He was sitting there waiting for me, like usual. He’d already gotten his Starbucks drink, and I walked in ready to talk.
My pastor asked if I was okay, though he knew I wasn’t. He could tell I was an emotional wreck, that I needed to get some stuff off my chest.
I felt numb, this deep despair inside me, like all my energy had escaped me. I only had enough to meet with him on this particular day.
For the past few months, every Wednesday afternoon, we’d meet up to talk about life. I came out to him a few months prior when my best friend was beginning his relationship with his new girlfriend. I knew I could trust my pastor, telling him I was gay in our first meeting.
He didn’t flinch, he wasn’t surprised, and he didn’t degrade me one bit. He didn’t understand it all, but my pastor knew he had a job to understand my story, at the very least.
He asked me how I was doing, and I responded with a drained facial expression like eh. I think that was the most proper response I could express, especially from what had happened in the past few days. I gave him an update on my job, my feelings for Annie, my confusion and low self-worth, and this notion of just wanting to end it all.
I talked often with my pastor about my past hookups — not in great detail, but enough to give him an idea of what had happened to me during those times.
He could tell I was different this time. Usually when people talk about their past, they beat around the bush and use “Christianese” terms to soften the blow, making themselves look not as bad as it seems.
I didn’t care if I looked bad, though. I just cared that my pastor understood what my journey had taken to get here.
The majority of our talks focused on what happened to me at my old church several years prior and how that affected my viewing of myself and ministry. My pastor was pretty open talking about sexuality and the church. He knew that this present world was changing, especially the church world, and there might be a possibility of sexual minorities in the church — or ones making their way into church culture.
“Honestly, I don’t believe there is a ‘one’ for everyone!” he told me. “Almost everyone today is trying to find that one person, and I believe that can hinder someone’s walk with Christ. In a way, you’re forming an idol to this idea that you have to find that special someone to be completely whole!”
My pastor could tell I was still confused with this whole girl-situation, trying to bring some hope to all the stuff I was going through.
He took another sip of his coffee. “Look, I can’t say I’ve been where you have, but I’ve been close. There was this girl I was head over heals for! I even moved to Texas to be with her. But it didn’t work out, and I came back here. No, I didn’t come close to having thoughts to kill myself, but it felt like I didn’t have anything to live for. I thought she was the one, too!”
He continued. “I’m not saying to completely throw away this idea of Annie being ‘the one’ for you. Maybe she could be; maybe not. You did say she’s the only girl you’re attracted to and no one else. Maybe God is preparing you for a possible relationship in the future, or maybe God is showing you that your sexuality isn’t always gonna be 100%!
“Maybe God is showing you He is God, and He can do whatever He wills in your life.”
For some odd reason, those words comforted me.
“Dude,” he said, “you’re here for a reason, and I don’t think God would have sent you that scriptural epiphany unless he had some plan for you in the future. You’re the one who wanted to meet up with me and the one who came out to me after our first meeting! You’re the one who’s told me about all the junk you’ve put yourself through. You haven’t had to do that, but you have. I know God has something for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.”
I just stared at the table; everything he said was right. We chatted a bit more, and after talking for two hours it was time to go.
“I’ll see you at church this Saturday?” he asked me.
“Yeah,” I said, nodding. “I’ll be there.”
We went outside to our vehicles, and my pastor gave me a big hug. “Love ya, man.”
Despite knowing I don’t like hugs, he couldn’t resist.
“Love ya, too,” I said with a loud sigh.
I drove off and felt a little better, but it would be a few more months until I fully recovered. I still needed more advice with this whole girl-situation!
Have you come out to your pastor? Do you regularly confess/share with your pastor?
I love me a good cliffhanger. Can’t wait to read more.
And yes, I have shared my story with at least 3 pastors and a whole church. It worked out well for me.
I was terrified to tell my pastor about my challenges with SSA, but felt I needed to. Praise God, my pastor listened and gave me such trust as he took what I was saying at face value. I’ve since found that it isn’t something that he is comfortable talking about regularly, which is a little sad for me, but he has provided important support and feedback on this issue in some times when I really needed it, and for that I am grateful.
I’ve been able to confide with a couple pastors over the years now. They’ve all received me with genuine empathy and grace. I feel lucky, or at least fortunate, for their reactions, knowing that many others hear a different story. Means a lot to have a pastor who can hear and walk with you on these matters. I wish it for all believers.