A pastor advised me many years ago to beware of my choice of identity. We were discussing my SSA and comments made by some friends at the time. I was upset that they commonly used “gay” as a detrimental term when they were frustrated.
My pastor did not excuse their words. He sat them down later to caution them on the impact of their words. However, he gave me a thought to consider:
“Be careful what flag you fly over yourself.”
This thought didn’t mean much to me at the time; I believe it needed to marinate. Many, many years later, I finally feel that I am beginning to understand this comment.
The flag I fly over my life determines so much of what I do and how I interact with the world.
If I strictly fly the flag of my sexuality, I view the world solely through my attractions. I see everything in life as related to homosexuality and its community.
If I fly the flag of my gender, then I choose to view my life based upon my definition of masculinity and femininity. This colors all of my opinions and beliefs; it would potentially bring me to choose an alternate path into a trans lifestyle.
If I fly the flag of my career, then I choose to see life as only seeking out Sunday morning success. The more kids and adults I teach, the more successful my life will be.
I have flown many flags in my life. I have chosen the three flags above in addition to many others. I have even made other people the flag of my life.
Yet no flag has ever been able to stand the test of time. No flag has ever stood with me through every terrible and successful part of my life. No flag has ever completely defined me the way I have desired.
Every person, every relationship, every idea, every family member, every leader — all of them failed me at some point.
I know this is where you expect the Sunday School answer. You know: “Jesus is the flag of my life” and whatnot.
But that’s not the case.
I realized that living under a flag was not a way to live. Living under a flag means you throw up your idea or identity and let others just see it as is. It means no interaction. It means no explanation. It means your identity is without influence on others.
That’s not the life I have been called to live.
God called me to live a life that glorifies Him. He called me to serve others. He called me to spread His word and message. That’s not a flag to fly over myself. That’s a life to live. And what’s what I want.
I have forgone the flags that I used to fly over my head. Now, I engage people in conversations and share my life with them.
My identity in Christ is growing stronger, my influence for His name is deepening, and my relationships are more fulfilling.
Life is greater living flag-free.
Do you have trouble viewing your faith and life beyond the lens of your sexuality? What other flags do you fly over your life?
* Photo courtesy saintseminole, Creative Commons.