Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Man in the Arena

So long I have meticulously attempted to throw people off the scent and cover my tracks; I didn't want anyone to know about my feelings.  The thought of others knowing me absolutely terrified me.  I cannot express the panic that filled my heart when people would ask me if I was gay, or even when the topic homosexuality came up for more than a few seconds.  Terror was interwoven with the fibers of my being (too cheesy?  whatever) as I painstakingly tip-toed through my adolescent years.  I just knew that I would be judged (and rightly so!  You can't be gay and Mormon, right?) by everyone if they knew who I really was.

While I still battle shame, timidity, and despair, things have changed dramatically.  This week I've told three people, and each experience has been wonderful and healing.  I'm desperately trying to live my life in the way that my Heavenly Father wants.  It's very difficult, because I don't know how open I should be or whom I should confide in or how people will react once they find out that I kinda like guys (a lot).

As a witness of Christ, I know that I should not be ashamed to testify of Him through word and deed.  From a broader perspective, we aren't truly competing against each other.  We're competing against ourselves.  I truly am my worst critic (although Satan gives me a run for my money on occasion), but I know that it is better for me to struggle and cry and brush the dirty blood from my knees than to not try at all.  As I keep up the fight, I give others courage to endure as well.  A perfect illustration of this principle is manifest in the following quote by Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

We cannot give up.  As cliché as that sounds, we will be trampled under the stampede of the adversary if we yield to his lies.  So while it is excruciating to be transparent and vulnerable, we shouldn't fear the shame of the world.  We chose this life.  We chose to risk defeat in hopes of glory. 

As children of God, we must remember whom we are trying to satisfy. 

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