Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Inner Peace (John 14:27)

So, for a variety of unimportant reasons, I am not leaving Provo to go "home" (meaning where my family lives--not necessarily where I grew up) for the holidays until Friday evening. Meanwhile, nearly everyone in my ward is gone and most of my other friends, so yesterday I was alone almost all day just doing work from my computer. Being inside my apartment and not connecting with anybody can really drive a person mad--and some thoughts in relation to SSA were weighing especially heavy on me and I was kind of an emotional basket case for no reason whatsoever. I've mainly been filled with lots of doubts and skepticism regarding my friendships lately, and so having all your friends leave for the holidays while you are still stuck there doesn't leave one in the best mental state. In this shaky emotional state, I then had an even more emotionally confusing evening, but for you to understand, I will unfortunately have to dig into a painful recent chapter of my life:

This last summer I met a girl who, miracle of miracles, I was attracted to in the physical attraction dimension (for more on dimensions of attraction, see my post from a few days ago on true love). For a little while this last semester we dated. Don't ask me for details about what happened. Suffice it to say that it didn't work out and my heart broke more than it ever had with any of my other short-lived, failed, attempted relationships. Are you a fan of William Yeats? So am I. :P One of my favorite poems he wrote is "The Second Coming," mainly for 2 lines that tend to describe either my life's events or my psychological state at least once every other week. I have them by heart and recite them to myself often. They say:

"Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."

Well, when my short-lived relationship came apart at the seams, that's exactly what happened not only literally to the relationship, but quite personally to me emotionally. She was the first person since a girl in high school that I felt true physical attraction for and I felt like I had squandered the miracle of finding her when things didn't work out. Up to that point in my life, I had very directly refused to acknowledge my SSA in my own mind (ironic since such a direct refusal of recognition is in itself a form of acknowledgment). I kept telling myself that if I told myself I didn't like men long enough, then one day I'd wake up and it would come true! Back in May, before I met her, I had gone into a depressing funk wherein I first began to come to terms with the fact that I was attracted to men (a fact that the back of my mind had been keenly aware since 8th grade with some early remnants perhaps as early as age 4). That's when things first started to fall apart emotionally for me (In May, not at age 4!). I started getting on the internet A LOT and reading things that were the opposite of what I needed. Thankfully I didn't get tangled in porn, but got dangerously close to it many times and did get into a phase of reading gay romance stories, often having to skim through the parts that got erotic. (Wow, I can't believe that I just put that out there. That's actually a huge relief to admit!)

When I met her, it was like a clear answer to prayer. It seemed like I had finally woken up from the nightmare and those years of telling myself I was actually attracted to girls had paid off! When the "center could not hold" and "things fell apart," all of the turmoil returned. I tried desparately to be attracted to just about any and every other girl I saw, but I was actually just finding more and more men than ever that thrilled, excited, and even aroused me. That's when I decided to hunker down and begin my journey of discovering who I was--a story that has been unfolding on this blog. And through it all I've had an emotional roller-coaster. I have never felt so much fear, but neither have I ever felt so much inner peace and confidence! My past posts so far, of course, tell the story of my increase in understanding and being honest with myself and how that honesty has set me free and allowed me to approach my SSA in a healthy and uplifting way. God stepped in to help me with that. If I had returned to and continued approaching this subject the way I was going about it back in May and June before I met her, I can guarantee that today my testimony would be significantly impaired, if still intact at all. I'm almost certain I'd have eventually yielded to pornography and masturbation, and may have already even had some gay hookups. I'm very serious when I say that God intervened with a series of miracles this last semester to help point me in a direction of healthy, spiritual self-discovery so that I could understand this side of myself on spiritually safe ground.

So, with that lengthy preface I return to yesterday. I was, as I said, once again in a state of emotional turmoil, as still happens from time to time for various reasons. Things got even more complicated when a girl from my ward who is also still stuck in Provo asked me if I wanted to go caroling and watch a movie with her. This girl is the one in the ward that every guy wants--super fun, super social, spiritual giant RM, and to most men very attractive. She has quite curiously not been in a relationship this semester, and I think most people have wondered why, especially since nearly every guy in the ward has asked her out. I was telling a friend of mine in the ward the other day that she could probably have her pick of any guy in the ward, and he seemed to agree with me. Those words kind of came back to bite me last night when, while watching "Kung Fu Panda 2" she kept getting closer and at one point started to put her hand on mine. I began to realize that she might have just made up her mind about which guy she wanted to pick, and what if it's me!!!

In many ways I have longed for a steady and happy relationship with SOMEONE for a long time, so the thought of being in a relationship with her is very appealing. At the same time, I just wrote on Saturday on this very blog how I could never marry someone unless I was attracted to her. I also feel like I'd never want to date someone I knew I could never marry because you are otherwise just postponing a painful breakup that will only be worse the longer you put it off. So my mind has been playing a game of trying to convince itself that I'm attracted to her--after all, she actually looks a lot like the girl I recently dated and in non-physical dimensions of attraction, I AM attracted to her. But all of that psychological guessing game garbage will have to be postponed for a later post (mainly because I'm still chewing on it).

It didn't help that the movie was Kung Fu Panda 2. I know that sounds weird, but I hadn't seen it before and therefore had no idea how relevant its themes would be to my life and dilemmas. I'm only slightly embarassed to admit that I cry easily in movies and then feel really stupid when I cry during something as utterly silly as Kung Fu Panda 2. Luckily I'm 90% sure the girl didn't see my tears. Anyway, (spoiler alert) in the movie the protagonist Po becomes hindered in his abilities until he goes on a painful journey of self-discovery to find out new truths about himself that he's been repressing his entire life. By exploring painful truths about himself and his past, he is able to find "inner peace" and master those feelings, using them to IMPROVE his abilities and the person he is. Sound familiar? Yeah--it was like the last emotional 8 months of my life being relived in a CGI Dreamworks film at the end of an emotionally taxing day amidst an emotionally confusing setting of receiving affection from a girl any man would die for but whom I fail to feel physical attraction for!

Needless to say I got home in even more emotional stress. And then God did something wonderful. He made good on the promise Christ gave to his disciples in John 14:27, and which He offers to all His faithful disciples throughout time:

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Like Po in Kung Fu Panda 2, I was blessed to once again find the inner peace that God has helped make my companion over the past month of discovering myself since the break-up. God took the trouble and fear from my heart (hearkening back again to the first scripture of this blog from 2 Timothy 1:7-8). He replaced it with peace and patience. To a degree He filled it with understanding, but honestly not much. But He did offer the patiece to believe that understanding is forthcoming. I still have lots of questions. I have no idea what I'm going to do about this other girl (keep reading in the future and you'll probably find out). I am still concerned about pursuing healthy male friendships and some of the complications related thereto. Nonetheless, God has given me peace and I know somehow that things will be all right.

What I love about the verse above from John is the reminder that the ways God gives us peace are not the same as the world's techniques. I get several emails a week from disgruntled readers telling me that I would be happier if I just left the Church and moved in with other gay men and lived that life. And yet, back in May and June when my testimony was more on the brink than it's ever been, I was filled with depression and confusion. The more of the world I let in, the less peace I felt. By contrast, despite days like yesterday the last month of my life has been one of the most sublimely peaceful in many ways. I have truly loved it. Last night I didn't gain inner peace by turning to gay porn or masturbation or by cursing God, as the world would tell me to do to gain peace. Instead, I prayed. Honestly, it didn't immediately give me too much peace. Then, however, I checked my email and read some uplifting messages from some of my new online support-group friends from North Star (if you don't know what that is, click on that link and find out today!!!) who said a few things that I'm sure the Spirit prompted them to that calmed my troubled heart. We're very confidential with what we discuss in the group, so I can't share any specifics here, but I can say that I suddenly felt the voice of the Spirit again, reminding me that God gives us peace in His own way and time. Sometimes it is through others who are spiritually atuned. One email was a very simple message directly to me extended from another member of North Star but not through the discussion forum channels. We have conversed electronically a bit in the past few days and just seeing his friendly note helped me immensely when I needed it last night. (Thanks again--you know who you are!)

Today I am happy. I have lots of peace--I must, because I couldn't have written this rather personal and difficult post without it! Don't let the world sell you counterfeit peace. God's original product beats all the flawed reproductions, and He is willing to offer it gladly to you--but He will give it in His own way and time, not in the way the world or even you may expect or demand Him to.

Thanks again to my friends in North Star. God leading me to you was one of His greatest miracles in this journey yet.

My best,


P.S. If you are having a particularly depressing day and need a more humorous pick-me-up, go to a computer with a web-cam, turn up the volume, and visit the site below, courtesy of the Old Spice Guy, who I hope even straight guys have a crush on. ;)


  1. It's amazing how we can look back and see gods hands in our lives. I'm thankful to see how he has guided you these past eight months. The world will always be trying to convince us we can only be happy living a gay lifestyle. However, it's just the opposite. A decision has to be made and as the faith follows so does peace. It's the sitting on the fence that can cause a lot of unrest. Its great that you felt some physical attraction for a girl recently. I'm interested to see what happens with this girl from your ward. Have a good Christmas!

  2. Don't feel bad about crying when you watch a movie just because you're a guy. It happens to me too and I thought I was the only one!

  3. Way to go Obadiah! I am so proud of you! You are an inspiration.

  4. Love your posts, O. A lot of your experiences resonate with me and mine. Good luck with whatever happens with Kung fu panda 2 girl... And that even if it doesn't work out, that you learn SOMETHING from it.

    You're awesome.


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