This is an ongoing “Fruit of the Spirit” series featuring my past perspectives from December 2019 along with my present-day reflections in 2020. Check out my series intro, my first post about love, my second about joy, my third about peace, my fourth about patience, my fifth about kindness, my sixth about goodness, and now my next installment about faithfulness below.
Dean from December 2019
The day before my wedding, I received a message from a good college friend of mine. This friend, a trans individual, knew about my sexuality. Though we didn’t agree in our faiths, we cared for each other as two of the few LGBT+ individuals at our conservative Christian institution.
I was initially excited for their message – but was then shocked upon reading it. My friend cautioned me about getting married to a woman:
Don’t force her into marrying someone who isn’t attracted to her when your attractions will probably never change.
I was initially hurt and confused, though I did see my friend simply wanting to watch out for me. I assured them that Lisa and I both knew what we were doing.
My friend thanked me for listening, and we have remained in contact since.
Many years later, I am even more thankful for my friend’s message. I have met many other couples in mixed-orientation marriages (MOMs), and sadly, I have watched many of them fail due to unfaithfulness: an affair or a change in beliefs.
Either way, the faithfulness went away.
Faithfulness has to be more than an action, though. None of these fruits of the Spirit have come off as “action only.”
So, what does it mean to show faithfulness? And as a queer man, what does faithfulness in my sexuality look like?
Is it honoring my beliefs no matter what?
Is it glorifying God in my convictions, thoughts, words, and actions?
Or is it something more?
It has to be more.
Faithfulness cannot just be honoring my wife and God through purity. While that is important, the internal factor must be greater and more complex.
I am both scared and excited for the depth of faithfulness left to discover in 2020 . . .
Dean in October 2020
F– 2020. F– this journey. F– faithfulness. F– it all.
Goodness was fantastic; faithfulness is the f–ing worst.
Dear reader: I am sorry to say that you will not know the details of this month’s reflection on faithfulness. Some things are too personal, too vulnerable for me to share on a blog. Here’s what I will say:
Faithfulness has so much more to do with strength than I ever realized. Truthfully.
This fruit of the Spirit requires strength and power and endurance like none other. Peace was a cakewalk compared to faithfulness. Peace was finding a foundation in the storm.
Faithfulness is being beaten to a bloody, messy pulp and still saying, “God, I trust you.” It means having nothing left and still saying:
Psalm 16:2 (ESV):
“You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
Faithfulness is f–ing hard s–. And it has hurt me deeply this year — deeper than I ever imagined possible.
Yet, still, I will trust God, and I will declare that He is my Lord and my ultimate good.
After all, God has been faithful to me — how could I ever be unfaithful to Him?
Is faithfulness a difficult fruit of the Spirit for you? How have you been challenged with faithfulness, either with the Lord or with your spouse?
As always, I love your realness Dean. Thanks for sharing what you’re able. Praying for you, brother. Your faith inspires me.
Dean, thanks for sharing.
I’ve never had a problem with that word and I’m sorry I can’t quite relate. When I hear the word faithfulness I think of one thing-God’s faithfulness to me in my life. Sure, he allowed my SSA and the accompanying pain, the heavens have been brass at times, I have felt abandoned by Him. But, somehow I knew He was still there-He radically saved me. He never stopped loving me I know full well. So, I truly can sing of His faithfulness.
Now-my faithfulness? I have failed many times, and have hurt my wife through porn and masturbation in my past. But, I have repented and I am forgiven. I do have a very high sense of responsibility as a man who stands before God and is attempting to be the spiritual leader for my wife and family and at church. I want to be a faithful man.
So, I guess I don’t have a problem with that word.