Story of my Life

Don’t even think about singing that song…

Hey, it’s me again.  As promised in my last post, here’s a bit more of my story; how I got to where I am now, and how I am still going to who knows where.

But before I say anything important, a little random side note.  I got to drive through a TORRENTIAL rainstorm tonight, and it was so much fun!  There’s something so exhilarating about careening through puddles on the road that look deep enough to hold the Loch Ness monster.  Although that would be impossible, because the Loch Ness monster is in Loch Ness…

Anyways, back to my intended subject material.  Please keep your arms, legs, and vital organs inside your chair at all times.

I was raised in a conservative Christian household, and attended a Lutheran church each Sunday.  (And I was also raised with Prairie Home Companion, so don’t worry about making Lutheran jokes… most of them aren’t far from the truth…)  By most standards we were a good Christian family.  And I actually mean that.  Obviously there are things we could have done better, but I don’t think changing anything my family did would have brought me to a different place from where I am right now.

I realized from very early on, even before puberty, that I was attracted to other men.  In a way, I’m a bit of an anomaly when it comes to how I viewed my same-sex attractions.  Probably due to the fact that I never really heard much about homosexuality, I never really viewed my orientation as a “problem”, and I didn’t have an intense feeling of shame over my sexuality.  I guess I knew that it would be sinful to act on my desires, and I just assumed I would end up marrying a woman.  But because of my lack of exposure to the issue of homosexuality, and because of how early I started being attracted to other men, I didn’t see myself as abnormal.  So throughout my childhood and into high school, my sexuality was always on the back burner in my brain.

Then after high school came college, and with it a myriad of new experiences, both emotional and academic.  Freshman year was the first time I experienced a full-fledged crush on someone; that wonderful mess of hormonal awkwardness that makes you feel the oh-so-famous “butterflies”… that felt an awful lot like sandpaper to me…

The realization that I had a crush on one of my friends hit me like a bag of bricks.  In an effort to stifle my feelings, I started avoiding any physical contact with him, even going so far as to avert my gaze whenever he entered the room.  And, doing what any good millennial would, I consulted the internet.  All that did, however, was simply to confirm my resolve to stay quiet about my attractions, and stick it out until I got over it.  And that was pretty much the end of it.  After a few months, I gradually stopped being so enthralled by him, and I pushed the issue of my sexuality to the back burner once again, now that the crisis had been averted.

The next couple years went by just like they had before, with nary a thought about my attractions.  This isn’t to say that it was all bad; I grew tremendously during those couple years!  I had a class with the professor who would eventually be the first person I came out to, that made me completely restructure how I think about the world, and my place in it.  I even started dating a girl which, like any relationship, helped make me much more aware of how to show love to people in the way that they need to be loved.

Then, come junior year, I actually started thinking about how my sexuality and my faith would intersect.  I’m still not sure what spurred my sudden interest.  I had been struggling with pornography, and that semester was the first semester during which I had completely abstained from pornography, but much to my chagrin, my same-sex attractions didn’t go along with it, thereby coming to my attention as something I needed to deal with separately.  I was also at a bit of an impasse with regards to my relationship, realizing that I had no physical attraction to my girlfriend and that, despite dating for multiple months, I had not mentally progressed past the point of friendship.

There was one word that was on the forefront of my mind during this whole time: celibacy.  Would pursuing celibacy be a better idea than trying to force myself into a heterosexual relationship?  Would I be able to sustain celibacy?  One thing I will always remember is how joyful I was during my months of contemplation.  Rather than being hit with a bag of bricks, it felt more like being hit with a bag of marshmallows.  I came out to my aforementioned professor, and my pastor, and both were extremely helpful in helping me to hash out my thoughts while constantly directing me in ways that I could better serve God.  Not once did they try to change or “fix” me.  I also came out to a couple close friends, which made it feel like an incredible weight was being lifted off my shoulders.  I truly felt like I understood what it meant to be joyful in the midst of trials!

I realized that I had to break off my relationship, seeing as I couldn’t sustain a heterosexual relationship at that time.  I had told my girlfriend almost from the start that I was contemplating celibacy, but that didn’t make it any easier to break up with her.  It was hard for both of us, but I can honestly say that she is still one of my best friends.  Despite being hurt, she has shown me so much compassion, and she has truly loved me more than I deserved.  She remains someone that I can always talk to, who will always give me room to process my thoughts, and offer her insight when it’s necessary.

And that brings me to where I am right now.  I still have a lot of questions, and I’m still figuring things out.  There are a few questions that are especially troubling to me.  What if I can’t find a strong Christian community to get involved in?  How can I overcome my fear of coming out publicly?  How the heck am I supposed to live a life of celibacy in a culture that glorifies sex and relationships?  And only a few days ago, the realization hit me that after I graduate from college and move on to graduate school, I will be living on my own for the first time in my life, which is a terrifying thought.  Yet in the midst of all of this craziness, I have been able to remain joyful!  I am involved in a loving church community, I have two incredibly wise mentors in my life, and I have several very close friends.  I have been given all of these things only through the grace of God, and I just need to take one day at a time, working through my own questions, and reveling in the love that I am experiencing!

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Welcome to my brain

Hello peoples!  Thanks for reading this, and by doing so implying that this blog is actually interesting!  Now, I still need to convince myself that I actually have the time to maintain a blog…

Anyways, time to introduce myself.  My name is Jonathan! (very unique name, I know)  I am a full time student, I am a faithful Christian… well, I do my best on the faithful part… thank God for His boundless mercy!  In my free time, I train in martial arts, make music, indulge in various nerdy media, and enjoy reading a good book, whenever I have the time.  My ideal place to live would be somewhere wooded, with the smell of water nearby. (something about the smell of water is so invigorating!)  I also love food, both the making and eating of it, but mostly the eating part.  And I am same-sex attracted, and celibate.

Let us take a moment, and appreciate the subtle sound of everybody hurriedly clicking to somewhere else on the internet after reading that last sentence, shall we?… Oh, you stayed?  Well then, allow me to provide a little bit of explanation.

Yes, I am same-sex attracted.  I have been attracted to men my entire life, and I believe that my sexual orientation is not likely to change through any effort on my behalf.  I also believe what the Scriptures say about sexuality; that sex is to be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman.  Over the past year, and after reading many books and articles, I have been led to the decision to remain celibate.  Now, you may see that word and imagine me living a boring, friendless life, where I come home each night to nothing other than a pet and an empty bed. And I’ll admit, I do have a fear that that will be the case, but for the most part I see something far different.  I see a life in which I am able to give everything I have in service of God.  I see a life full of blessing.  I see a means of aiding the church in separating itself from an over-sexualized culture, and of helping others live a life of devotion to Christ.  In short, I see a life lived joyfully, a vocation of joy!

My stance on celibacy does deserve a bit of clarification.  By saying I am celibate, I am not saying that I will refuse to marry someone that God puts right before me, but I am saying that I will not focus my energies on finding a spouse.  I do believe that a mixed-orientation marriage is possible, but I choose to focus on growing in my faith rather than on a potential marriage.  To be frank, however, I’m not entirely set in my attitude towards celibacy.  I still have many unresolved thoughts on when and how to pursue a marriage, if the situation arises.  All in all though, I am certain that if I trust God, I will live a life full of joyous service to Him and to my community.  I once read a phrase that sums up a life of celibacy almost perfectly: “Indefinitely living a celibate life as a sacrifice of praise.”  I have no idea who said it, but it rings very true to me.  I have resigned my life to God, and I will remain celibate as long as He sees fit, and I do all of this out of praise for my Heavenly Father, who has been far more gracious to me than I deserve.  As the Westminster Catechism says, “Man’s chief is end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

A bit fuller story will be coming shortly, but I’ll leave that for another post.  For now, let me give you a little advice as to what to expect from this blog.  First off, I do NOT pull provoking thoughts out of my head one right after another.  You know what I’m talking about.  Some people just seem to be an endless well of wisdom, pulling post after post of the most interesting topics you can imagine out of their head, kind of like this.  When I try that, it usually ends up looking something like this.  Yeah, it’s not pretty…  However, I do get random inspirations for topics throughout my everyday life, and those will be the things I post about.  As a result, posts may be a bit more sporadic than most blogs.

I also do not intend on attacking or disrespecting anyone else’s views.  I definitely disagree with a lot of people, but I respect other people’s opinions and beliefs.  At the very least, I want people to be able to provide constructive thoughts on the topics that I write about.  At the very most, maybe I can help someone who is struggling with coming to terms with their faith and sexuality, similarly to how other blogs helped me when I was struggling.

So that’s that.  I am now a member of the blogging world!  I always welcome questions, discussion, or even just comments on how to make my blog better.  Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to spend reading my “hopefully” coherent ramblings!

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