I’ve gone back and forth a few times about whether or not I want to talk about my sexuality much in public. I planned on making a post about it back in November of 2019, and I even had a specific date picked to do so. It was going to be a Sunday. The night before, the pastor of my church randomly called me out of the crowd and prophesied over me that the trajectory of my life was going to be forever different because of that weekend. That seemed like exactly the kind of overly-dramatic boost of encouragement I thought I needed. So I wrote an article, posted it on my blog… and shortly thereafter removed it, without ever publishing it to social media.
My life went on as usual.
All that said, I’ve shared this with a number of you in person or in my home group already. Nevertheless, I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I still need to be more open about it. Especially with some of you that I’ve only come to know in the last couple years. God’s Spirit has seemed to be haunting me lately, regularly impressing upon me to more thoroughly address this subject. So rather than continuing to resist His clear prompting, I’m going to course-correct a bit before entering into 2022.
Here is the long and short of it…
From the time I was a young child I can remember having attractions primarily for other males. For many years I tried various methods of changing my orientation. I cried out for “holiness” in my personal prayer times. I went through countless Charismatic deliverance and inner healing sessions. I endlessly claimed and confessed to be straight (in Jesus’ name!), trying to manifest what I wanted to be my reality. I occasionally dated girls and basically led them on in the process. Then late into my twenties, I started to develop stronger-than-usual feelings for a bisexual guy I worked with.
For the first time in my life, I realized my attraction to a guy was much more than just the shallow, lustful feeling of a “temptation.” My romantic interest was mixed with a deep, genuine care for this guy — and I was terrified of that fact. I slowly let my heart become attached to him, and when he didn’t reciprocate I was pretty crushed.
I went on a brief fast in the beginning of the next year, asking God to give me clear counsel. Instead of giving me answers, He gave me more questions. That week launched me into a much longer process of more deeply assessing all my most fundamental assumptions about my theology, and I welcomed the Lord to guide me towards a deeper understanding of truth through it all.
When it came to my orientation particularly, I only thought I had two options at the time. I could keep attempting to live as a straight man and hope my same-sex attractions would eventually go away. Or, I could embrace my sexuality honestly and leave orthodox Christianity to go look for relational fulfillment outside the Church.
I was constantly talking to God about how to move forward and was struggling to discern what He was saying in response.
A Vision of A Butterfly
One Thursday night during this season I went to the Gateway House of Prayer for a young-adult worship gathering. We were all pouring our hearts out to the Lord in song, telling Him how much we trusted Him with our futures. I was sitting in my seat praying quietly, “Jesus, I do trust you. Yet I sense you want me to reconcile with my sexuality somehow. What does that look like? Do I need to come out to all of these people in order to more sincerely invite them alongside me in my journey?” I was so confused, and thought that coming out might mean I would then be pressured to leave my community or to jump into a type of dating life that I didn’t feel comfortable with.
Only moments later, my friend Stacia went up to the microphone and asked if she could share a prophetic word with the room. She’d had a vision come to her mind, and she said it was a picture of a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. It had rainbow colored wings. She felt that God was encouraging us to embrace the transformation process He was leading us to and to become more authentic in our expression of what the Holy Spirit was doing within our lives. My buddy Steve then came up to the microphone and said God was further telling him, “This is all to be done in a posture of surrender to the Lord’s will.”
Needless to say, I was floored. I felt like God was answering me directly, but I still had no clue what it would look like to “come out” of my own cocoon in a more public way. So I continued opening up to only a select few individuals, and (though the process constantly intimidated me) I researched further on how to integrate being same-sex attracted with sincerely honoring the Lordship of Jesus.
A Constant Learning Process
For the next several years, God was faithful to carefully lead me one step at a time to exactly the places I needed to be. He led me to online support groups. He brought me great therapists. He helped me discover the Revoice Conference in my own hometown — a gathering for non-straight believers of all denominations who were seeking to honor their understanding of what the historic, biblical boundaries are for sex and marriage. All of this and more was opening my eyes to a whole world of wisdom and insight I had previously been completely oblivious to.
At the same time, I was also getting close to some really incredible guy friends — including my best friend Jackson. I was starting to find that my orientation didn’t have to drive a wedge between me and other guys who I wanted a strong relationship with. Though it was a long battle of learning how to navigate different friendship dynamics, I was finding a more significant measure of genuine intimacy and companionship — even outside of a conventional romantic partner. God was giving me more of the brotherhood and family that I saw Scripture suggest was available to me (Psalm 37:4, 2 Samuel 1:26, Luke 18:29-30).
Time for Metamorphosis
Flash forward to 2019. I was at home listening to a sermon by Lyle Phillips of Legacy Church in Nashville. In it, he talked about how Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). Lyle talked about how Jesus — even in His divine perfection — could only accomplish so much in His ministry on earth without going through a death and resurrection. It wasn’t enough for Jesus to reach the masses via His miracles and His sermons. He was called to reach whole generations yet to come, and that would only come through a deeper surrender to the Father’s plans for Him on the Cross.
Lyle encouraged his listeners to embrace their own transformation process, sacrificially laying aside a version of themselves they were comfortable with so that God could bring them into a more full realization of His own vision for their lives. Lyle compared this process to a caterpillar being transfigured into a butterfly through metamorphosis, and I knew the Holy Spirit was once again trying to grab my attention.
It was time to lay aside my false “straight” identity altogether, yielding my own will in order to enter into a new phase of life. God had more sons and daughters (both gay and straight) who would benefit from hearing more parts of my story. I had to take up the “cross” life seemed to be offering me. That is, I was being invited to let go of trying to hold onto an image and reputation that I pretty desperately wanted to cling to.
Around the time of my birthday that year, I ended up sharing a long version of my testimony with 20 or 30 folks in my home group. My community responded super warmly and graciously to me. I found I was able to build even closer relationships with some of them than I had before. I was able to talk about how the Gospel has transformed, empowered and redefined me throughout the context of my somewhat unique life experiences. I’ve found over and over that it can resonate with people no matter what their own background is.
What Lies Ahead
From here on out, I hope to continue the same type of conversations all the more. I want to celebrate all that God has done in my life through the years, and I don’t want to always tiptoe around parts of my story that people might not have a good theological framework for. I think Jesus gets glory from it, and that’s what matters most to me.
There’s probably a lot more I could say about my experiences and about what I’ve learned from them, and I’ll likely continue to make posts related to all of this at times in the future. But for now, I just want to say thank you for reading. I’m excited to further share my heart with you in any future interactions we might have.
For those of you who are curious to learn more about this subject — below are some other great, relevant resources that have helped me over the years. I hope you’ll glean from them as much as I have!
Much love to you all… & happy New Year’s!