Monday, June 10, 2013

Light of Life.

I'm a mess.

Okay, yeah, I am an emotional mess at times, but I'm also quite messy in a very literal sense. My room is in a constant cycle of clean, cluttered, choas, "Hoarders" film crew, clean, cluttered, choas, etc. ad infinitum. Sometimes I have to fight with my laundry for space on my bed. Forget monsters hiding in the closet, there are some dust bunnies lurking in there that could devour my friend's chihuahua (which wouldn't ruin my day).

Note: Not actually a picture of my room.
But here's the beautiful thing about my has a door. My room has a door, and I can close that door (most of the time...sometimes I have to move some boxes first.) 

"Hey man, can I run upstairs and grab that DVD?"

"Errr...hold on. I'll get it."

"No it's okay, I can get it. Just tell me where it is."

"Trust me. I'll get it. Something might fall on you."

Yes, that door stays closed 24/7, because you never know when an unsuspecting guest might wander in...and nobody has time for a lawsuit. Ha, but seriously, as long as nobody else ever sees my room, what difference does it make? Right?

Plus, I can then devote that time and energy to making sure the rest of the house is presentable. Not spotless, of course, but presentable. My kitchen is actually pretty clean. (Girls have told me this. I have witnesses.) Odds and ends occasionally start to accumulate in the living room, but before long, that pile gets gathered up and dumped behind the closed door of my room. It's the rug I sweep everything under...the mask for my mess.

Aha! Do you smell that? I think it's a metaphor! 

Unfortunately, like my room, it's easy for me to get lost and bogged down in my metaphors, so... Wait, we're doing meta-metaphor now? This must stop. 


As I've written before, life inside the closet of same-sex attraction gets less and less comfortable as I spend more and more time outside its confines. The more people with whom I share this part of my story, the harder it is to keep up the charade with everyone else. It's like coming home after a long don't realize how tired and sore your feet really were until you take off your boots. You've been wearing them all day without really noticing, but now that they're off, the last thing you want to do is put them right back on. 

Just like my bedroom door, my "closet" door hides a whole lot of crap that I don't really want people to see. I've been in ministry for the past few years, and I'm currently training for future ministry. One day, Lord willing, I will be a pastor. I've had and will have people coming to me for spiritual guidance. They can't know what's behind this door. They just can't. If they did, they wouldn't listen to a word I said. Right? 

Pastors are supposed to minister to people with same-sex attraction, not actually struggle with it themselves. Sure, it helps for pastors to be open about their own weakness, but not this open...not this weak. Right? 

Hopefully this is sounding ridiculous. It certainly feels ridiculous as I type it out, but this is what runs through my head. This is what's lodged in my heart. This is what keeps my closet door closed.

I've recently moved to a new city, and I'm starting a new life chapter. There are a lot of exciting things happening, and I'm seeing God at work, leading me down this path. For the first time, I'm fully convinced that my anonymity is temporary. I don't know just long or short the road will be, but I'm on the road to full openness and honesty about my story. Sure, that scares the heck out of me, but I just can't see any other alternative.

A life lived in a closet is a life lived in darkness. All kinds of nasty things thrive in the darkness. It's there, in the darkness, that they remain hidden, under the radar. I remember the old gymnasium where my middle school basketball team used to play. Some of us would show up early to help the coach set things up. There was an old maintenance closet where they kept the big dust mops, and none of us wanted that job. You'd reach in, flick on the lights, and... [shudder]

Roaches. Everywhere. Skittering. Scattering. Scuttling...

For a few moments, there was panic. There was terror. Revulsion. Occasionally a disoriented little monster would come charging toward us, in which case there was also embarrassment.

But then they were gone. With that forsaken closet flooded in dim yellow fluorescence, the roaches didn't dare show their disgusting little carcasses. If they did, they were immediately dispatched. The problem was that we always had to leave. We had to turn the light back off and close the door. The roaches could return to their revolting celebration.

But what if we didn't have to turn off the light? What if we didn't have to close the door? What if we didn't even need a door? What if we could put in a window and let in some fresh air and sunshine? What if we could start unpacking some of the boxes of crap and odds and ends that had been piled and left in there for who-knows-how-many years? What if we could let more people in?

John writes in 1 John 1:7 that "if we walk in the light, as [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."

When light pierces through darkness, when the curtain is torn away, the mess has nowhere to hide. It must flee or be dealt with.

When we walk in the light, when we live our lives outside the darkness of our cozy little closets, there is nowhere to hide. There is nowhere to nurture our secret sins and self-pity. When we walk in the light, people see us. They see our lives, they see our stories, and they see our mess...but they also see Jesus.

When we walk in the light, we welcome others to do the same. When we walk together in the light, then we have fellowship.

We're no longer trying to relate to each other's masks and affectations. We're relating to each other. We invite each other into our stories, and we challenge and encourage each other on the road to godliness. We give and experience grace, reflecting the matchless grace of our Savior.

Darkness is the enemy of fellowship. It's the enemy of grace and the enemy of peace. Darkness keeps us isolated. It keeps us isolated from God, from each other, and even from ourselves.

I think it's time to start opening this closet door wider, and the time may soon come when I'll step out once and for all. He has given me a story, and He's given me a voice. Most importantly, He's given me His grace. I'm beginning to realize that these weren't intended to sit under a bushel or behind the mask of an anonymous blog. He's also given me a name, and He's given me a face. It's the face of a redeemed child of God, washed clean by the blood of His Son. It's a face that will soon be attached to this story, a story that is similar to so many others.

It'll be a process. This isn't something that happens overnight. There is a lot of prayer, a lot of thought, and many conversations with friends and loved ones that need to happen. But it's happening. I feel like I've been caught up in a current that's carrying me forward, a current I didn't mean to stumble into. I don't have much control over it, but I know Who does.

And I'm excited. There will be bumps. There will be times I'm anything but excited, but this is clearly the path God has laid out for me. The signs are unmistakable.

So no name and no face today. I'm not sure exactly when...but soon. I love the line at the top
of this blog from the hymn "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say." (That's why I put it there.)
"I looked to Jesus and I found in Him my star, my sun. And in that light of life I'll walk 'til pilgrim days are done."
A pilgrim's journey is long, difficult, and sometimes dangerous. If he's travelling alone, it's also quite lonely. It's his purpose, his goal, his destination that keeps him going. If God is calling me to a life of faithful celibacy, then there are indeed some pilgrim days ahead. Even if that's not His plan, as I travel this road ahead, I need companions. I need community. I need friends who, like Samwise, will pick me up and carry me when I feel I can go no further. I also need friends who will need the same from me.

Most importantly, though...I need light. I need the light of life. I need the light of life that comes directly from the source, from Jesus, my star and my sun.

I'm excited and terrified all at once, but I have peace. I may not know the way I go, but oh, I know my Guide. His Love can never fail.

Grace & peace,

Your Brother who remains, for now, Behind the Mask


  1. Delighted to hear this. I've prayed for you that you'd be able to move towards this full openness, and that your anonymity would be temporary. I can't imagine how tough it'll be for you, but I know Christ will be with you, and you'll have many brothers and sisters in Christ to support you through it. I pray again that you'll be able to stick through this, cling to Jesus, take it at his pace, and end up as a beacon of grace for the many confused and distressed brothers and sisters who'll hear your story and be lifted from their despair.

    1. Thanks brother. I appreciate that. It will be a tough road, but I'm in a good place at a good time, and I have fantastic travelling companions. God is good.

  2. I just discovered your blog today. It's beautifully written and so moving in its honesty. Thank you for your words, and I'll be praying for you.