Moving Past Sexual Orientation

Moving Past Sexual Orientation July 24, 2013

For the longest time, I considered myself a gay celibate Christian.

It was uneasy for me to think about dating another man, so I kept myself pure by storing away any emotions I had for other men.

Eventually, it was not enough. The hiding away turned into a drug overdose and several other failed suicidal plans.

I penned “Confessions of a Gay Christian” on Relevant Magazine’s website, which was met with both praise and hatred. I spoke with friends and family trying to reassure them that I would stick to a “Biblical standard”, although a part of me ached to start dating another male.

There ill attempt at speaking into my life came with my supreme confidence that nothing would change. Why should it?

Also, why would someone try to tell me to stay single when they would never understand the loneliness that comes with not only being single in your late twenties, but a gay single who is given no options?

My gay confidence turned to skepticism only a few months later. It was through a series of visions that I let go of my gay relationship longing to continue to walk with Jesus. It was not a simple letting go, it was a grueling agony that took over two months to pray through and continued to gain more clarity on. It was a desperate clawing at my inner core that I learned to let go of. I have been celibate for the twenty some odd years of my life. I can handle another three quarters of my life living as such.

With so much confusion, my prayers quickly turned to anger because I had no idea what was happening. My questions were met with my roommates’ laughter as our discussions turned into the different women I started to become attracted to. Apparently I blushed as I unconsciously flirted with the woman behind the ice cream counter with my roommate commenting, “She was digging on some Nate.”

I started conversations with others who have experienced the same. I have met with men, on the same path as myself, who are dating women and those who are already in heterosexual marriages. I know I am not alone with not fitting in either of the “sides” that a lot of homosexuals identify with.

I had coffee with my friend who questioned this “sexual transformation” that I started having over a year ago. Was it a psychological longing that just progressed to change? My response was, “no” because over a year ago I was ready to date another male, all the while, I looked for gay affirming churches. Years ago, a conversation about a guy kissing a girl was usually met with my quick comment of “That’s gross.”

It was definitely not a psychological longing that changed me, but Christ who did. He later commented that I seemed at ease with who I am compared to his other friend who tried to go “straight,” but continues to wrestle with depression and anxiety stemming from sexuality issues.

What changed for me? I stopped worshipping the adjective I placed in front of being a Christian. I am neither a gay or straight Christian.  Although, I can relate to such adjectives to some degree. I stopped focusing on what any side wanted me to define myself by. I started to let go of labels. I stopped focusing on temptations and desires. I had to remove self proclaiming prophecies of this is “who I was born as” and started declaring “who I am reborn into.” A person, a friend and a child of God. It was that simple.

Do I expect everyone to have the same experience? No.

Do I still wrestle with my orientation? Yes.

Does it cause doubt in what God has spoken over me? No.

I remember the coffee table conversation that I have become at ease with what He has already done in my life. I learned to let go of what the world, both Christian and secular, expects of me when handling certain issues…

I am not and will never again put an “adjective” in my God-given identity.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Wow. Fascinating and courageous post, Nate. Thank you.

    Just this week, I was reading an article featuring 3 UK pastors choosing similar paths: http://www.christianitymagazine.co.uk/Browse%20By%20Category/features/A%20different%20kind%20of%20coming%20out.aspx

  • Nate Smith

    You’re welcome! I have read that and sent one of the pastors a message. Cheers!

  • Nathalie

    Really great and brave post! :)

  • Joe

    This was an excellent post, Nate. Thank you for your vulnerability and sharing your struggle. It was really valuable to hear your perspective and your adjective-less conclusion is fantastic! Thank you for proclaiming a beautiful message of identity in Christ alone.

  • Nate Smith

    Thanks for the encouragement Joe. It’s been quite the interesting journey the past couple of years. Christ alone. Blessings.

  • Nate Smith

    Cheers Nathalie!

  • Erin Crocker

    Awesome post. Really enjoyed this and opened my eyes to what some of my friends may or may not be going through at the moment. Thank you so much for sharing such a powerful testimony!

  • Linda

    Love, love, love! This is a great reminder for me that my primary orientation (identity) has to be in who the Father says I am. Great post brother!

  • Jeff

    I think you nailed this. Good work. I’ve long since had the thought that our own sexuality (whether hetero- or homo-) tends to be an idol and a hindrance, and you perfectly articulated it.

  • Nate Smith

    We definitely have given it too much authority in everyone’s life.

  • Nate Smith

    Amen!

  • Nate Smith

    You’re welcome friend :)

  • Billie Jo

    I commend you! This is such a wonderful post! It goes to show you that there is the power of death an life in your tongue, an that so a man thinks in his heart so shall he be! You are proof in the power of the word of God! LOVE the “who Im reborn into”! We all have struggles, weakness in areas that we NEED help with, rather big or small but when we really trust an rely on God he sure can change a person! Praise the Lord! Im so very proud of you an thankful I had a chance to read this. Keep fighting the good fight of faith! Just think of all the people that struggle in this area that God will use you to help an minister too!! God Bless! Billie Jo

  • Adel Letourneau Klassen

    Thanks for that amazing post. I am proud of you for where you’ve come so far on this journey and I know it can’t be an easy one. Looking forward to future posts and hearing where life takes you. Thanks for sharing this one! Congrats on finishing school too!!

  • An Amazing post, Nate. It definitely challenged my own preconceived notions and made me think of something C.S. Lewis wrote about so many years ago. He warned of the dangers of “Christian and…” Identifying your Christianity with something else rather than simply Christ.

    And I’ll probably be thinking about this post for awhile.

  • Nate Smith

    Thanks Billie Jo!!

  • Nate Smith

    Thanks Adel!! It has been quite the journey indeed :)

  • Nate Smith

    That’s awesome! Is the quote you are talking about from a particular C.S. Lewis book??

  • I’m about 80% sure it’s from Screwtape Letters. Screwtape advises Wormwood to distract his target with “Christianity and…”…I think. If it’s not that one then it’s in Mere Christianity.

  • Guglielmo Marinaro

    I find, on reading this, that certain questions immediately present themselves:

    (1) You speak of a series of visions. What was the nature of these visions?

    (2) Whom or what did you conclude to be the source of these visions? How did you verify your conclusion?

    (3) What precise information, if any, did these visions convey? How did you verify that information?

    (4) Despite your “sexual transformation” (your words), you say that you still “struggle” with your sexual orientation. Why is this?

    (5) Heterosexual Christian people seldom put the adjective “heterosexual” in their God-given identity. They don’t need to, for the same reason as I have never yet found outside or inside a Roman Catholic church in Italy or France any kind of notice stating that it is a RC church (unless it is a church for some specific minority, e.g. Polish Catholics). But does being persons, friends and children of God cause heterosexual Christians to move past their sexual orientation? I have never heard it suggested that it does, or that this is something that they ought to aim at. Why should gay Christians do so?

  • freckledfarang

    Thank you for this post.
    I’m intrigued about the process of letting go that you describe. I used to be married to a man who struggled with same sex attraction- until his wrestling brought him to let go of God and embrace homosexuality.
    This certainly doesn’t mean that I know what it’s like to struggle this way, but having walked for a while with him and with other friends, I long to have words that make sense and offer help and hope.