It’s no secret: I have struggled with blogging the past several months. When YOB started, I was a regular. I was posting pretty much every week. Blog ideas were coming out the wazoo and I was putting them all out there for the readers.

I was reliable. Dependable. Always ready to share.

And then I almost left it all.

I shared a post many months ago that I was feeling like the outcast of this group. In a community of outcasts, I was feeling like the one person who didn’t belong. I was the black sheep of YOB.

Few feelings are worse than that of feeling like a man without a community.

Because of this, I made a terrible mistake. I let Satan grab that nagging doubt in my mind and make it a foothold.

As I looked around, all I could see was every reason for me to leave YOB. All I could see were the differences between myself and every other guy here. I was one of the few who was married. One of two who had kids. To top it off, I was alone in my field of ministry. And I felt like all of my thoughts and ideas were way different than anyone else’s.

All of this pointed to the idea that I was a mistake. Again. And it killed me.

I’ve spent my entire life feeling like the mistake, the “plus one” who was never meant to be added. I have always struggled with this. My parents had me by accident. My brothers told me I was an unwanted burden. I was Mr. Third Wheel of all my friend groups.

I was the oddball outcast everywhere I went. But YOB was one of the first places where I felt like I wasn’t uniquely alone.

And then, the community where I finally felt I belonged was proving me wrong again. By all my evidence, there was one conclusion: I am a worthless and unnecessary addition to this blog. To this community.

I wish I could pinpoint my exact moment of discovering this. I wish I could also pinpoint the way I got out. Honestly, I stumbled out of this conclusion as easily as I stumbled into it.

Perhaps it was how I struggled with a three-week depression episode in the holiday season. Perhaps it was my new counselor who is finally connecting with me in a way no other counselor has been able to do in over a year. Or perhaps it was the enormous amount of sugar I consumed over Christmas.

By whatever path it happened, it seemed that one moment I was questioning how to get out of YOB and another I was coming to realize that my disconnectedness was not caused by facts but by lies. I had completely fallen into a trap and been sprung out of it — mostly without my realizing that it was happening.

And that scares me.

These lies had infected my thinking, distracting me and tearing me apart little by little. They were powerful and strong and took root quickly.

By all logical accounts, I should not be free now. I don’t know how I escaped. Honestly, I believe it was the mercy of God.

And I’m so thankful.

It scares me to think that I might have thrown away the chance to let God use me. I cringe at the idea that I almost gave up one of the most important communities God has placed me in. I believe in the vision of YOB whole-heartedly. And I work so hard to connect with my close friends intentionally about the LGBT community.

My story is open to them completely in an effort to help them help others.

I hope that I don’t fall into another trap as I did these past several months. And I ask you to forgive me, dear reader, for how poorly I’ve struggled and how I came so close to failing you and, ultimately, failing God.

I pray that even this mistake will be used by Him for His glory.

Have you ever come *this* close to quitting something or “giving up on God”? What stopped you, or what pushed you over the edge?

* Photo courtesy Perry Wunderlich, Creative Commons.

  • I did give up. I was about two months into my faith into my faith when it happened. I was a regular attendee of church, had let two to Christ, and tithed regularly. I was on fire for the Lord! But then a cute guy would come in to the store where I worked and I would wind up looking at his butt. I didn’t understand the difference between SSA and being gay (yet). Then a guest speaker came to our church. He was full of the fiery wrath of God, screaming from the pulpit. Everyone at the church was whooping and hollering and shouting ‘amen’ at everything he said. It was so compelling that even I got envolved. Then he made a declaration that effected my life for decades. He stated that all gays go straight to hell. There were NONE of the redemptive promises of Jesus Christ, only God’s wrath. To make things worse the entire congregation gave a hearty ‘amen’ and ‘praise Jesus’. I was stunned. Everyone at this church felt this way and I couldn’t keep from looking at some guy’s butt. So I left, completely, and did not return.
    The worst thing was that no one came after me, to see why I had quit going. I delved into the hardcore gay lifestyle and lived that way for about eighteen months. I gradually started getting out. Maybe I was acting out of anger since I thought I had to be gay since I was SSA. I still had a boyfriend and was highly promiscuous. I stayed away from the church for twenty one years, thinking I was God’s pet faggot, that I couldn’t change. Don’t get me wrong, I ALWAYS believed in God, but I didn’t neccesarily like HIm and I certainly didn’t like His followers. You couldn’t pay me to go to church. Then He came for me.
    It was through a massive stroke that I shouldn’t have survived. I did, only because of God. Half my body was paralyzed and my memory was totally erased, so much so that I only knew my name. My Father came for me, erasing all the hurt and anger that I had, and all the bad experiences that had happened so He could write something new on my heart. God came for me.

    • Thank you for sharing you story, Bradley. I am so sorry for where your church failed you. I am thankful to know God has brought you back.

  • First off Dean I don’t think you need to apologize for experiencing a low point where you felt Satan had ensnared you with lies. In my opinion, I don’t feel you let me down at all. I tend to go through a whole spectrum of emotions day by day to the point people have had to settle on me just being “moody.” My own counselor recently insisted on that I should not take a majority of my time dwelling on my SSA because he was afraid I was going to engulf myself in that identity wholeheartedly. Yes, SSA is a part of me but it is not all of me.
    To answer your questions, I did come close and practically went over the edge after my freshman year of college where, as you put it, wanted to “give up on God.” I distinctly remembered saying to myself (not knowing God was in the room, lol!): “I hope I don’t get a Christian roommate next year.” Well, guess what? Yup, I got a Christian roommate that following school year. Regrettably, I wasn’t the most welcoming of roommates as I took advantage of some of his stuff for my own personal use (no stealing). Despite my selfishness, he managed to address the isolation I was experiencing being away from home by inviting me to his local Christian college community. This helped to mitigate the depression I was feeling on a deeper level then I let on to others. Obviously, I was there to get an education, but I didn’t feel my heart or head was into anything let alone my education while feeling so socially remote. This was a tool the devil was using against me to feel unloved and unwanted. Subsequently, I forged new relationships with people there and developed a new social network of people. This was one of my first life lessons: Relationships change. Realizing I wasn’t in high school, but rather residing in a gateway to the real world (my own definition of college), I walked away with a new confidence that I could reconnect with God and His people. God wasn’t going to allow me to “burn the bridges” with Him. His love is so abundant and He cares for us too much for that to happen.

    • That’s a great story, Eddie- it’s amazing how God provides for us the things we need even if we don’t want them. I am so thankful that God brought that roommate into your life to share God’s love in your life.

  • Dean, I thank God that you didn’t leave. I too am a married man with kids, and I know that there are at least a few other married guys on here with kids. We are all different from each other in some ways — that is what makes us individuals, and that is what gives us our stories. If we were all alike, how would we help each other?

    • I appreciate the encouragement, Malcolm. It is easy to think our differences can shut us out when they can help bond us together through sharing our experiences. I’m thankful as well God didn’t allow me to leave.

  • Hey Dean! I thank God that you avoided that trap and will continue to use your gifts here. As a happily married man with a couple of kids and a penchant for inhaling too much sugar at Christmas time, I connect with so much of what you write. Especially the feelings of disconnectedness and depression.
    You article is timely for me as I “left” YOB about a week ago and the YOB FB group shortly before that. For any in that FB group who may read this and may have been discouraged or in any way troubled by my announced departure, I sincerely apologize and ask for your forgiveness. I did not do it with any rancor or ill will toward anyone. I did it to preserve my mental health. This week ends a full year where I was incapacitated by depression for only a single day. I hope this next year will have zero such days. I was beginning to see signs that darkness was settling again on me. It is, of course, laughable to say I “left” as I am here responding now. And I looked in a few times to follow Kevin’s penis, er his excellent post on penis size. It took a great deal of restraint and self-control not to post on a topic upon which I could probably write volumes (not all of them coherent or profitable I’m sure). I am here today, trying to leave. I have difficulty following through on some of my decisions.
    I have had some success working through disconnectedness. Cliquishness is a huge problem at my church, and I have had to overcome my natural shyness and timidity to work against that a be a change agent for good. If one is in Christ, one is going to change and mature. And Christ is changing me even in those areas where I am most weak or most broken. I got a lot of good experience working through relationship snags as a social worker. Most of the kids I worked with were so broken that they would greet me with an “F you old man!” or silent sullenness which they might maintain for weeks. I didn’t allow the enemy to discourage me with their negativity. I knew if was about their brokenness and not my own. After giving them a lot of space, they usually came around to trust me and value my input.
    I’m presently involved in some important ministries, and I am having to act outside my comfort zone again for the sake of the kingdom. I do not like confronting nasty behavior but somebody has to do it. Sadly, Christians do really ugly things to other Christians all the time. And as a community of believers we are sadly underdeveloped in the critical skill set of repentance and forgiveness. I can usually function in these challenging roles because I can generally keep my eye on my priestly role. I believe all of us in the kingdom are priests for others, placed here to bring the good news of the kingdom.
    But when I enter the doors at YOB, I do not come as a priest. I walk in as the broken mess that I am inside. I attempt to to shine a light on the problems that I so skillfully hid from my small groups, prayer partners, and even myself for so many years. I try to be real even when it is painful facing that ugly stuff. And I have been blessed here and encouraged by the insight of others like you, Dean.
    Where I can overcome the disconnectedness elsewhere, I can’t seem to do it here. Because I am nowhere weaker than I am in the area of SSA. Where I have learned to recognize the voice of the accuser outside of YOB, I may still be mislead by him inside the YOB compound. The doubts about connecting here sound legitimate. I have lied to myself countless times about being inconsequential and lacking in dynamism. I have overcome much of that. But the similar struggles I am having here do not presently sound like lies to me.
    And I am not fishing for positive comments. I came here fishing for healing and relationship. There has definitely been healing. Thanks again to the truth you have spoken, Dean, which has contributed. There have been some truths that Kevin has shared that have nearly knocked me off my feet. I have applied many of them repeatedly. I am grateful for all of that. But I can’t seem to overcome the idea that I am not going to find those relationships here. I may be wrong again and may be back at a future time begging forgiveness. I am grateful for this ministry, especially for the young men here who have a support that I never had. I do not hesitate to send strugglers here. But it does sadden me that I do not seem to have a role in such an important and vital ministry. If anyone would like to stay connected while I am battling these questions, you can reach me at [email protected]

    • Thank you for being so open and honest, MI. I have always appreciated your thoughts and ideas here. I pray you do find your way back to YOB down the road. And I pray God provides those relationships and healing that you are looking for- if you continue to seek Him, I know He will provide it for you. Blessings, MI!

  • Dean. I’ve always appreciated your authenticity… and this post continues that. Over Christmas and the beginning of January, I also contemplated how much time I was spending on YOB and listening/journaling about the podcasts – is online community as good as physical community? Does it make sense to spend time on “one” topic? Would these “other brothers” actually want to spend time with me if we were in the same place? So, thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only one to travel down that thought path.

    • Physical community definitely has great power to it- but online communities have a unique value as well that can do so much. I’m thankful you are walking with this same path and doing so well! It’s encouraging to know we are never walking a path alone. I pray you continue to be blessed by YOB in every way God allows.

  • I am glad you are also sticking around! The vision at YOB is definitely something I believe God is going to bless and prosper in the future. Thank you for being with us in our early years!

  • Welcome back, bro! All is forgiven! I’m so glad you’re back on the saddle again and that you know now that not everything we feel or think is true. You are a real blessing to this community and the world that is reading your blog. You’re not an outcast; you’re unique, just like everybody.

  • Hi Dean – another married guy here, with a wonderful wife and two fantastic (but challenging…) teenage boys. You’re definitely not alone. I do ask myself why I’m here…I’m somewhat of a dinosaur when it comes to smartphones and social networking. I’m a relatively new arrival – I’ve never followed a blog in my life, never saw the point in it since I much prefer real, face-to-face interactions to virtual. But…I guess what keeps me here is the honesty about trying to reconcile our faith with our SSA struggles. Though almost every church I’ve been to has a “men’s ministry”, this topic is never on the menu. At most, you’ll hear some brief, oblique reference to masturbation and its evils, then it’s back to the regularly-scheduled program of barbecuing and sport-speak. The kind of nitty-gritty honesty you find here is just not something you find in a church setting, unfortunately – I’ve often thought about maybe trying to organize ministry around this, but wonder if that’s really helpful, or even my calling. I think there are dangers too, about where contacts made in such a group could lead. If a group such as this were to exist in the context of a church, perhaps it would be best led by men who aren’t susceptible to SSA.
    In any case, interestingly, it is not SSA struggles that almost made be turn my back on God, but rather the death of my father back in the ’80s. He was a pastor and English professor. He also was diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s disease one bright sunny day in the summer of ’85, and was told he had at most a year to live. Our small family of him, my mother and I were stunned (I have no siblings). We prayed, our church prayed, his extended family of brothers and sisters prayed…but the Lord took him 4 months later, at the age of 57. I always believed he would get better – if anyone played by the rules, it was my father, and with so many people praying for him, what other outcome could there be other than full healing? But God didn’t heal. And that sent me into a tailspin that took years to recover from. I never completely walked away from my faith, but I was sure angry at God. I have since come to terms with the facts that a) we all have to go some time; b) our times are completely in God’s hands; and c) God’s ways are not our ways but He is a good, good Father. In the light of eternity, our life span here on earth, be it 15 or 95 years, is but a speck. And maybe some of us get through the sanctification process faster than others…

    • Welcome to our group, Mysterytome. You and I have a lot in common. We both have gray hair (at 61 I am probably somewhat older than you). We are both dinosaurs when it comes to social networking and all the new technology. Like you, I grew up as an only child, although I had a half-sister who I did not get to know until I was 30. My father also died prematurely in the 1980s; he was in the hospital for 5 months before his death. You and I have also had our battles with SSA and are currently having trouble finding a group of men locally who we can open up with. May I suggest that you join our secret Facebook group, Yobbers. It has been a Godsend for me! We can actually contact the other brothers to form friendships. Three budding friendships have arisen from the group in just the past month or so. You may find one or more brothers who live near you, or at least within a day’s drive. If not, new members are joining all the time and it may not be long before you find a friend nearby. Because it is a “secret” group you may, like me, feel free to share your name while continuing to use a pseudonym on the primary YOB site (if you join YOBBERS, I am the one who lives near Philadelphia). In any case, welcome aboard, my brother !!!

    • Hey Mystery to me!
      Glad you made it back…
      Nobody makes it all the way through the sanctification process while still on earth. Oh I long for that day when I am no longer on earth and my sanctification is complete! Great Day!
      You made one comment that stuck out to me: If a group such as this were to exist in the context of a church, perhaps it would be best led by men who aren’t susceptible to SSA.
      I recently asked the pastor of a church to consider finding some mature men in his church who could be friends/pastors providing spiritual care for the group of SSA men that meet in the church building twice a month for Joel 2:25 meetings. The pastor was open to this and I asked him to pray about it. What a wild idea. Ask and you shall receive.

  • Giving up on God? I think that’s how I currently feel. I’ve struggled with SSA due to life circumstances, and although I believe in God, believe in His ability to change things for me, I’ve come to a point where I simply don’t believe He will. Years have passed and I feel miserable. I don’t know if I’m supposed to accept this and “embrace” it, or continue trying to fight it unsuccessfully. It’s exhausting to even think about it.

    • John – I know how you feel, as does everyone else here. Don’t give up on God – He may change things for you, or He may not, but you can be assured that you are His child. Jesus made it clear that if we want to truly follow Him, there will have to be self-denial at some point (which, of course, goes directly contrary to what the world tells you). Every true follower has to take up his cross; SSA happens our particular cross to bear. The journey will not be easy, in fact difficult and dangerous in spots, but we will be better when it’s all said and done if we run the race set before us. One day at a time.

      • One day at a time for sure. There’s just a lot of stress that comes with dealing with this sort of issue while being Christian. A lot of people see it at the very top of the “pyramid of sins”. It’s been oddly refreshing to meet people lately who see it as any other type of sin. I don’t know if they’re right in thinking that way, but it has at least made me feel better about myself. I guess it goes back to how the common thought is that feeling same-sex attraction is the same as being gay. I, myself, have not been able to truly define gay. It’s something I’ve got to think about.

    • Hi John! I accepted the horror of SSA long ago, but I mistakenly embraced it shortly afterwards. Just because one is SSA doesn’t mean they have to live like it (despite the propaganda of the LGBT movement). You be the child of God, not living up to the expectations of anybody but Him! Love you dude!

      • Hey man. It’s difficult to understand why God would give us this achilles heel and feel like it’s something we’ve got to deal with alone, at times. I don’t know what His plans are. They’re supposed to always be for good. I just hope I can soon look back and agree.

    • John – I can empathize with you, my brother. Before I became a Christian I was consumed with SSA lust and craved porn something horrid. After my conversion there were some pretty heavy duty battles, I can assure you. Thankfully, my SSA levels have decreased radically over the years. However, I still get an “attack” from time to time, especially when I am deprived of non-sexual intimacy for long stretches. God doesn’t always prevent temptations – sometimes he chooses to guide us safely through them. DON”T DEMAND THAT GOD COMPLETELY CHANGE YOU TO THE POINT WHERE YOU HAVE NO SSA ATTRACTION WHATSOEVER. The men I have known who tried ex-gay ministry and then went back into the gay lifestyle usually went in expecting – and insisting on – nothing less than that. They were willing to give up homosexual behavior ON THE CONDITION that God transform them into pure heterosexuality. God may, over time, heal you completely of any and all SSA attraction. Then again, you may be like me and have to go to battle with temptation at times. You might also find that, even if you still feel attracted to men, you could, nevertheless, lose the attraction to homosexual acts. God may, eventually, call you into marriage with a godly woman. Then again, He may call you to a life of celibacy. Remember that you must “fight the good fight” in HIS power, not your own. If you battle temptation in your own power, you will indeed find yourself defeated – and exhausted. Don’t “embrace” SSA. Whatever you do, do not embrace the “gay” identity. Merely having SSA and battling temptations does NOT make you gay. Having a gay past does not mean that you are gay now, even if you battle temptations. Your identity and your life are now in Christ, not your sexuality. Remember, dear brother, that we love you and are here to help you. Please seek us out whenever you need us.
      Buckdipper

      • Thank you. I was feeling particularly tired of it all yesterday after speaking to my psychologist. I’ve never considered myself gay, and yet, it contradicts my behavior when I’m in a lustful state of mind. It’s only been until recently that I began to think about not how it all started – but why it all started. There are so many underlying issues that stem back to childhood and it’s difficult to deal with them even as an adult.
        And thank you for pointing that having SSA and battling temptations does not make me gay. My mind is so confused at times, I don’t even know how to think of myself.

  • Dear Dean,
    I know exactly how you felt. I live alone and people never stop by because I have no friends that live close enough to stop by and that’s because I have only 2 people that are “friends”. Before I was saved by the Blood of Christ Jesus I was not excepted by the straight crowd or was I welcomed into the gay crowd. After salvation, when I went to church, I found another group where I could be left out, however that was many years ago and I did go back into the world.
    The Word says that God is married to the backslider and I see that that is true! As will happen, life went on and God has ways of getting our attention. Now it’s been over 15 years since I was saved and as for my friends increasing they have not but I want to draw closer to my Lord more than I want friends. Don’t misunderstand me! If it is His will then friends will come, no doubt! In the meantime let me say with all my heart, ” Lord, let me live to glorify You and help me to bring my will inline with Yours!”

      • Forgive me.
        February 02, 2017
        Dean,
        First, I would like to tell you how thankful I am for your kind and most encouraging words.
        I hope that I didn’t mislead anyone! I apologize if I did, it was certainly not my intent to write anything that would lead people to the conclusion that I was unhappy, disappointed, accusatory or alone! I see now how my comment could have given this most untrue appearance.
        Please allow me to clarify! I love my Lord and my God with all my soul! He has not only given me cleansing through His holy BLOOD but has delivered me from the very arms of satan. I don’t refer to a symbol, or a lifestyle, or horrendous thoughts. I speak of the very real arms of the devil and I am positive that the encounter was with the same satan that is the opposer of the Living and only True God!
        This creature came into my room one night and took me out of my bed and into the air above my room. His eyes were black (the deepest black I’ve ever seen and they reflected nothing, no light, no mirror image of me, just blackest black) It’s skin was not like any skin I have ever felt before, you see I could feel every muscle in his arms and chest, it was as if silk passed under my fingers as I pushed against him. However, I could also feel the immense strength and power they held. A thought came into my mind about the work of the satan and he answered, “I am HaSatan, Hebrew for “The Satan” . I didn’t know the Hebrew word for satan before this encounter.
        He kept trying to push me down to give him oral sex and with his usual propensity for lying, promised to protect me and be mine, that he loved me, etc.
        I fought against him and rebuked him in the name of Jesus. I also know my Lord and Savior was listening and hindered satan’s power and strength since he could not push me all the way down to where he wanted me. How can I be so sure of this, like I said, the strength and power was incredible, had God not set the limits there would have been no fight. Our confrontation went on for some time, how long I can’t be sure. Then I was beginning to grow weaker in my body but not in my spirit, I told him repeatedly that I did not want him touching me and how much I hated him. Often, however, he would laugh and reply that he knew me and what I wanted.
        He would ask me if I thought he was beautiful and strong, I replied with the truth: “Yes, you are so handsome and I know you’re stronger than any man I’ve ever known, but it’s still a fact that I don’t what you!” Growing more and more tired I called out that I could not keep fighting and I needed God’s help!
        Instantly, another man entered the room and I watched as he threw ha satan out of the room and it was like he was pulled into a hole in the air. This other man then lowered me back onto my bed and was gone. I was immediately in the spirit and praising God, as my Great God and Father spoke to me in a way that has only happened one other time in my life, His voice came from everywhere in the room! Not in the usual way He speaks in our minds, but as if He were in the room with me. I know He was speaking from His throne when He said that I would never have to go through that with the devil again.
        So you see now that I was and still am growing closer and closer to my God, through His grace and love my eyes have been opened even further allowing me to gain knowledge that God promised to all those who ask it of Him. Even though I thought I would have been horrified by that encounter with the very satan of the Bible, I was not but instead felt a calmness wash over me. Understand that when most people envision the devil they see exactly what he as worked so diligently to make sure they see, a red beast with horns, hooves and a pitchfork. To everyone who reads this beware of this lie he has concocted because it is exactly what he wants!
        Lots of love,
        Bryan

      • Forgive me.
        February 02, 2017
        Dean,
        First, I would like to tell you how thankful I am for your kind and most encouraging words.
        I hope that I didn’t mislead anyone! I apologize if I did, it was certainly not my intent to write anything that would lead people to the conclusion that I was unhappy, disappointed, accusatory or alone! I see now how my comment could have given this most untrue appearance.
        Please allow me to clarify! I love my Lord and my God with all my soul! He has not only given me cleansing through His holy BLOOD but has delivered me from the very arms of satan. I don’t refer to a symbol, or a lifestyle, or horrendous thoughts. I speak of the very real arms of the devil and I am positive that the encounter was with the same satan that is the opposer of the Living and only True God!
        This creature came into my room one night and took me out of my bed and into the air above my room. His eyes were black (the deepest black I’ve ever seen and they reflected nothing, no light, no mirror image of me, just blackest black) It’s skin was not like any skin I have ever felt before, you see I could feel every muscle in his arms and chest, it was as if silk passed under my fingers as I pushed against him. However, I could also feel the immense strength and power they held. A thought came into my mind about the work of the satan and he answered, “I am HaSatan, Hebrew for “The Satan” . I didn’t know the Hebrew word for satan before this encounter.
        He kept trying to push me down to give him oral sex and with his usual propensity for lying, promised to protect me and be mine, that he loved me, etc.
        I fought against him and rebuked him in the name of Jesus. I also know my Lord and Savior was listening and hindered satan’s power and strength since he could not push me all the way down to where he wanted me. How can I be so sure of this, like I said, the strength and power was incredible, had God not set the limits there would have been no fight. Our confrontation went on for some time, how long I can’t be sure. Then I was beginning to grow weaker in my body but not in my spirit, I told him repeatedly that I did not want him touching me and how much I hated him. Often, however, he would laugh and reply that he knew me and what I wanted.
        He would ask me if I thought he was beautiful and strong, I replied with the truth: “Yes, you are so handsome and I know you’re stronger than any man I’ve ever known, but it’s still a fact that I don’t what you!” Growing more and more tired I called out that I could not keep fighting and I needed God’s help!
        Instantly, another man entered the room and I watched as he threw ha satan out of the room and it was like he was pulled into a hole in the air. This other man then lowered me back onto my bed and was gone. I was immediately in the spirit and praising God, as my Great God and Father spoke to me in a way that has only happened one other time in my life, His voice came from everywhere in the room! Not in the usual way He speaks in our minds, but as if He were in the room with me. I know He was speaking from His throne when He said that I would never have to go through that with the devil again.
        So you see now that I was and still am growing closer and closer to my God, through His grace and love my eyes have been opened even further allowing me to gain knowledge that God promised to all those who ask it of Him. Even though I thought I would have been horrified by that encounter with the very satan of the Bible, I was not but instead felt a calmness wash over me. Understand that when most people envision the devil they see exactly what he as worked so diligently to make sure they see, a red beast with horns, hooves and a pitchfork. To everyone who reads this beware of this lie he has concocted because it is exactly what he wants!
        Lots of love,
        Bryan

  • Yes! I’ve come close to giving up on God. God worked on me a lot, and ironically one of Kevin’s posts really helped me to see that God did not give me the desire to be close to other men just to leave me hanging dry. So many things I could say. I’m rambling, but it’s good for YOB to have someone like you. If you bring a unique perspective then you are a special member of the group, not an outsider.

    • I’m so thankful that YOB has been able to help you! I pray you continue to see how God has not hung you out to dry in this life. And I appreciate the encouragement!

  • My comment has much to do with this blog and the logic did not come from me but from a question the Spirit of God posed to me. I have heard so many times by people that experience SSA, “God made me this way.” I have tried to explain why this is not true but in my feeble human mind I fail. I have spent many hours trying to think of the kind, non judgemental and Christ-like explaination, and I fail.
    A few weeks or so I was thinking about this and the Lord asked me this, If this is true then let’s go back to Adam and Eve. When they were created did I create them imperfectly? Was it My will that they should eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? If it was then why would I have warned them about eating from it?
    I thought about these questions a lot, even though I knew they were rhetorical. There is, however, much information and provide the answers to many of our questions.This, on top of the many other things that I love about my Holy God, is another reason that I love Him. When He speaks and gives us just a glimpse into His mind, His words will apply to many different questions that humans have and I am sure that if we could extract all the information contained in His simple answers we would know everything.
    So what did these questions reveal to you? Simply this, no our Holy God didn’t create sin nor did He imbed it in some back corner of Adam and Eve’s mind. We were never meant to fall from grace. If you are looking for the reason for your SSA then look to that serpent that was there in that Garden with them. God warned them for the reason that He gave them from the start, If you eat from this tree you shall die. ( I heard someone refute this by making the foolish statement that God lied. Adam lived to be….) Yes he did but the key word here is LIVED! Past tense. Adam and Eve died just as God said they would and such is still our lot today. Be assured the warnings He has given us in His Word will happen just as they did with Adam and Eve.
    My point is that, no matter what or who says different, from conception we are sinners. God allows us life, as He said He would, but none of us are born pre programmed. We are shaped by our environment, our nurture, and by that same “serpent” that was in that Garden over 6,000 years.ago. The only way to make this different is by turning to the Holy Son & God’s Word in the flesh, Jesus the Christ, who over 2,000 yrs ago shed His cleansing BLOOD on a cross, on a hill, died and 3 days after overcame death and is alive and seated at the right hand of His Father and our God.
    I pray to You, my Lord and my God and ask that You allow these things You in Your wisdom gave to me, allow as many as You will to see the truth and knowledge give by Your Spirit. I ask that it not only be given to those who serve you but to all Lord as pleases You. It’s in the name of Jesus that I ask this of You. Amen.
    And in the words of John I say, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

  • Hey Dean! I belong to the married, two kids, have SSA and so very often felt like I didn’t belong club.
    Yeah! I have often felt like I wanted to quit or escape or whatever…and I have cried enough tears in my life when I have felt ALL ALONE.
    I think that there is always a sense of hope when you are a follower of Jesus Christ, that nags at the back of your mind and reminds you that God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you…and this small voice breaks through to keep you going and to help you out of the hole you find yourself in.
    I like these lyrics from Casting Crowns. They help me not to quit…
    But the giant’s calling out my name and he laughs at me
    Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
    The giant keeps on telling me
    Time and time again “boy, you’ll never win!
    “You’ll never win”
    But the voice of truth tells me a different story
    And the voice of truth says “Do not be afraid!”
    And the voice of truth says “This is for My glory”
    Out of all the voices calling out to me
    I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
    …I will listen and believe
    Cause Jesus you are the voice of truth
    Thanks for writing. Yes, Dean, you do belong. Your posts mean a bunch to me. I like it that you are married (like me). I like it that you have 2 kids (like me). You may be sort of the odd one out (like me), but there are readers at YOB that are also the odd ones out and we need you. Hang in there!

  • Dean

    I write under this pseudonym account and do my best to pursue Jesus Christ every day. I fail often, yet I get back up each time. I am married to an incredible woman I call Lisa – she is far better than I deserve. My daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life. And in my spare time, I watch my favorite TV shows and movies, play RPG video games, and hang out with my friends. Yes, I am a nerd and I am proud of it.

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