View Full Version : It's so difficult
05-17-2006, 04:04 PM
I guess this is just sort of a personal sharing of thoughts, for what it's worth...
Being a lesbian is so difficult sometimes. I have struggled with my faith, my understanding of God and religion -- both as a lesbian and in regards to spirituality that has nothing to do with my sexual orientation. Luckily, I grew up in a church that was open and loving to all people, gay or straight or anywhere on the spectrum. I have still had difficulty, just dealing with society, and now living in the South it seems especially difficult, and I often want to throw religion out of my life altogether and live a totally secular existence.
My partner has been pretty depressed lately, to the point that I'm really worried. She said to me this afternoon that she prays and prays, but sometimes her old Southern Baptist programming kicks back in and she thinks that God won't listen to her because she's a lesbian.
We've both been through therapy (years of it). We've both been to "affirming" churches. We've both been to the affirming websites like Whosoever and Soulforce. But still, sometimes, that programming just kicks in -- like it's hard wired. Sometimes I think no matter how much we hear the message that "God loves you" -- even over and over again -- because we are lesbians there will always be that question in the back of our head -- but does He/She really love you? Or are you just believing that to make yourself feel better? Spiritual violence is insidious.
I'm just feeling blue. Wishing I could help my partner, but not knowing how. We don't even know if we want anything to do with a church anymore, even an "affirming" one. We just had a very bad experience with the last "affirming" church, so we are gun-shy, so to speak. But I also think the right pastor might be able to help her (and me), but I don't know if we can find a pastor willing to help. I almost feel like we need Spiritual Therapy for gay people, to help "deprogram" all the negative messages we've received over the years.
It's frustrating, not knowing how to help her. I at least have a positive religious upbringing to draw from, but she doesn't have that. I wish I could erase all that for her. I wish she could have grown up in my church, and at least learned of a loving God, before she was taught about a hateful one.
05-17-2006, 04:44 PM
I often want to throw religion out of my life altogether and live a totally secular existence.
Then do... just for twenty four hours.
but does He/She really love you? Or are you just believing that to make yourself feel better?
...say no, He/She doesn't. You've been fooling yourselves...
I wish I could erase all that for her. I wish she could have grown up in my church, and at least learned of a loving God, before she was taught about a hateful one.
Stop fighting it for a time. Try to accept A god that hates you and mocks all your efforts to please and conform to It... Explore that side of your thoughts, go through them, and guaranteed you will emerge refreshed and amazed at how absurd they are...
Probably not the answer you expected, but another "god really, really, Really, REALLY does love you both" sometimes just doesn't cut it... If God is petty enough to make you that way, then damn you for it, what loss is it to abandon such a moronic, cruel creator?
05-17-2006, 08:17 PM
really[/U] love you? Or are you just believing that to make yourself feel better? Spiritual violence is insidious.
But I also think the right pastor might be able to help her (and me), but I don't know if we can find a pastor willing to help. I almost feel like we need Spiritual Therapy for gay people, to help "deprogram" all the negative messages we've received over the years.
Here is a hug for you. :love: And another for your partner. :love:
And here are some more. :love: :love: :love: :love: :love: :love: :love:
Now, to address some of the things you write above. My heart hurts reading your words, but these questions are not new, sadly. That is the great tragedy of the "spiritual violence" we are crying out against. I have had friends come to me with similar anxieties - got so routine that we named them: "The 3 a.m. Doubts," because we would wake sometimes around 3 or 4 in the morning feeling insecure about whether we were really loved by God. So, as I would put it, you and your partner are having the 3 a.m. doubts. :'( :pray:
As to the programming, yes, it IS hard-wired. Any psychological habit learned in childhood is exceedingly difficult to unlearn precisely because that thought pattern becomes hard-wired into the brain. Neurochemically, the thought becomes our biology. Even if we grow up and observe otherwise, it is hard to erase the habitual thoughts, since they are not immaterial things, the thoughts are based on the physical reality of neurotransmitting chemicals. The belief is wired into the brain. Even if adult logic can show evidence to the contrary.
What can ya do? I don't have any confident answers for you, but I will say try anything that seems like it might work. Try awediot's suggestion of following the thought to it's "logically" absurd end. And/or reach out for more affirmative people/reading material/whatever.
In critical spiritual matters such as these, and this is both spiritual and critical, I prefer to rely on my inward intuition and inner knowing, my own capacity to be receptive to God. Prayer, but also silent contemplation, making myself open to receive some of God's infinitude in my own little mind. Stop fighting and make myself vulnerable to the Lord's word as it reverberates right now. Give up wanting to justify a particular solution or outcome but be open to the real message. Then let *that* speak to me about the crisis issue. The other choice is to listen to other people. I don't like that, because that automatically means getting a human (limited) response that is being filtered through that person's personal filters of psychological training/emotional ordeals/ideological agenda. . ..
See, if I run to a gay activist, they might say, "Oh, of *course* it's okay to be gay, there is no conflict with homosexuality and spirituality," and I may embrace that for a while, but was it MY OWN answer? And if I run to an ex-gay ministry/therapist etc, they might say, "You are sexually broken, but with faith in Christ you can be healed and become straight. God loves you, but he made you heterosexual," and I may embrace that for a while, but was it MY OWN answer?
AS much as I want LGBTs to accept and embrace themselves without suffering, pain, and crisis, it is more important that the journey, the learning, and ultimately any answers you come to be YOUR OWN.
That said, there are many many reasons I can see, both logical and intuitive, why it's clear that God absolutely loves his lesbian babies, and no less than anyone else. For starters, the fact that God loves you enough to give you life and keeps offering you breath at every new moment. If God did not want you, you would not be here in the first place. :love:
Speaking for myself, having been through my own journey of intellectual/philosophical questioning, and many meditations and "spiritual experiences," I *know* that God's love is absolute and unconditional. God doesn't even think about gayness or straightness. God sees only *you.* I know with my heart and I know with my head, and I know with all the cells of my body.
As Awediot says, we can come on here and type this a million times and it might not add up to much because the answer is not yours yet, but I'm going to type this anyway: Susan, God absolutely and unconditionally loves you. And your partner. And all his babies, and does not care if they identify themselves as gay or lesbian or bisexual or something else. God loves unconditionally. And He absolutely unconditionally loves *you.*
Feel free to PM me if you want to talk a little more. :love: :pray:
05-17-2006, 10:19 PM
Zerbie has addressed the matter eloquently when she says:
In critical spiritual matters such as these, and this is both spiritual and critical, I prefer to rely on my inward intuition and inner knowing, my own capacity to be receptive to God. Prayer, but also silent contemplation, making myself open to receive some of God's infinitude in my own little mind."
And as in anything, practice makes permanent. I read, not too long ago in an article dealing with the effects of meditation and contemplation on the brain, that even a modest amount of 'practice' has a lasting and permanent affect. This tells me that, no matter what our brain is hot-wired for, a consistent 'spiritual practice' may be a key in alleviating and dealing with the issues such as those you raise.
Some people sit quietly for 20 minutes a day. Others do the Jesus Prayer, or watch their breath or take long walks. Sometimes I think it could simply be mindfully doing our fingernails. Whatever we do that turns our thoughts inward- beyond our discursive thoughts themselves- seems to be very very helpful.
I've certainly benefited from it. And have to remind myself not to take it for granted.
There is also the sticky matter of first having what we need before we can give it. Centering youself, in my book, is the first step towards taking care of your partner.
I firmly believe you'll know what to do- or not do- if you simply get quiet- real quiet- put your ear to to ground quiet- and Listen.
05-18-2006, 08:48 AM
Thank you all for your replies. You all have given me some things to think about, and some strategies that might help. I appreciate your advice so much -- thank you!
05-18-2006, 02:45 PM
:love: :love: :love: I hope that you will hold long and fast to your love and know that the answers will come. There is so much love for you both here with us, but in addition, I will agree with much of what has been said, in that you need to listen to your own truth. Let your mind speak and then listen to what you hear. Let your heart fully open to you and pay attention to what it shows. This has brought me through so many trials and struggles when I have allowed myself the time and the quiet to do this very thing. And then, trust what you hear. It feels so good to be part of an embracing, nurturing church community, but I think that we need to trust first in our hearts and entire beings that no matter if churches accept or reject us, we are standing in our own truth of God loving us with all of his might. I also send prayers your way from my heart. Peace be with you both, Vanessa:pray: :love: :pray: :love: :pray: :love:
05-19-2006, 09:10 AM
I read these responses out loud with my partner last night, and we both ended up in tears (thankful ones), and grateful that there are folks out there like y'all. I only wish I could have gotten the same kind of supportive messages from my own pastor at the church I last attended.
Thank you all -- these responses really have helped us a great deal. :)
I thought when I first read this post, that I had nothing substantive to offer, and thankfully others have stepped in with their wisdom. But, it did occur to me that I could share my experience at least. Make of it what you will.
In 1990-91, I was in my second year of college, and I was facing the unavoidable conclusion that I was gay. I barely had a word for it. The terms "gay" and "homosexual" were almost not a part of my very rural background. I was by heritage and choice Mennonite...an extremely serious, and devout young man. Being well-read and well-taught in scripture, I tended a meticulous garden of faith. It took me a long time before I could even address my sexuality with myself...longer to address it in prayer before God. Needless to say, I hated myself, and couldn't imagine God loving me.
At that time, I watched the 700 Club almost daily. (I know...:sick: ) In truth, though, I watched it for Sheila Walsh. I saw in her a truly compassionate soul, and loved her music. She sang one of her songs on the show one day..."God Loves You." For whatever reason, it seemed as if God was singing to me. That was the start of one particular way God reaffirms a personal love for me. I know, it's a little corny, but God sings to me. Every now and then, I be listening to a song, and the feeling comes through so obvious....a feeling of gentle arms wrapping around...of tender words in my ear.
Also...since high school, I have been a dreamer of big dreams. In a tribal culture I might have become a shaman...in ancient Hebrew culture, I'da kept it too myself to avoid being stoned. In one important dream from those early college days, I was running from a big party in a grey cemetery. I fled from the clamor of the crowd out the iron gate and down the hill. Then a man with a close-cropped black beard chased after me, caught me from behind in a close embrace and held me...kept me from running. I woke up with only one thought...that I'd seen Jesus and he loved me. There've been other dreams that reaffirmed my sense of intimacy with the Divine. Dreaming is for me a way of seeking and finding answers and healing.
As others have already said, meditation played an important part in developing my ability to listen. I actually was unemployed for three months in 1999, during which time I read voraciously, spent long hours each day in meditation, and wrote poetry.
I really spend the better part of a decade "rewiring" my brain...learning to think differently about God and me. I hope that you and your girl find a path to as much love as I experience in my soul. :love:
05-24-2006, 04:33 PM
Believe me, being a recovering Southern Baptist (preacher's daughter no less) I can tell you that legalistic, narrowminded, graceless bunch of pharisees will answer to God for their actions.
The only thing that helped me come out of the closet was a good church that is accepting of gays and lesbians. I encourage you and your partner to visit a couple, interview the pastor(s) and get the charge you need. There is no point to living in this depression any longer. It does your relationship no good and it doesn't glorify God. If you are in a committed relationship, then it is right in God's eyes.
I encourage you to get your hands on Mel White's book, Stranger At The Gate. Read it and also read, Holy Homosexualsby Mike Piazza.
You are loved by God and remember if God knew who you were before the creation of the universe and still chose to send Jesus to die for you, it must be ok to be gay. :rainbow:
05-30-2006, 07:54 PM
I don't know how much my opinion counts here...not being able to relate, at least, to being gay but...I can relate to the feeling that God must not love me...because of what other's tell me of God.
When it comes down to it, no one person can tell you what God thinks. Who are they? And even if they could say "God says this" well...look towards the example of the workers in the field - who thought it was unfair that the owner of the field give those who started work later in the day as much money as those who started first thing in the day. It's God's choice, his mercy, his grace. Who is anyone to tell you what God thinks of you. I know - but what does it matter what I say?!? I'm just a lover of Christ who has yet to get over the shame of her youth and to forgive a handful of people who have consistently beat her down?
When it comes down to it, I know in my heart of hearts that God does love me and that Christ died for me - which was love. Whether or not someone accepts Christ, he died for them as well. To me, that speaks volumes - he died for those who will never accept him and those who have/will...seems to me that means his love is for everyone.
Ok, so I've been called lately to do instant praying...so here's a prayer for you - hope you don't mind - if I don't do it now...I'll let it slide later...
Father God, I come to you now in prayer for my sister, Susan and her girlfriend - beautiful women who you knit together in the wombs of their mothers and breathed life into their lungs. That is love. Giving life is love, and Father I know you love these two woman. Father God I ask for you to make plain and clear the love you have for these two women - and to give them both discernment when it comes to what is the truth, and what is not. Father I ask for healing for Susan's girlfriend, who is dealing with the pharisees in her childhood! I thank you that Susan and her girlfriend have been seeking you out, and that they have each other to rely on. I just pray that Susan will see that your love is available for everyone, despite what others might want her to believe. I pray that you will raise up a church and a pastor that has a heart for gay christians who need healing in regards to 'bad religion'...a pastor that doesn't want to fix them, but let's them know that they are already the people God intended them to be. I'm asking all of these things in Christ's name...Amen.:pray:
05-31-2006, 07:38 AM
Post: Your contributions are always welcome here, and to add to that contribution such a beautiful, loving prayer is almost beyond words. It is so refreshing to me to hear the voice of such a sincere, pure ally for those of us that are gay. Thank you so much for your words. It inspired me this morning and reminded me of Christ's sacrifice and love for all of us. Peace and love to you, Vanessa :love: :love: :love: :love:
05-31-2006, 09:19 AM
Post -- That prayer was lovely. Thank you so much!
My partner and I have, I think, been feeling a bit better about things. It's a journey, and sometimes we take tiny steps forward, a step backward, another step forward. It is kind words like yours that help me continue moving forward. :love:
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.