Paths

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

— 1 Peter 5:6-7

Do you ever have days where you feel like you don’t know who you are anymore? Especially, as members of the LGBTQ+ community, I think we have all had that day when we questioned who we are. Those of us who were raised in a conservative church probably questioned out identity even more. When you are raised believing that it is not possible that you could be attracted to those of the same sex or have a gender other than the one determined by your sexual organs, it can be a long terrifying process to know who we really are. Some days and for even years people, life, and events get in the way of our “knowing” and we find ourselves wondering, “Who am I?”

I am a firm believer that if we are taught acceptance from the beginning of our lives, then the struggle we go through to accept ourselves will not be as difficult. We sometimes say, “I need to find myself!” If we learn unconditional acceptance, then we will not be lost and will not need to find ourselves. Greater acceptance would change the world, but it will take a lot of work. Colossians 3:9-10 says, “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” God tells us that, “Christ is all and in all.” If we don’t have acceptance of our fellow humans for their differences, then we also do not accept Christ.

We also often wonder, “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” Those are the days we need reminding, that we are part of something bigger. We are connected to something with a bigger purpose. I know the model prayer in the Bible (Matthew 6:5-15), and I find prayer to be a very personal experience, Matthew 6:6-7 says, “When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

When I pray, I have a conversation with God. While I don’t hear Him talking back to me, I do see his actions. One of the things I always pray for is that God will show me the path that is right for me in this life. We need guidance and to feel God’s love and acceptance. I think we are all on a path and God is there with us guiding us. This always reminds me of the poem, “Footprints in the Sand”:

One night I had a dream…

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
There was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the
most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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