The other day, I was coming back home from a men’s Bible study that I started attending this month. I love attending Bible studies around my city — whether it be from my church or a neighboring church. I get excited to sit down with a group of people, hang out, and discuss different books of the Bible. This has become a normal thing for me, being involved in some sort of church event. I grew up this way, and I’ve disciplined myself to have at least one person around me to talk about God stuff.

But after the whole ordeal with my church, I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone or be in a community again. I isolated myself and didn’t open up to anyone about the problems I was having or what I was doing, like having unprotected sex with random guys.

This is what my pastor said during a sermon about isolating yourself from a community:

“There are events that occur to all of us in life. There are things that happen in our lives that cause us to tend to be isolated. That’s one of the reactions. We want to be alone, we want to be isolated, we don’t want people around. What are those events? Past hurts, being rejected, a physical aliment that you’re dealing with, a painful relationship that you’re involved in, and it gets a person to a place where that person says, ‘Why should I ever be vulnerable again? All that happens is I get hurt.’ So what that person learns to do is a coping mechanism: they put walls around their lives, they build high castle walls, like medieval castles that protect them, but it alienates them and isolates them, and they find themselves rattling around in that castle to their own peril.”

That was me. I had to deal with my own isolation and peril. I was in a very dangerous place in my life: I trusted my own judgment, and I didn’t want to listen to anyone during those years of hooking up with different guys.

I think Proverbs 18:1 says it best:

“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.”

As I said before, I didn’t want to listen to anyone! I loved being alone. I loved solving my problems on my own, because I told myself that being independent was the best.

No one to hurt you, no one to piss you off, and you know your own trouble.

Yet, this made my growth in the Lord very, very slow! Says Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

This passage says a lot! Not only to have that one friend who’s there for you, but also to have a group there for you, to pray for you, to let you know that they are with you through thick and thin.

The truth is there was no one to pick me up. I didn’t allow anyone to pick me up.

In the end, I didn’t have anyone to back me up whenever I was in trouble. If someone made false accusations about me, I didn’t have anyone by my side to tell them, “I know him! You don’t know him, and you don’t know his heart.”

That was one of the downfalls of not having a community by me.

Like a wounded soldier in an active field, his buddy trying to save him from enemy fire, I was also bleeding from my wounds — yet I had no one to save me.

That’s why you need a community. Whatever hurt you experience, whether you are exhausted with life or your struggle, you have people who can carry you on your path to recovery.

Once I found a group of friends to call my own, it took me a couple years to finally open up again — not by coming out with my sexuality, but telling people the truth of my walk with Christ and my life. To be honest to say that I was hooking up with a guy, or to say I was depressed and disappointed with my church that I went back to attending.

It was a slow process, but the friends I’ve made through the years I can now call my family — maybe even more than that. Says Proverbs 18:24:

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Yet how in the world do you find a community like that? What does that look like? In my next post, I’ll discuss what I found in my small group and what they showed me.

Do you tend to share your problems with others or keep your problems to yourself? Do you have trust issues with other people? How can you take one defined step out of isolation and toward community?

* Photo courtesy The Javorac, Creative Commons.

  • I’m currently in a state of solitude for almost a year now. Though I didn’t physically isolated myself from the church, I made sure that my walls are fortified enough so that no one would be able to emotionally see through me. I’m used to dealing with my problems alone especially my struggle with SSA. I’ve been doing that for almost 17 years. Though it came to a point where it felt like I’m losing the battle, opening up to someone and letting him see my vulnerable and helpless self was a wrong decision. Not that I’m saying that it’s wrong to open up. What I’m saying is that we have to be vigilant in choosing someone to share our hearts to.
    Due to depression and despair brought by the vicious cycle of homosexuality, it caused my physical body to undergo severe emotional stress which resulted to an autoimmune disease. It was last January 2015 when I was diagnosed with Psoriasis. It’s not contagious but it’s a life-long illness. When the first symptoms appear, my skin became red and flaky. I was bleeding all over. I nearly had the impression that God abandoned me and cursed me with homosexuality and psoriasis. Honestly, I didn’t know how my life’s gonna go further. Dealing with SSA is already too much for me. I’m not sure if I can deal with SSA and Psoriasis simultaneously without losing my sanity. To think that I’ll probably deal with both for the rest of my life is heartbreaking. Until now, I get teary-eyed every time the thought crosses my mind.
    The series of unfortunate events led me to cutting all the cords from the people I knew. I became sensitive. Once I got hurt by someone, I sever all the ties immediately. It didn’t take long before I became antisocial. Deep inside, I was already tired of explaining to people why I’m different. The thought of also explaining over and over every time I meet people that Psoriasis is not contagious tires me even more. I avoided the crowd, I shut the world out.
    Of course Matt, I know how a community plays a vital role in our lives. However, I’m scared. The thought of being ridiculed and humiliated in a certain community horrifies me. Like you, I suffered emotional beatings from people who call themselves “christians”. People who are immensely self-righteous and the ones who look down on individuals who are more sinful than them in their eyes. I’m sad how both SSA and Psoriasis changed me. Whatever I do, I just can’t go back to my old happy self.

    • Hey man, long time, no…..
      I’ve got a flaky mind to go along with my SSA, trade ya buddy.
      Seriously, all the stuff we face changes us, but as a Christian if it leads us to Jesus deeper, and you find what’s real in Christ to meet it, you’ll be a better man. It’s not easy, I don’t think it’s meant to be, but find in knowing Jesus a heart that is set on going on.

      • I missed you brother! How have you been? Pain really changes people but I’ve been better since I found my way here. I don’t know why but SSA seems to fade every time I read stories and comments here. Not that they disappear but its power greatly diminishes. What exactly makes your mind flaky bro? Whatever it is, I’ll pray for your wellness.

        • I’m thinking part of this journey is to get us out of our own heads and out of our selves and just live, live in Christ, live for others and be what God means us to be. Being here, SSA isn’t the obstacle it can be with others.
          I was kinda joking about the flaky mind, but following Jesus on my own, I get confused and come up with wrong answers or the wrong question. It’s good when brothers can tell ya you’re getting off track. Just reading posts and comments here, knowing we’re more alike than different, makes a difference.

          • Indeed, finding people who don’t find me weird feels great. SSA is my obstacle for living a christ-like life. Though it is my anchor to Him too.

          • C’mon now, we’re all kinda weird and crazy in our own way. Somehow, Jesus makes that all good.

          • Indeed. I just learned to love my difference recently. Jesus made us different for a reason. A reason for His glory.

          • It’s a matter of perspective brother. I just love how God made me different. It makes me feel special. 🙂

          • It is a matter of perspective. Whenever I get crazy introspective, it doesn’t end well. But when I look away to Jesus, everything’s better, or I can face things better. I just forget that too often.

          • You must remember it now always. What makes you different makes you special. Always remember that we, your brothers, love you for who are. God loves you more than anything.

          • Hey Prince, man, that’s really nice, especially since you’re new here. If I’m here too long, I can say things I shouldn’t that don’t help anyone. I’m not trying to be a jerk, it’s part of that being confused thang. The YOB guys always show grace tho.
            They have something good going on if you’re on Facebook. If you support the ongoing and ever-expanding YOB media empire to the measly sum of $5/month, I’ve heard some of the brothers will come to your home and make breakfast for you. Or something like that. I’m not on Facebook so I’m not sure but I’m sure there’s info about it somewhere on the site.

          • Maybe, I’m saying these things because I’m not just longing for a brotherly love. Deep down, I also want to express love for my brothers. I didn’t have the chance to do it before since I’m afraid that other guys will misinterpret it as lust.
            I’m not very active on facebook since my period of solitude. But I’ll check on it. I suggest you create an account there and get it touch more with your brothers.

          • Wanting to show love is healthy and good but the possibility of misunderstanding is always a risk how it will be received or even if it will be received. I appreciated what you said Prince.
            I wish I understood things better but emotional stuff with guys is a blind spot for me and sometimes it’s a black hole. This past summer was a painful reminder that I still can’t figure this stuff out on my own. There’s guys here, both authors and commenters, who seem to have a good handle on it, or at least a better understanding.
            I don’t have anything against FB but still don’t want an account.

          • I understand. Maybe, you’re being too hard on yourself. Relax, not everyone progresses immediately. Ask the lord so that He’ll light that blind spot enabling you to see. Pray for deeper relationships and intimacy. I’ve been there, it sucks but Jesus will never abandon you. He loves you.
            Are you not into social media? Or just facebook?

          • Hey man, I’ve come a long way. I still can’t figure emotional stuff out real well but at least I realize it sooner so I don’t screw up other guys lives. I consider it grace that I’m not hurting others.
            If this counts as social media, I’m into it. 🙂

          • I’m glad you have that realization. It proves you’re moving forward. Right now, I’m active on instagram and of course here. Haha

          • On this journey into Christ I’m thinking it’s more important to go on despite screwups and setbacks, than it is to sit still not having made mistakes.
            Glad you’re here brother.

          • We always forget that we are always predisposed to commit sin since we are still here on earth. As a result, we hesitate to move forward rather than go further.
            Have you read Kevin Frye’s book? If not, you better read it. I’m reading it right now and it led me to a higher form.of understanding.

          • Who’s Kevin Frye?
            Dang, it’s not the Kevin who posts here, is it?
            What’s the name of it?

          • It’s none other than our brother Kevin here in YOB. It’s titled Thy Will Be Done. I got a copy of E-book on fb. Hang in there, I’ll get the link for you. 🙂

          • Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out. Hey man, my phone is about to bite the dust and needs to recharge. It’s started autospelling the wrong words and I’m retyping like every other word. Catch you on another post, maybe even Kevin’s 🙂 Thanks for the conversation and good words Prince.

    • Looks like you had a good conversation on here! haha.
      I’m sorry you have to deal with Psoriasis! That totally sucks man! I’ll be praying for healing. Also, it sad to hear that you’ve been living in kind of like isolation for the past year or so. Honestly, that’s not good. I mean, you head my post! Haha. But seriously, I apologize that you have to deal with the fear of getting hurt by people, and I hope you overcome it soon!
      As far as homosexuality……hmm…….I’m wondering what happen during that vicious cycle you had to deal with? You don’t need to tell what happened, I’m just expressing my curiosity.
      Here’s my two cents on that though. Right now how I dealt with that, of struggle with SSA, Homosexuality, or being gay, whatever way you put it, is that I’ve accept it as part of my life. What I don’t mean is sleeping around, or being in a relationship. What I mean is that yes, I’m gonna struggle with it most of my life; yes, it’ll make me somewhat different from straight guys, but I’m not all that different from them. I’m actually making it more than it actually is! It’s just feelings! Just because I “feel” different from them doesn’t really make me an outcast. They are attractive to girls, I’m attracted to guys! Big deal!
      There are actually other things that I can relate to them other than “wanting to be straight!” it’s finding that small connect that makes all the different. If you find out they are movie nerds, connect with that, or like musicals, connect with that. If they’re introverts as well, then talk about all the funny stuff introverts deal with. Yet, open yourself with wanting to learn something new! If they’re masculine, and your not used to that, basically tell them you grew up differently. Your not used to all this stuff, so it’ll take time to get used to it. But teach me as well! That way I’m not sitting on the side. You need to take a leap of faith every now and then, and say “screw it! I’m tired of being afraid! I need friends, I need a community!” Once you get there, it gets easier, and you become more confident in yourself as well.
      Not only that, learning how to control you emotions so you don’t end up having an emotional decency to them. In your mind you automatically say “no!” Then thinking about all the good Godly qualities about that person or group of friends.
      I hope that’s not too mean and I hope what I said resonates with you some how! I might be off, but I know this advice will help you in the future.

      • The vicious cycle somehow mirrors your experiences although the totality of fun you said in your previous post is something I’ve never really experienced but I must say what I did was also “acting out” the attraction. Psoriasis sucks and I don’t know how Cara Delevigne and Kim Kardashian maintain their positive demeanor.
        I can now say that I’ve finally accepted who I really am. At first, I find the idea horrifying because I thought accepting who I am means giving up. However, someone made me realize that accepting who I really am is different from affirming the sin. Yes, I struggle with homosexuality. I am gay, as what others would label, but I can choose not to practice the sinful lifestyle. This realization felt like tons of weight have been lifted off me. I felt lighter and it made me see things clearer.
        Unlike you, who thought you just overestimated your difference from other guys, I’m not sure whether the whole “you-just-think-you’re-different” thing can apply to me or not. It’s not just about feeling the attraction that makes me feel different. My personality, my interests and views in life support such claim. I find normal guys sentimentally superficial compared to me who is emotionally deep. They always talk about stuff like girls, video games, and activities that will get them into trouble all of which I could never relate to. Normal guys are violent, rough and physical while I’m diplomatic, soft and mental. Believe me, I tried to blend in countless times. I even tried to become less careless and more reckless because I even started thinking that my character is not manly and inappropriate but all my attempts always resulted to humiliation. They started calling me too smart, too good, too soft, boring and all other things related to effiminacy. Fearing the reenactment of those scenes, I kept my distance from normal guys as possible as I can.
        I really hope that I’m just making these things up and it’s just all in my mind because if that’s the case then it’ll help me loosen up and open myself to other people again. I really regret the last time I opened up to a straight christian friend and things didn’t turn out right. It’s traumatic and it intensified my fear of getting hurt again.
        Thank you Matt, I’ll try to re-examine my decision to isolate myself from the crowd. God bless you.

    • Yeah, you are right, there are many that call themselves “Christians’, but I don’t bother with what they say, I bother with what they do. Jesus said, “You shall know them by the way they have love for one another”. So anyone can say they are a Christian, but if they don’t have the Spirit of Christ in them, all their words are meaningless. Just a word about Psoriasis. It is generally a hereditary disease. You had the gene, but as you said, all the stresses of life brought that out. What I think doesn’t matter, as a SSA man of God, I have come to accept it. I can’t change myself. I like guys, prefer to be around them. I like women too, but not the way I like guys. So, I praise God for both. I found out some time ago that God is not out to get me. He is out to love me, and to change my character. My desire for men will be with me for the rest of my life, but so what, I belong to God and He belongs to me. THAT will never change. Even I falter and fail, I still belong to Him. When I did bad things in my dads house back home, I either was sent to my room or I got the strap. But, my dad never threw me out. And God is so much better than my dad. He is long-suffering, patient, kind, gives me wisdom and understanding, even when I just got finished masturbating. But we are men, we need an outlet. Our testosterone levels get pretty high, we need to get high level of stress out. If you can do it, thank the Lord for that ability to have that outlet.

      • Thank you for the encouragement brother. I have come to accept that I’ll be attracted to guys for the rest of my life. It’s hard but it’s worth it. Your level of understanding tells me you’ve come so far. I’m happy for you brother. God bless you 🙂

        • Hello Prince, thank you for your words. It’s good to remember too that there isn’t one thing that can make you any better before the sight of God then you are right now. He has made us the righteousness of God in Him because of the faith that He put in us which caused us to direct that faith toward Him by His Holy Spirit. I found out that I don’t have to maintain my faith, HE DOES. He is the author and finisher of our faith. “The Just shall live by HIS faith”. My part is to trust and trust and trust some more. It’s easier for our flesh to pick up a broom and say, “Look Lord I am working for you, this should count for something?”. But God would say, “Put that broom down. If your going to sweep, do it because you want to sweep, not because your looking for brownie points. All the brownie points were gotten by the act of Jesus Christ dying on the cross. He alone receives all the glory and honour. We just bask with Him in that glory and we talk to Him with our mouths, our minds and our hearts every day. Just thanking Him for all that He has done for us in saving us, and taking us from faith to faith. Brother, while you are thanking Him, ask Him to give you confidence to face the world, face the Church and to face yourself. Ask Him to give you a dynamic love for yourself, for in so doing, you will love others, as you love yourself. As you give thanks daily for all the little things around you and for where you are at, in time, things will slowly begin to change. I remember years ago when I despair of life that I prayed that God would take my life while I slept. I didn’t want to live anymore. I sinned terribly, and I thought that God would surely strike me down so to speed up the process, I got to Him first and to ask Him to take me out of the world. After some time of that, I woke up one morning weeping uncontrollably. I wept until my eyes were swollen shut. The Lord said, “why are you choosing death? I have given you life, choose to live”. I stopped praying for death and hobbled my way back to the living.

          • Actually, God told me the same thing too. I came to the point of no longer interested in living. Every night, I prayed to God not to wake me up the next day then I end up hating Him every time I realize I didn’t die. There was a time where He spoke to me saying: “I died so that you could live and yet you wanted so bad to end your life?” His words hit me real hard. Since then, I started searching for my purpose. I looked for the reasons why I’m still alive and breathing.
            If there’s one thing I learned about Psoriasis, it’s learning to love myself. Deep down, I knew that all the stress came from my resentment to who I am, to who I was becoming.
            Now, I’m trying to regain my old self. The happy prince who’s always laughing despite his problems, the prince who is brave and strong according to most people and the prince who lived a good life in pursuit of Christ.

          • Prayers for that Prince to come out of the shadows and severely damage the kingdom of the shadow maker.

  • “Yet how in the world do you find a community like that?”
    I don’t know Matt, it’s hard to find the real thing. Becoming a Christian, being in Christ, has changed everything in so many good ways but it’s made life harder too. I mean, Jesus is the real deal, and the Bible and faith say I’m now part of this great body of Christ that I need as much as it needs me. But living that is harder than believing it, and finding it has challenged my believing in it. Being here at YOB is great, SSA is just a given, not a flashing neon sign. Here there’s encouragement just by not feeling alone anymore as a Christian.
    I used to think when rejected at church that it was on me, like SSA was on me. But other people have their issues and struggles too, and we really need each other. There’s this painful tension between what church should/can be and how it is, just like following Jesus with SSA always has this built-in struggle and tension, it can be hard but also good. And worth it. The times I’ve found true fellowship with another brother and community with others is when Jesus is the main thing, when he matters more than everything else.

    • I agree with you, finding a community like that is hard! It will get messy once you open your life to someone else, and it’s gonna be toss whether they’re gonna accept you or reject you. I’ve been there before, it ain’t pretty! But you gotta keep going, keep trying to find a community, even if it means have a surface level friendship at first, but once you do break or chip away one thing that takes you deeper, then you work with that! But you gotta be patient, and not think about yourself. You gotta remember that there is another person who is NOT like you. If you found a community great! If not, then I bet you’ll find someone at least!

      • Hey man, I’m reading all your comments to everyone and can I just say you’re awesome. If I was in a battle or just having a bad day, you’d be the dude I’d want with me.
        Yeah, this whole Christian thing, walking with Jesus, being in Christ, is about reality and knowing/living what’s real. A lot of times, either I’m screwing up or things aren’t like Christ. Thru it all my default go to is to go on with Jesus knowing he’s the real deal and the real thing he’s done in me.
        That deal about remembering others aren’t like me, shoot, knowing me, that’s my hope. I’m looking for what’s of Christ in them. It’s what I like about all you YOB guys, y’all are so different but each of you have something of Christ that is so appealing and that encourages and is, gonna say it again, awesome. It just makes me happy to find Christ in other people or in groups of ’em. No matter how much or how little, it’s always a blessing. Like you.

  • That was awesome. It was a sermon wrapped up in a Sunday school lesson that’s good for devotions. You are a wise young man. I wish I could have had that figured out when I was 20 something. My life would have been very different. Thanks. It took me 35 years to realize this. Good stuff.

    • Thank you man! Haha. Yeah, I tend do to that sometimes if I’m speaking on something very near to my heart or spiritual stuff, then I kind of get into this preachy-sermon mode and I just go off. Haha. But thank you for that! Most of this stuff has actually been listening to sermons at work, while I’m working. And others have been experiencing stuff early on in my life, as well observing people too. Glad you enjoyed reading my post!

  • First of all I want to say that I really enjoy reading your posts. I like the story aspect of it, but I also just feel like your posts are unique somehow.
    Anyway, yes. It’s super hard for me to trust people. I’ve gotten way better at it than I was 10 years ago when I was drowning in depression and no one knew, but many times I feel like people still dont see who I really am deep down and I know that part of the reason is because i don’t show it. I try, but its hard for me. I’ve been burned a couple times – who hasn’t?
    Since I’ve gotten back to the States it’s been kind of hard to reintegrate myself as well. I did join a small group a couple months ago and that’s been really good for me. I may not be close to everyone but I’ve known the lady heading it up since i was a kid and she’s been awesome. I’m reconnecting little by little with a couple friends too. All that to say, yes, community is super important. I was starting to get in a funk before this small group and just being with them once a week really puts me in a better head space.

    • Thank you! I glad you enjoy my post and think they’re unique. I really appreciate that. But yes, true of who hasn’t been burnt. If you haven’t experienced yet, boy you better be prepared! Haha. I’m glad you’re attending a small group, even if it means slowly getting know everyone! I’m doing the something as well! Especially with the men’s bible study group I’m attending. I’m still getting to know them, yet haven’t gotten into deep conversations, but I know eventually it’ll get there. Keep going to the small group, even if it means forcing yourself to go. Make it a habit! Keep the focus on christ, not superficially, but authentically, even if it means sharing your testimony piece by piece. Not giving details, but just snippet. Once you know you can trust a friend or your small group, then it’ll be up to you if you want to share your story to them. But all in all, keep being involved in a community, get recharged by going deep in the bible, and pray for each other.

  • Thank you very much for your post…and I so enjoyed being reminded of those verses. I know God intends for us to live the Christian faith with others, no wonder there are so many verses with “one another” in the Bible. One of my biggest challenges in life has been to tear down the walls I erect when it comes to relating to others…I am friendly and caring, but after a certain point, I tend to hide behind those walls I have created….I guess I never want to bother anyone or be seen as “needy.” God help me.

    • Thank you for reading my post man! I know that feeling! I still tend do that every now and then, but not a lot now a days. One of the best ways to not seem to be “needy” or want to bother anyone is to serve them, but not too the max where they take advantage of you. Also, sometimes it’s good just to warn them or be honest by saying, “hey! I’m kind of a needy guy. I struggle with that, but God is working with me through that.” Other times if your in a bible study group or a small group, it’s good to give pieces of your life story, if it’s practical within the study, that way people get to know you little by little. I hope that helps!

  • Hey nice post! you know it is really hard for me to search for this community because when I try to build it,it is used against me, my temptations come from my own friends, so I have isolated myself this time. My desire is not for a community but for a special best friend, I know it is a mistake and always results in failure, but how can I change this desire to have a special friend to a desire to have 2 or 3 of them? it is so hard. Finally, do you believe that in order to avoid temptations (lust, sexual fantasy, emotional dependency) we should develop intimate friendships only with men which are not attractive to us? Sorry about my English, I am from South America =)!!! and I have finally decided to make some comments hahaha

    • Hey E777 Kevin and some others have we shared some great insight on this issue on this blog. I don’t remember exactly which ones but they are all here . This is something that I have long struggled with but have been greatly encouraged by believing what I now know is the truth vs the lies I heard for so long. That is that in spite of our ssa we were created to and can have intimate relationship with men. Now I’m still having fits and starts in my new intentional endeavors to have them but I am unstoppable now. I have found recently that sharing the ssa part has not been helpful and in the future will only share that part in special circumstances like here.

      • Thanks Chris, you know I don’t have any problems in searching for friends, in my church I am a well known leader, so I always have a lot of people (including men) who wants to be my friend, most of them are straight. But the problem is that most of them also are under my autorithy in some things so I never disclose this topic of ssa, I have disclosed it with my Pastors. i will search for more posts about this topic, if you could give me some links that would be really usefull, thank you =)

    • Yay! Glad you decided to comment!
      Dude, yeah, I get what your dealing with, to have the special friend or best friend to call my own. It’s hard to get away from that mindset! But I think you need to have this mindset of wanting to have 2-3 friends or bigger than that. Start from there. Because that’s where I started! From that you observe people, find those who you can trust, and just hang out. You don’t need to spill out your guts on the first try, but if your leading a bible study or a small group, you can make the bible practical by sharing pieces of your life story. From there people can relate to you.
      Do I believe in order to avoid temptation we should develop intimate friendship only with me which are not attractive to us? Hmm….I think we should develop friendship with guys, yes! I agree in an overall general we should, but we have to start from the surface and make our way down, down the deeper level. You gotta be patient though. As for being friends with guys who are not attractive to us? I would say yes, but you gotta learn how to control your emotions, learn how to put to death of Emotional Dependency, figure out what triggers it, because eventually you will befriend a person who is attractive to you! It’s going to happen! So prepare yourself for it!
      Hope that helps!

  • Ever since college it feels like my community has been steadily depleting. Friends move, get married, and eventually they stop responding to my attempts to keep in contact. Small groups are terrifyingly intimidating because there are so many people in them usually (more than 4 or 5 and I shut down completely – oh the perils of introverts… lol). I went to a few Men’s morning bible studies at my church to try to connect, but when we were going over the topic of singleness, I opened up and expressed how I feel lonely in the church and when asked if anyone else felt that way, I was met with a chorus of “No’s” – with no follow up from anyone but my pastor. In a different study, the topic of homosexuality came up and based on the responses of a few men there (whom I respect), I felt defeated and condemned for desires I don’t want. My pastors, who were leading the studies (and know about my struggles) tried to help by offering alternative perspectives and scenarios to the groups, and by following up with me. But by that time I had already shut down – becoming an emotional (and more recently physical) recluse again. Trying to fight it is hard when it feels like there’s no one out there who cares enough to invest time in those who are different, even within the church. I totally realize too that pastors can only do so much, as they’re responsible for the entire congregation.
    That past hurt makes me want to stay home on Sundays and listen to sermons online by myself, but I know that ultimately just feeds my feeling of aloneness.
    Isn’t it weird how we want to be connected but sometimes the hurt involved in connecting pushes us to want to disconnect, which then makes us feel more alone? A vicious cycle that can only be stopped by being willing to be rejected or hurt again for the chance to be loved by a community. I’m grateful to be loved by God, but long to be loved by others too.
    Hopefully your future post on how to find that community will offer insights and help for myself and others who may have had similar experiences to mine.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you for sharing your experience man! That sucks you had to go through that! I’m sorry you had to as well! But just for a forewarning, my next post will be what I found when you break that surface barrier, it’s really not how to find a community like that. Trust me, it is hard to find that, but sometimes it’s our own fault to. I used to be that introvert that you described, so yeah, I totally know what you’re talking about! But as I said in a few previous post that I go tired of being afraid of being overwhelmed of “big groups,” and take a leap of faith, even if it meant getting hurt.
      But from that I grew a thick skin, most because I had to accept if they don’t want to be friends with me, then I can’t do anything about it, brush it off my shoulders, and move on! Also, I became blunt too, but that’s a whole different story. Haha.
      Another thing I agree with too is people start having families, growing up, etc. It’s inevitable! But what I’m doing now, in those situation is that I help out with that person or couple. If they have a kid and need a babysitter, I tell them to hit me up! I’d be gladly to help! Or if the husband needs some alone time, away from the wife, then I’d be gladly to take the husband away and do something fun, but within a reasonable amount of time. haha
      Psh! If I got that response when I asked that questions to a group of men, I would totally call them out on there BS. Haha. But my response would most likely be, “Come on you guys! I know you guys are lying. But if you aren’t, then it’s probably good to know about these things. How I feel is actually real, and there are people who do feel what I feel, and feel left out of stuff, yet we yearn for a community! Probably the reason why I’m in this group, is maybe for this reason! None of you guys have no idea what I go through, but as I said before, that’s probably why I’m here. To give you guys a glimpse of what it’s like. I know that will help you guys in the future with other people who are dealing with what I’m dealing with. If you guys don’t like it, then oh well! But for now, just at least listen. Don’t talk, but listen. I know that will bring some healing in my life, but it’ll give you an idea on how to respond to stuff like this in the future.”
      Something to that effect. Haha. But dude, keep going! I encourage to make it habit to keep going to your small group or bible study group. Even make some leaps of faith every now and then. Even if it’s scary. Prepare yourself, emotionally and spiritually, with some tough hits. But in the end it’ll be worth it.

  • Wise words, Matthew, thanks for sharing. Community is so important! We are here for you, and I appreciate your willingness to be open!

  • I’ve spent the last year building and growing into community, it’s been a lot especially after two years in exile with no support. I’ve spent my whole life dreaming about home, searching for it, and finding out the hard way it doesn’t exist. Now I’ve finally found the place to build it and some of the people to share it with. It still scares the hell out of my every time I let someone in, I’ve been hurt too many times before, but this time my new brothers are coming through for me and with a couple good men ready to fight for me it matters less what the next one thinks.

  • “I think Proverbs 18:1 says it best: “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment”.
    Whatever bible you are using friend, throw it out or burn it. Such a beautiful piece of wisdom being destroyed by some idiotic dead man translating what he doesn’t know anything about.
    This is the original verse and it’s rendering.
    “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeks and gets himself involved in all wisdom”
    The second verse speaks about the fool who does not seek wisdom.
    “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.”

  • Matthew Áshįįhí

    Hey y'all! Just an SSA, full-blooded Native American, ESTJ, Enneagram 8 here. I'm a very blunt person but know when people can't handle the whole truth. My job here is to tell you guys my story which is set up like a typical coffee shop, one-on-one talk. I'm here to challenge the way you think and encourage you spiritually. Hope you guys are ready!

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