Thursday, April 06, 2006

Insane Journal Entries

I have over 25 journals that chronicle my struggles with temptation and my MANY MANY failures to resist.

Reading over them recently, it seemed like I read the same entry over and over. I experienced so much shame and remorse yet a tenacity to get up and try again and again. Throughout my 17 year struggle with my same-sex attractions, I often worried that maybe I that I had not repented from the heart. I begged Jesus to give me a broken and contrite heart over my sin.

I also tried to figure out, what was it that I TRULY needed and why I ran to the flesh to attempt to satifify my need. The journal entries reveal how I regularly felt dirty, wrong, lost, flawed. Although my spiritual brothers and sisters also struggled with temptations, my same-sex attractions (and failures) always seemed the worse kind of temptation.

Like Paul in Romans chapter seven I did the very thing that I didn't want to do and it felt like death was at work in my body. But then I would have a "breakthrough", where I finally understood my problem and in my journal proclaimed a new direction a new freedom only to find myself weeks (or days) later with the same old confession of defeat.

It was a killer battle, the battle to contain and subdue desire especially with the load of shame that I often felt towards myself, the feeling of being so terribly flawed. Plus I lived with fears that the world and the devil had set many traps for me that my flesh would love to fall into.

At Love in Action some of the staff liked to remind us that a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Little did I understand at the time how insane (and harmful) to contain and subdue my same-sex desires, to conform to heterosexual (and ex-gay) men's standard of godly living instead of living with integrity.


At 5:32 PM , Blogger Bob Painter said...

My greatest breakthrough on the road to recovery happened when I connected the dots to form a beautiful truth.

(1) All sin (if you consider homosexuality sin) is equal;

(2)Worry/Anxiety is sin just as much as homosexuality--sometimes with far greater consequences;

(3) therefore, my perpetual self-loathing because of my homosexuality was no less sinful than any other sin I might commit.

God does not/did not want me to live this life in constant agony from an issue I didn't create nor want.

When I came to accept my being gay, the shame and guilt greatly subsided; furthermore, the lack of integrity I had through sexual misconduct also diminished.

At 6:40 PM , Blogger Diana_CT said...

I am always surprised when I here the struggles that other have went through and how it mirrors my own life. That we share the self loathing, the low self-esteem, the feeling that I am the only one like this and the self-denial. That we share the fear of losing our family and friends if they ever found out. Then there are the purges, going for years trying to stop, trying to be normal only to starting again followed by depression and then the cycle begin all over again with the stresses building up again.
But then one day a life changing event takes place and we realize that we are not going to hide any more, that life is to short. We Share the coming out and the self acceptance.
We share a lot, whether we are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Trans,

At 7:57 PM , Blogger Suzanne said...

Wow. Seventeen years of journaling, processing your thoughts, struggles, etc. You've come to the conclusion that you are o.k. being who you are. I can't imagine heterosexuals having to do the same in dealing with the acceptance of their sexuality. (Not talking about sexual temptation, but sexual identity.) They just take it for granted. So not fair!

At this point, do you consider your sexuality a blessing or a curse?

At 9:52 PM , Blogger Joe G. said...

My journals go back to before I started attending a charismatic, fundamentalist church. Shortly after I started the journals I started to attend the church. Wow!

I had similar entries, but not as often as what reads like was your situation; but the feelings, patterns, loathing, blah, blah, blah is oh-no-similar.

At one time I remember wishing I had never stepped into that church. Oh, why, why, why? I lost so many good years. Yet, as time goes by, and probably because I've been a part of something else longer than I was in that church, I do not see it as a waste anymore. So many insights about self, human nature, social institutions, life itself were learned from that place.

I'm so happy that you have turned the mourning into joy, Peterson. You've turned a whole incredibly and potentially life-shattering journey into a vibrant ministry.

And where would any of us be without your "insider" contacts with the likes of someone like Marvin???

At 10:21 PM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

Joe G., my parents have always said that I meet the most interesting people. I assume that is a compliment.

Diana CT you bring up a VERY important point. Perhaps we cannot always relate to the DETAILS in another's story but often we can relate to the feelings experienced. In sharing our stories, it is so critical to share our emotions. This is what binds us together and helps bulid alliances.

Suzanne, you ask, "At this point, do you consider your sexuality a blessing or a curse?"

I believe that being queer is one of God's many gifts to me. I feel grateful to be freed (and getting more freed) from the trap of white straight maleness. Being queer (and experiencing the oppression that I did within the white conservative church and in society) helped in part to liberate me.

I sometimes feel curesed by the society in which I live, but that has very little to do with God. I am sure God must feel cursed by it too.

bob p: xxxxooooxxxXXXOOO, nuf said.

At 9:26 AM , Blogger Contemplative Activist said...

You inspired me to look up some of my old journals and have a bit of a laugh at myself!!!

My typical Saturday entry would read..."Deliver me from cynicism Lord"

Then on Sunday "My distain for church grows every time I go" OR "Today's sermon was particularly nauseating."

Talk about madness - it would take me the whole week to recover from a Sunday dose of charismania and then I would go back again on Sunday...what is with that! ;)

But I did stumble across a lovely quotation:

"Do not run, but be quiet and silent. Listen attentively to your own stuggle. The answer to your question is hidden in your heart." - Henri Nouwen


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