Recently I’ve taken up mountain biking. It’s scary, but fun. I ride with a great deal of trepidation. On one of my last rides, with my well experienced friend Rex, he shared some words that were very profound that have stuck with me that I believe apply to us all on this journey out of homosexuality into following the Lord.
We were riding through the woods at break neck speeds, narrowly missing trees on the left and the right, as we rode the narrow trails through the trees. My eyes, wearing no glasses, were blurred from the speed of the wind dispersing the moisture in my eyes. Peeks, jumps, dips, rocks, roots, and narrow wobbly bridges with creeks below, would all challenge me as fear rose up with in me. Rex was ahead, moving swiftly with ease, while I struggled to stay on the bike. I was scared that I was going to get hurt, hit by a tree or fall off and get hurt even worse. Rex said to me, “If you’re not getting hurt, then you’re not doing it right.”
This journey involves not only struggle, but hurt and pain. Those of us that come out of homosexuality avoid conflict and pain like the plague. It is one of the biggest roots to this issue. We see charismatic men with great courage and strength, and we envy them. Filled with fear, we recoil from the challenge, started in childhood that has followed us into adulthood—boys in men’s bodies.
Like Rex being an experienced biker, riding swiftly with ease, I’ve been on this journey from homosexuality for a long time. I know that sometimes when I write, speak, or give counsel, I can and do trigger others’ fears. I’m not really trying to offend or hurt. I know, though, that my being so public and especially believing that all others should be too, at least to their spouse, family, and close friends (based on James 5:13-16), that I can be a stumbling block or sword to the heart that can trigger to the core. Men, and women I’m sure, think I’m crazy and flat out wrong as they are filled with fear and think only of the pain that would be caused by admitting their struggle, falls and secrets of the past. What good is pain after all?
One of my last fall’s to looking at inappropriate material online, if not the last, my wife said something to me that I’ll never forget. It’s the thing that led me to write a $500 check to my accountability partner with no date that said in the note section, “inappropriate material.” Julie has always shown me grace and given me mercy. Countless times over the last 17 years, she’d catch me looking at something I shouldn’t or early in our marriage doing even worse. When I was at my worst was when she was at her best, leaning on the Lord in her times with Him. I was growing but still struggling, still giving allowance for occasional falls to inappropriate material. This last time, I confessed to her having looked at inappropriate material. She said to me, “It is what it is.” OUCH!! That hurt to the core. Those words haunted me! I struggled with those words so bad. These words led me to write the check, which I’m thankful for. A couple of days later, I said to Julie that those words hurt. She said, “You know, I really didn’t think through what I said or that it would hurt you, but if that pain can be used to stop you, then good.” Wow. That’s wisdom. That pain, those words, were used to help me.
Often times when I share I get comments back from guys that lead secret lives. My words trigger them, causing pain. Am I trying to hurt them? Of course not. I don’t want to hurt anyone. Like my wife said, “if that pain can be used to stop you, then good.” If the pain of my words can be used to motivate you to change your life, even better. While I will always recoil from pain, I have learned to not run from it. Instead, I have learned that the Lord uses pain in our lives as a chisel to help shape us into them men and women He’s raising us up to be. Don’t run from pain, face it head on, and you’ll find the freedom you so desperately seek.
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