I fell in love with Jesus when I was a little girl. I remember sitting by the pond with my blue Snoopy fishing pole, marveling over the magnitude of the story of Jesus in my soul. Something about the stars and still water and inner dialogue with the writer of the world moved me to wonder. I memorized the book of Philippians when I was in middle school because I was captured by the God Paul described when he counted all things worth losing in order to know Christ—in order to connect with his creator. My understanding of what it all meant was surely immature, but I understood the message even more than I do now: Jesus Christ is the most magnificent, beautiful, breath-taking reality in the world, and if you get nothing else for the rest of your life then get Jesus.
Christ has been an intricate part of the moments I’ve felt most human. When I laid on rooftops in desperation and screamed silent tears, I felt His presence reminding me there was a bigger story than my problems. When standing on mountains and swallowing summit air in my lungs, I felt the freedom of an adventure with the God who holds all things together. When suffocating from laughter because my friends knew I needed jokes more than answers, I gushed gratitude for the creator who knew intimacy was better than solutions. When the Bible hasn’t made sense to me, but He’s revealed truth through the messy stories, I’ve closed the book with a full heart, praising God for speaking through such a simple and complex medium.
The most memorable moments of my life have been centered on Christ. The most intimate moments of my life have been filled with Christ. The most exciting moments of my story have been inspired by Christ. Everything beautiful about every part of my life has been swirling with the worship and love of Jesus Christ.
Which is why I regret the amount of attention I’ve given The Gay. It’s kind of a big deal when a passionate lover of Jesus takes an internal inventory and finds The Gay, and I’ve gone through seasons of my life when it became the biggest deal ever. Sometimes I made it the biggest deal ever by embracing all things gay, analyzing all things gay, obsessing over all things gay, and trying to figure out how to be the best gay I could be. Other times I made it the biggest deal ever by embracing not-being-gay, analyzing not-being-gay, obsessing over all things not-being-gay, and trying to figure out how to be the best not-gay I could be. Either way, my gay gazing has frequently shifted my gaze away from the one I love most, which is a much bigger problem than being gay or not being gay (even though we’re prone to believe gay is the biggest deal ever).
It feels like a big deal because our culture and churches make it a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be the Deal. It would be strange if I looked back on the past 15 years of my life to find I’d spent thousands of hours obsessing over questions of what it means to be a girl in relation to God. It would be strange to find that I’d obsessed over what it means to be an introvert in relation to God, or a free spirit in relation to God, or a romantic soul in relation to God. Those are all parts of my whole, and they matter because the whole of who I am is a giant symphony of worship, but it would be strange for me to spend my whole life fine tuning one area of my life to make sure it was absolutely, completely, spotlessly on point as it sang to Jesus. It makes more sense to just worship, and to let all the parts be what they are when I sing.
So I’m writing this to tell you that if you’re gay, or if you happen to have one area of your life you’ve agonized over for more than a decade, then remember what matters most is a life spent loving Jesus. As important as it is to consider how we might honor God with all the parts at play within us, it’s not as important as actually pouring our affections onto Him and believing He delights in our worship. Figuring out what it means to be gay or not gay can steal your joy and rob you of intimacy with the One who probably isn’t freaking out about it quite as much as you are; He probably just wants your heart. I only write about things gay to say The Gay isn’t God, and it should never eclipse our focus on the One who’s worthy of all our affections and all our hours of obsession. Our energy would be well spent just living a story of worship.
Julie Rodgers shares life with inner city youth in West Dallas. She also writes and speaks about faith and sexuality, so check out her blog or find her on Twitter:@Julie_rodgers.
(Cross-posted from Julie Rodgers.)
Thank you Julie! This was brilliant. If “The Gay” was replaced with “The Celibate” it could have been a Post I would have been very proud to write myself. You have made a good case for how distracting our sexuality can be, and why keeping it on the back burner can allow the worship of our Lord, right in front, to boil over.
Thank you, Kevin! I think that’s kind of the human story—replacing the worship of God with “The Something”. Not that those somethings don’t merit some focus and attention, but I hope we’ll keep the somethings in their proper place in the process. Cheers!
Your love for Jesus Christ shines in your story. When I read this I thought, “YES, we worship the same God. We feel the same about Him.
We adore Him.” And I’m not gay.
thanks for this. This really is IT! It’s how we get up everyday, and how we find hope and meaning. Every part of us must be secondary to our relationship with Jesus, and for our community that is the message we need most, I think. In our pain, isolation, fear and anger, we have forgotten that we are just imperfect saints like the rest of the church. We need Jesus more than fixes, perfect answers, or painless lives. And in that way, we are all the same.
Wow, yet another article on this website that makes me yearn for more of Jesus. I came here hoping to find greater insight and understanding about gay issues in the church, but what I have found is so much deeper and broader. Everything I read here encourages me to deepen friendships, have more authentic relationships, challenges my preconceptions and honour my gay christian brothers and sisters. I am British, from an Anglican tradition and straight. The Church in the UK would be greatly enriched by your insights.
I get your larger point but I really have a different view.
I think gay people go through a delayed puberty mentally. They end up then, especially ones from a non accepting environment, processing normal teen thoughts much further into their adulthood.
So it appears obsessive when it’s really just delayed.
Also this can play into many people’s hands who do not want to face the issue. Saying it can be idolatry is a great out for them. Then they can tell you to be quiet about your life and experiences.