraid? Will I ever reach a point where I am no longer fearful of someone’s reaction to this part of my life? Or will I always enter every conversation about my SSA with the fear of being rejected for this part of my life that I have had almost since I can remember?
Maybe it’s a good thing, though — a constant reminder that I have to have Jesus in every conversation, especially that conversation. If I wasn’t afraid, I wouldn’t think about asking for His help.
That little twinge of fear — it’s enough to make me go to Him and beg for strength and courage to proclaim His work in my life. Whether I’m “out” or “in,” I pray I never forget that Jesus is the one who guides me through this struggle.
Have you shared your sexual struggles with others? Have you shared with your pastor or spiritual leader? Is it hard or easy for you to open up?
* Photo courtesy Eira Monstad, Creative Commons.