Sunday, August 21, 2005

Being Used Through The Process

There is nothing in Scripture or in my experience to indicate to me that I have to be fully ready and fully equipped to be used by the Lord. I may be on this journey, and it will take a long while to process through and sort things out, but I don't believe that God would have me sit idle. There's too much work to be done.

For 13 years of being a Christian and struggling with same sex attractions, there were times when it was paralyzing. The guilt and shame and secrets kept me in darkness - unknown - immobilized to serve. But as I grew in my knowledge of the Lord and of His Word, experiencing His simple but powerful grace, He enabled me to take a step out of my own self-imposed prison and opened my eyes to other people around me that were in dire need of being free from their self-imposed prisons. There are so many people around me that are like me - either with the same, similar, or even different struggles - but we all have guilt and shame from whatever binds us. So i saw God use me to help people along even though i myself had one foot in the darkness of shame and one foot in the light of grace. The irony is that in my shame, I thought i was alone . . . .

There are times when I feel so unqualified to serve Him. I'm not righteous - in my flesh that is. I try to be loving but I do find myself looking at the outward appearance rather than a person's heart sometimes. I try to be generous with friends but I do find myself unwilling to give of my heart (or money) to a homeless person sometimes with an assumption of what he'll 'probably' do with it. I try to resist lust but I do find myself entertaining it in my mind. I try to grow in my knowledge of the Word but I do find myself neglecting it sometimes. There are things that I've done in my life that I am truly ashamed of.

There are times when I wonder how God could ever use a person like me. Then i realize, God is looking to use a person exactly like me.

God has been showing me that I am not righteous but He is. In Christ, He makes me righteous. He makes me qualified. This makes me useful for His purposes. This frees me from my shame because it was my shame that told me that I'm useless, unlovable, and untouchable. Now that I'm useful, loved and lovable, and very much worthy to be touched - since Christ did these very things, then perhaps I can go out. Perhaps I'm ready enough. Perhaps I can serve Him as I am while He continues that refining process in me.

As I look back in hindsight, He did this for me all throughout the past 13 years. It's always been a tug of war between feeling like a can't serve Him and then being used by Him. I started this blog a little over a month ago thinking that I was entering a process of exploring all the different sides of being gay and Christian. I'm now realizing, that I entered that process 13 years ago.

God has worked in me and through me, teaching me about His love and His grace, and He's given me purpose and importance. He's shown me that He needs me and that there is nothing I've done or will do that can disqualify me from serving the Lord in worship and from serving His Body in fellowship. He needs me in the sense that He's given me an assignment (many over the years) and He wants me to respond. There's work to be done.

There's a reason why He preserved my life and made me survive my suicide attempt in 9th grade (before I was a Christian). There's a reason why He preserved my life when I totalled the car and stepped out only to see a metal bubble around where my head was but the rest of the roof smashed. There's a reason why He preserved my life when I wanted to die three years ago and told Him to take my last breath as I slept one last time (honestly believing that He would), but then to receive my very first dream from God (which was of me walking through a house full of people, telling a boy in a cage that Jesus will be his friend, then walking up a staircase passing out flyers), then to wake up in the morning taking a gasp of air (in contrast to my request for Him to take my last breath).

In all of these moments where He could have taken my life but didn't, He always had the same message for me. He's not done with me yet. He's not done with the process. He's not done with using me. I gave Him my life 13 years ago this month. My life is and has been in His hands. There may be times when I still want to die - to be released from the internal conflict. But I know that even in the midst of that internal conflict, I am still valuable and I am still known - and I am still qualified enough to be used by Him for whatever assignment He would give me. There's work to be done. There's work for me to do.

Christ died and completed things - for me, for His Church, for this world. It is finished, but it's not over.


JJ said...

Oh man, this post is a bit convicting, I must say... I have been pretty much on pause for a while because I have put all my effort into trying to figure this whole gay Christian thing out. I know in my mind that I don't have to have things fully figured out before I can serve, but apparantly that knowledge hasn't sunk any further. Thanks for this post. I have some thinking and adjusting to do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Eric.

Mark said...

Aligns with my experience, Eric.