You don't choose who you LOVE.
So often our society labels people based on circumstance, personal beliefs and what they think love should look like. Some even dismiss groups as “wayward souls”, prior to looking below the surface where heart, strength or conviction lie. Being respectful, character, morals and ethics are much more important than who one sleeps with.
While society is making it easier for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender (LGBT) groups to express their identity, the struggle within the personal soul is still very real.
I have known for years I was part of the LGBT community — a group who wishes to be seen as human, whole, worthy and complete. Growing up in a small southern community of 300 people, I was 14 when I first desired to kiss a girl rather than wear a guy’s class ring. The only definition my community had for gay was “someone who feels light-hearted and carefree.”
I didn’t feel light-hearted or carefree, as many times over, I struggled with my sexuality. It was easier to criticize myself for feeling less than whole, than accept who I was or am. The anxiety of possible family abandonment, peer rejection, personal shame, and guilt created private chaos, especially when there was no one to confide in.
For many, the struggle with sexuality is an internal civil war that others know little about. The fight to “come out” rather than “fit in” exists. This is most often true for teens whose identity crisis and self-esteem is already intangible.
Self-esteem is so important and once lost, it is hard to regain — and continuing to feel judged only adds to the demise.
Each of us face struggles, they are parts of life. Most everyone has some obstacle to overcome as part of human growth, but the idea that some have to denounce their ability to love based on same sex relationships doesn’t have to be one of these struggles.
Here are 3 things anyone struggling to understand the LGBT community NEEDS to understand:
1. God doesn't make junk.
Faith is something I have always struggled with. On those dark nights when my soul anguished with the idea of fear and faith, trust and doubt, I was brought to tears as an already confused heart asked “why do I have to be different?”
Being raised in a Southern Baptist community only intensified the fear of sin, crucifixion and denigration for my views of who I was. While it was easy for my community to say, “God doesn’t make junk” on an academic or athletic realm, it was something totally different for them to acknowledge this same paradigm on a sexual front.
As I aged, I found solace in my search for answers. When confronted with how my faith measures with my ability to love another woman, I am drawn to two articles on the subject of homosexuality and the Bible. The first article cites the Book of Leviticus, where many use a few verses to condemn LGBT’s. This article presents 76 things forbidden by law — unkempt hair, deceiving a neighbor, carelessly making an oath, and mixing fabrics in clothing. If we follow one verse where we choose to live by law, why do the others seem less important?
This second article points to the New Testament of the Bible where the Apostle Paul reminds us “if we measure ourselves as Christians by how well we follow the law, we have returned ourselves to our slavery of sin”.
It is not my desire to change your point of view on biblical teachings, yet, in my humble heart, the New Testament is a reflection of Jesus’ love for all. In his teachings, Jesus often confronted the Pharisees for their love of law rather than their love of people.
Everyone has the right to love and be loved, and I believe — when accomplished with the right intentions — an open heart, good morals and ethics, love is a beautiful reflection of all that can be.
2. There is nothing wrong with me.
When I told my parents I was “gay” in 1982, one of their first questions was “are you going to get help?” This question baffled me for many years, allowing guilt, shame and the idea that I had disappointed my family at the deepest of roots to once again become my best friend.
I questioned myself at every corner. If love in the form of what I desired wasn't available, then I either denied myself love at any level, closed my heart to the world, or I looked for love from others in ways that were unhealthy (i.e. drugs, sex, lies).
For many years, I have sacrificed my own enjoyment with relationships wondering if there could be a better choice, an easier way. The answer is no.
When I decided to stop denying who I am for the sake of another’s beliefs and comforts, I found peace within my soul — a peace so welcome and forthcoming I began to fully explore the true meaning of life, love and the healthy pursuit of happiness.
3. Don't take it personally — my parents did NOTHING wrong.
“Don’t take it personally” is one of the Four Agreements written by Miguel Ruiz. In his writing he reminds us, “nothing others do is because of you”.
My decision to follow my path has never been an act of rebellion towards men, the church, my family or others. It is who I am and who I was born to be. The idea that my parents did anyone wrong is false. I was raised with the same qualifications, work routines, guidelines and discipline as my sisters and friends.
My mom has often blamed herself for allowing me to follow my dad on the farm, believing it made me the woman I am today — a woman who chose to love someone of the same sex rather than live a life she sees as easier to digest. I love my mom for attempting to spare me harm, but still, this is who I am.
Once I accepted myself, the wall around my heart — the one I had allowed to protect me, to hide me, and the one I felt was necessary in order to thrive — began to melt.
I am who God made me to be and I surrender to his/her ability to help me stand on my own two feet, in my own conviction, to help me realize I am good enough to be whatever I aspire to be.
It matters not who I sleep with.
What REALLY matters is the integrity I have when helping others, the love I offer when confronted with old beliefs, and the honesty to be who I am in this world, without fear of rejection.
For anyone struggling at this moment, be gentle with you. You are already whole. The more you believe this, the more your heart will open. The more you will grow from the inside out; realizing what you need is already within you. Find someone you can confide your deepest secrets with, acknowledge the strengths you have and allow faith to overcome any fear that arises.
Our World is on the brink of so many new truths. Love has many looks, many definitions.
Take an oath to make life easier each day by respecting each other for who they are rather than the label you believe they wear.
Susan is an alternative and intuitive healer whose desire is to help you find the best person you can be. For more information on Susan, click here.