From Strangers to Friends
There I was, standing on top of a table about 3-4 feet high, sweating from the heat and yelling as loud as I could these words repeatedly: “As a man among men, I deserve to be seen”. Little did I know that this moment shared with strangers would produce a significant change within. A change that I still feel the effects of today.
A few months ago, I drove to Pennsylvania to attend an experiential healing weekend called The Journey Continues. There, many topics on masculinity, sexuality, and self-worth were discussed and worked on. For me, the theme of this weekend was my self-worth and seeing the gold that I possess within me. Before I could embrace in a truthful way this new reality, I first had to get rid of the old. This required courage and vulnerability to be willing to hear the wounds and voices of friends again that have told me of the good they see in me, yet still have chosen to drop me as a friend. This pattern of pain lies, telling me that it’s my fault because of my lack of value and exclusion from the “world of men.” When you hear a lie repeatedly, after some time you begin to believe it. As a group of strangers shoved me around their circle(to help reinforce this cycle of pain), I coped with this the usual way…by shrinking back passively and drawing inward until I find myself isolated and depressed.
Not this time! It was time for me to confront these lies so that I could be rid of them forever. These same strangers began to encourage me as friends would, calling me out of this dark place and into the light of truth. I had to embrace my true masculinity and believe that my self-worth isn’t determined by my experience or what others say/do. I shifted the way I saw myself to acknowledge and believe that I do deserve to be seen and known as a man among men.
After the first few times of yelling this phrase, I noticed that each successive time my voice got stronger and stronger. I guess my heart was catching up to what my mouth was saying. After this, the men in the circle affirmed me as a man and I felt a freedom and joy that wasn’t there before. With every breath, I inhaled more and more confidence.
This shift allows me to stay connected with others because I do have something to give. It’s also been easier to recover quickly when I feel the temptation to isolate or drown in depression. I now possess even more confidence as a man among other men.
Contradictions and IdoIs
I was in my car with the windows down since it was almost 100 degrees and the AC doesn’t work well. Here I am sweating again, but this time alone. No men surrounding me, just me. All of a sudden in this beautiful day, it begins to pour rain! (I don’t know about you, but it’s always a very cool thing when it rains and the sun is out) So I quickly manually roll up my windows since I have no idea how long it’s going to rain.
This beautiful contradiction(sunshine and rain) caused me to think upon God and His ways. Most times, His ways are so much higher than our own. His natural bent is completely other than, unlike ours. God always sees things differently than we do. As I continued to think about this, the unexpected happened! God’s presence filled my car and I began singing a spontaneous song. I made sure to record this as I drove because I believe this was God speaking to me about His ways. After a few minutes, the song ended…then came my response.
Immediately, the Holy Spirit began to convict my heart on many many things. Some of these things were sinful, most were not(in and of themselves). Most of the various things God brought up in my heart related to my need to lay them down and trust His wisdom. Because though something might be good, it might not be the best or the right timing for it. So forcing something now when it’s meant for later, can be sin. I found out that I wasn’t fully trusting God’s wisdom with things. I wanted control. I trusted more my own understanding and what I thought was best at a given time, rather than first seeking God to see what His wisdom looked like. Without realizing it, I had allowed some things to become idols.
For example, I know how important male connection is for my own stability and healing. The way I’m wired is that this would be met through deep meaningful and vulnerable conversations (filling up my quality time desire), along with physical touch and affection. So, when I’m struggling with temptation, loneliness, the desire for intimacy, or whatever, my first thought is to try to get the need met like I just described. I’ve held so tightly on to this belief that I judge and criticize any other method. I also have set myself up for great disappointment and perceived rejection when it isn’t possible to be fulfilled like I envision. Basically, I’ve made these good things idols!
I had to let go and trust God’s wisdom even in this. Instead of searching for something from people for healing, I must seek God first. I do that by talking to Him about my heart and it’s desires, then asking Him in the moment what wisdom looks like. Because it could actually look like so many things! But He knows what is best for me since He is the source. He will be the one to provide…sometimes through people, sometimes not.
This shift has opened my heart in greater ways to enjoy intimacy first with God. I have a renewed love, joy, and experience of His presence that was lacking before. Now, when it comes to people, I feel an open-handedness in relationships and an ease to receive in whatever capacity they may choose to give. It’s easier to appreciate and have thanksgiving for others from a sincere heart.
Don’t let others tell you that change isn’t possible. My change might not be the stereotype from same-sex attraction to opposite-sex attraction, but it’s still a change. And these changes do effect my sexuality and perception when working through my sexuality. With Christ, change is always possible, though it rarely happen when and how we want. Still, it is right and good to trust Him.
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE – LEAVE A COMMENT
Are their lies that you are believing about yourself that aren’t true? Is there an area that God is asking you to lay down in surrender? What good things have you made an idol? Are there changes that you want to make in your life? If so, are you going about them your way or God’s way?
[BE SURE TO NOT MISS A POST BY SUBSCRIBING TO RECEIVE MY LATEST MUSINGS BY EMAIL]