I did not want to be defined as an angry man. I did not want to be defined as a fearful man. I did not want to be defined as a homosexual. I did not want to be defined as a recovering homosexual. I did not want to be defined as an emotional basket case - yet at one time in my life, I felt all those things. I felt that those things defined me since that was the way I felt. Feelings define no one. Feelings simply tell us what we are thinking about. If we can change the way we think, we can change the way we feel. Easier said than done, right?
Just a Thought on Feelings
Why in the world would anyone allow the way they feel to define their entire being? I sometimes feel like lashing out in anger. Yet, I don’t - and I do not call myself an angry person just because I felt that way.
I sometimes feel like taking something that does not belong to me. Yet, I do not call myself a thief just because I felt like stealing something.
I sometimes feel like a loser. Yet, I do not allow that feeling to define who I am as a person.
Every feeling I have comes as a result of something I have thought. Each feeling I have is attached to a thought I have had. What I have learned is that if I change the way I think, I can change the way I feel. Some have told me I am simply brainwashing myself…and I have to agree. I have allowed Truth to wash away the lies I have thought about myself and have replaced those lies with right thinking about who and Whose I am. And guess what? My feelings have followed suit!
Don’t get me wrong. This has not always been easy. It is a battle…but a battle worth fighting! Though I have fallen at times, I just keep getting back up. The only failure is the person who falls and chooses to not get back up.
I do not define myself. My Maker gets to do that. I seek Jesus. He reveals the lies I believe and shows me the Truth. It is up to me to put off those lies and to replace them with the Truth. A depth of freedom has come as a result of this mind renewal that I never thought possible. This realization keeps me seeking Jesus for more! It has afforded me something the world seems to think is impossible. Self-control.
Just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is…and it - that feeling - certainly does not define who I am.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2 NASB
For the first 22 years of my life, I felt different. At first, I felt like I was something less than a real boy. I enjoyed drawing and playing the piano and I loved dancing. My emotional sensitivity was interpreted as effeminate and my sensitivities made the other boys uncomfortable…and I felt uncomfortable around other boys. I felt right at home with girls.
When puberty hit and sexual awareness set in, I felt as if I were something less than a man. I felt homosexual. I felt gay. That awareness - that feeling - lasted until I was 22 years old. At that age, something wonderful happened - or BEGAN to happen - that would change everything I thought about myself. What I discovered was something revolutionary and new, yet as old as time itself.
What I discovered was that I could change my feelings by simply changing the way I thought about myself - about the world in general. One of the first things that changed was my perception of homosexuality. No longer would I think of it as my identity. After that eventful day, I began to think of it as merely a temptation - an attraction that was contrary to the way God had made me; an awareness that somewhere along the way, my thoughts concerning my sexual identity had somehow been co-opted by what I now refer to as stinkin’ thinkin’.
I had believed a lie.
When one realizes they have been lied to - been duped - they feel betrayed. And I certainly felt betrayed. When one feels betrayed, they stop trusting the one who betrayed them, right? This book is my attempt to explain and express the journey toward mental and spiritual wholeness that set me free from something the world says one cannot be free of - something the world says you do not need to be free of. I write this in the hope that someone else out there might be going through the same struggle I faced - regardless of whether that struggle involves their sexual identity or an addiction or a wrong belief system that leads to constant defeat - and find what they are looking for in Jesus...THE Answer..
My desire is to operate in complete freedom - what my Maker calls freedom - rather than in what the world calls freedom: man doing what man feels like doing and calling it an identity in order to make them feel better about themselves. Feelings change according to the thoughts we think. Unless and until we deal with the underlying thoughts that lead to the feelings we have, we will never get to the root of our issues and never walk in true and real freedom - and negative feelings will rule the day. It is the man/woman who deals with their thought life - replacing lies for what is true - that walks in true freedom.
This writing, and that which follows, involves questions I have had to answer through the years that have led me from stinkin’ thinkin’ to right thinking; from feelings of rejection and confusion over sexual identity to feelings of knowing who and Whose I am and feelings of heterosexuality. I invite you to read on and challenge you to ask yourself the questions contained within these pages. I challenge you to see your life and identity from a Christ-centered point of view rather than from a humanistic/man-centered point of view. One leads to futility. One leads to hope. Which will you choose?