Thank God I'm Gay

I remember my dad taking me to a clinic for shots as a child. You know, those potentially life-saving shots that kids need at those early stages. The fear of needles seems like a normal phobia for any child to have. No one likes pain. So naturally I whined and cried and refused to get those jabs.

My dad had to sit me down and explain to me that they were necessary so I didn’t get sick. But never having actually gotten any of these serious diseases, I couldn’t comprehend the importance of those vaccines.

Suffice to say I eventually got the jabs, complete with tears and wails and post-shot ice cream to put a smile on my face.

But imagine if it went beyond shots. Imagine if it was something more serious. Something that required a much more painful procedure to save my life. All the pain, the tears and cries, the lack of understanding of why this was happening to me. And through it all, my dad would have to reassure me. To tell me it’s necessary and I had to go through it so that I would not die. That I would be made stronger. That I could live the life that he so hoped I would be able to live.

And therein lies the purpose of suffering.

The idea that God would ordain suffering and pain is something not many of us like the sound of. Why would God not only allow me to go through pain but actually will it?

Because it is part of His plan. There is a clear connection between joy and suffering in the New Testament. We are continually reminded to rejoice when we’re suffering, especially if it’s God’s will. (see James 1:2, 1 Peter 4:14, Hebrews 10:34, 2 Corinthians 8:2, Acts 5:41, Colossians 1:24, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 2:17, 1 Peter 3:17)

Ultimately, it bring deeper holiness and faith as we rely on Him. It also makes others bold when they see us willingly suffer for Christ, and it makes Christ’s suffering real and present for those that see it. Moreover, it often shakes us up to go places and do things that we might otherwise not want to—Jesus said his disciples would receive the Holy Spirit and go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. But up till the end of Acts 7, the church had grown and this great dispersal had not happened. Then Stephen was martyred, the church persecuted and SCATTERED, and the gospel spread far and wide! (see Acts 1:8, 8:1 & 11:19)

Most of all, the supremacy and greatness of Christ is made manifest in our suffering. When we find joy in Christ in the midst of suffering, He is glorified! Is that not the point of our lives? To bring glory to our Saviour?

The question then becomes: “Would you still follow Christ if you knew you would have to go through pain? Hurt? Persecution from others? Maybe even death?”

So then we come to the crux of the matter in my life — I am gay. Or more specifically, I have same sex attractions. There’s a difference between the attraction/temptation and the actual act. And I believe in Christian celibacy. So when people would ask me why I have to go through this mental and emotional pain for days, weeks, months, years and decades, I could only say “I don’t know”.

But these past few days I have learnt so much about suffering and its place in my life as a follower of Christ. There is purpose in my suffering. There is a reason that God willed it for me to have these attractions. Through the struggle, I grow and mature in faith. I become stronger, more able to resist sin and the evil and death it promises.

Through it all, my Father reassures me. Tells me it’s necessary and I have to go through it so that I will not die. That I will be made stronger. That I will be able to live the life that He so hopes I will be able to live. To deny myself everyday and seek Christ as my source of joy in suffering. Because in doing so, I remember that His Grace is sufficient for me, His strength sustains me, and most important of all, His Name is glorified.

Did God make me gay? Today I can say, “Yes. He did. Because he has a PURPOSE for my life.”

Singular Freedom

Valentine's day is around the corner (or already here for some of you), and I find myself thinking about relationships again. And we all know the saying—“Better to have loved and lost” and all that jazz. But as a Christian gay celibate bachelor, some days I think it’s the opposite.

While I do sometimes yearn for the intimacy that comes with having a significant other, there are also many moments when I am almost grateful I don’t have to handle someone else’s crap. No attachments, no being tied down, no drama. That’s really what I enjoy about the bachelor life. I am free to make of my day whatever I want to and am not beholden to anyone.

Now, I’d like to proclaim that this works out for the better. I’d like to say that frees me up to focus on Christ. I’d like to think that with that lack of a physical and emotional distraction in the form of a relationship, I am able to concentrate on my walk with God. But that’s not always the case.

But with that Bible study I mentioned in a previous post, things are getting easier. I am learning to ignore and move past the old triggers, the regular temptations of lewdness and nudity and lust and desire.

Just gotta take it step by step, one day at a time.

Fighting the Site

I’m addicted to porn. I have been for a very long time, ever since I entered adolescence and heard about it in rumoured whispers in school. The release of masturbation is something that, like any drug, is powerfully enticing and hard to resist. The lustful thoughts I have cultivated and indulged over the years haunt me every day. But all I can do is rely on God to help me through.

There’s this site I have been visiting frequently over the past year or so. It’s basically one with real people doing stuff for money. You pay them, they dance / strip / masturbate / play with toys / have sex. Or even any combination of those. Some even do it for free.

And it’s completely addictive.

One night after a particularly long session staring at a guy on screen do things that satisfied my urges, I found myself introspective. Why was I having these desires? Why did I feel the need to come back day after day, night after night, and talk to and watch these guys? And then I realized what it was.

I wanted validation and connection.

You see, many of them seem just like normal people. They aren’t models or fancy porn stars. They’re just normal people who have signed up on this site to broadcast themselves for money. You can talk to them like normal people, and many of them share details of their days and their lives. It’s like having an online friend. A friend that strips and masturbates in front of you when you pay them.

And in some ways, that’s what I have yearned for in my heart. I desired a guy who I can talk to, laugh with, and have sex with. And I do realize that this site is a mere shadow, a shallow imitation of that. These people don’t really know me, or care about me. Their compliments and smiles and praises extend as far as my wallet. But like any drug, it fills the void, if just for the moment. And the emptiness fades.

Which is why I need Christ. He sees me in my dirt and depravity. He can fill up this emptiness with His love, His grace, His righteousness. Here I am, a sinful man who indulges his own sin, trying to claw myself out of this pit of addiction.

Good news is, it’s been better in recent weeks. I’ve been attending a bible study about relational brokenness, and some of the lessons I’ve learned have been amazingly eye-opening. I’m still a little hesistant about opening up fully about my struggle — I’m still very much in the closet — but it’s good to know I’m surrounded by people who are dealing with similar issues and are there for me if I need it. And through it all, I still hold to the truth that has brought me all this way.

Christ is enough for me.

On Men and Respect for Women

Everyone seems to be talking about Miley Cyrus and her twerktastic performance on stage with Robin Thicke at the recent VMAs. Most people agree it was a little—if not entirely—disturbing. In the wake of that, a mom posted an article in the form of a letter to her daughter about how not to be like Miley. It's a good read.

But it was this piece by Matt Walsh that really got me thinking. It's basically the same letter, but from Walsh to his son and how boys shouldn't be like Robin Thicke. Here's the clincher though:

See, son, you don’t have to be big and strong to be a man, although I think you will be one day. You don’t have to be “cool” or athletic. You don’t have to play guitar or fix cars. These are all fine things, but they don’t define a man. A man is defined by how he treats women, by how he keeps his promises, and by how he protects and serves the ones he loves. That’s what makes a man a man. 

I truly believe that God created men and women to be together, to love and cherish one another, to support and complement one another, to be two individuals who agree to come together and become two smaller pieces of a greater God-ordained whole. As men, we are to respect, protect and honour women. 

Even if I am unable to be with a woman I love and cherish, I should still honour the women in my life—my mom, my aunts and cousins, my friends. Being gay doesn't absolve me of that responsibility. 

A Toe out the Door

Coming out is kind of a big deal. Always has been, even in places where being gay is becoming more accepted. And since I've already been involuntarily outed twice—I'm unsure if that's a big or small number—I've been rather measured in choosing who I confide in.

Say there are two good friends that I care about. Why might I share with one of them my every thought and struggle and hope and dream, and not ever share anything really personal with the other? There are myriad reasons for this choice, whether it be that I feel one of them can "handle the truth" whilst the other can't, or that one of them just isn't ready for it yet, or perhaps just that I don't like the idea of some friends knowing that I'm gay for fear that it would change the perception of me that I think they have. It doesn't even matter if they're good understanding Christians. Sometimes I like being "just another straight guy". Because unfortunately, very often you can't just be "one of the guys" when all the guys know you're gay.

Whatever the reasons, suffice to say I'm picky about who I let into my inner confidence, as should everyone be. All these thoughts have sprung up because a friend of mine has been trying to persuade me to come out to my parents. Or rather, he has been encouraging me to do so, citing the fact that he came out to his and it turned out well.

I know he means well, and I appreciate his concern and how his situation turned out well. But I have my doubts. My parents are not like his parents. My culture is not like his culture. My country is not like his country. I am not him.

Do I want my parents to know? I... don't know. I'm quite happy living this little masquerade. If my parents think I'm straight, I don't think I'm too bothered to change their perspective. Sure, maybe it could it turn out the way my friend says, that things will go good and it'll improve the familial relationship and blah blah blah, all the great stuff you see in Hallmark movies. But it could also go horribly wrong. There could be nasty reactions, dire consequences, fear of disgrace of family honour and name. And I don't want to have to go through that.

You never know unless you try. But I don't think I'm going to try. This closet is comfortable. Plus the decor is fabulous.

I'm Anti-Gym

I was going to say that I hate going to the gym, but thought better of it. 'Hate' is a strong word, and I'm not sure I feel that level of dislike for the gym and the workouts that it involves. The straining and the pushing and the pain and the aches for days after. No. No, thank you. People say, "No pain, no gain". I prefer the motto "No pain, no pain".

Seriously though, I've tried going to the gym multiple times in the past, but it has always been a habit I could never cultivate. Perhaps it's just plain laziness. Or a lack of determination and willpower. And though on some level a lot of what I say against working out may just be excuses to justify my laziness, it's not like I live a completely sedentary lifestyle. I play sports regularly (or try to, at least).

Mostly I  dislike the constant barrage of eye candy that surrounds me every time I step into a gym. All these sweaty, toned guys lifting weights and grunting and heaving and verbally spurring one another on. All that machismo, testosterone and pseudo-homoeroticism. Oof. I don't like how it makes me feel. Not a good place for me to be. And don't even get me started on communal showers. What's that about?

But if I were to work out religiously—there's no denying the level of fanaticism some gym-goers reach—I'm sure it would be worth the beach-worthy body I would achieve. Who wouldn't want to look like a Greek god? However, knowing me, it'd be another reason to vain out and just post shirtless pics on Instagram to show off all my hard work. You know, if you got it, flaunt it, etc.

So yes, another reason not to work out. I'll just stick to sports.

Hello Again

A friend asked me why I don’t do any long-form writing anymore, and I simply replied that I didn’t see the point of expressing my thoughts and opinions in blog form anymore. She was referring to my other blog which is free of any reference to faith/gay struggles, but my response stands.

I used to ask myself why I wrote. Why I blogged. What was the point? Early on, on my other blogs, it was a means of expression, but it was also to write for an audience. Like their acknowledgement and agreement with my thoughts and opinions meant validation. Cogito ergo sum. And you agree with me, so you agree that I am. But this place was always different. I didn't stop writing here because I didn't need validation anymore. I think we always need validation, and it comes in different ways and forms throughout our lives. No, I stopped writing here because much of what I had to say, I have already said.

But lately, I've had people ask me for my thoughts. And I've been reminded about how a repository such as this of thoughts and ideas and emotions can be helpful, not only for me, but for anyone reading. So here we are again.

In the span of time since I really wrote anything proper, a lot has happened. And not all of it good. A while back I had encounters with a guy I fell head over heels for, and we both knew the dangers and the hurt that would come, but we went on anyway.

I guess I thought I loved him. But in hindsight, it was just the validation I craved. I wanted to be wanted. For once in my life, after all those years of wanting others and yearning for connection, someone wanted me back. Someone desired me too. Someone looked in my eyes and felt how I felt.

The thing is, in the days before I plunged into that sin, I distinctly remember praying and hearing God tell me, "You know that if you do this, it can only end badly." And yet I did it. I brought forth pain and hurt. I brought forth spiritual death and sent a man spiralling away from God. Sure, if I think back on it, I could somewhat vindicate myself and say that he was already moving away. But I cannot deny that I was probably the catalyst. If he was a powder keg, it was I that lit the fuse. I cannot deny my hand in his descent. I cannot in good conscience stand before God and say it wasn't my fault. Because it was. And is.

It could only end badly. And it did. We don't even talk anymore, and though we both know there's blame to share, sin doesn't discriminate. It can drag down everyone and anyone, regardless of how differently you may fight or not. And all I have left is to call out to God for forgiveness, and ask Him to help me clean up the mess I made. That somehow, maybe He can undo some of the damage I brought about.

We've both moved on from those days, or perhaps simply just moved past. The stains of sin are still there, some wounds left unhealed, some cuts still deep. But I was the one who held the knife. And the scars may be ugly and may have taken their toll, but they also serve as a reminder of the dangers of sin. They remind me that I do not have the willpower to say no if faced with deep, complex emotional temptation.

Most of all, they remind me of my ever-present need for my Saviour's grace and mercy and strength.