This is part 4 of a 7-part series on same-sex attraction
For part 1, click here
For series summary, click here
1 Succeed in dealing with a problem or difficulty; get the better of; control
2 Defeat an opponent; prevail; conquer; vanquish
All my life I have connoted overcoming something with eliminating it from my life. It is only conquered when it disappears.
But, what if I can’t “make it disappear?”
For example, I’m always going to be bipolar. In fact, we began noticing symptoms 30 years ago, so most probably I always have been bipolar.
The majority of my life I didn’t understand what it was, or even if it had a name. I was just different and left it at that for a while.
Then, I was told what it was, and I refused to accept it.
But then we entered the phase of our life when we faced it head on, learned which things help and which things exacerbate the problems, and changed our life to fit with what we had to work with.
Have I stopped being bipolar?
Has it stopped controlling me?
I’m on my way there.
Have I overcome being bipolar?
In my own way, I would say yes.
So, is there more than one way to overcome?
In this case, I would say that to overcome would be synonymous with to NOT succumb.
Wouldn’t this count as defeating my opponent? I can conquer even if I can’t vanquish. Perhaps the real win comes when the daily battle doesn’t overwhelm me anymore.
Or, even if there are some days that I’m not overwhelmed.
So – let’s talk about same-sex attraction.
Perhaps the first question to be resolved is what exactly do you want? In the last posting we talked about the incongruity of seeking homosexuality and wanting to follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What helped me the most was to let go of what I felt was my solution to the issue, and instead focus on what I knew to be God’s solution. I have enough history to know that every time I choose His solution, it works out infinitely better.
How do I really define myself? Certainly the current trend would take a mathematical approach: if I feel same-sex attraction, then I cannot be attracted to the opposite sex; if I cannot be attracted to the opposite sex, then I must be gay; if I am gay, then the only way to find satisfaction and peace is to live a homosexual lifestyle.
If I feel same-sex attraction, then I must be gay and live a homosexual lifestyle.
I will state clearly and plainly that this simply is not true.
I am not a homosexual. I am not gay. One of the characteristics that makes up the unique person that is me, is same-sex attraction. This does not necessitate being gay.
I choose to live and love in a heterosexual marriage, which frankly is the best decision I have ever made. And when I introduce myself, there is never an identifier of sexual proclivities.
Why would anyone want to have that be their identity? It really doesn’t make sense when you think about it.
I guess the bottom line is that I really do know who I am.
Why? Because I choose Heavenly Father’s solution instead of my own.
My journey of going from hoping no one ever knew that I had these feelings inside, to quietly sharing with Ann, to then together talking with our kids, and now to putting it out there in this blog has lifted a burdensome weight off my shoulders.
I don’t have to fight myself to keep something hidden; I can now accept the help and support of my “network” of family and friends, and even of strangers.
I’m not afraid that I will succumb.
Because I’m in control. I’m choosing.
That’s pretty huge.
Maybe you are asking the question of how can one open up to new feelings, while closing others. My psychologist counseled me that with mental illness, and some of these pretty horrible feelings that come with it, the feelings must be felt so they can be dissipated. When I keep them bottled up and ignored, they become like steam in a pressure cooker left to just simmer on the stove.
It will eventually explode and someone will get burned.
Heavenly Father’s plan for me isn’t to keep stomping on these feelings; it is to learn the ability to keep them in check so that I become the master, and not the other way around.
Simply, I don’t act on them.
That can only happen when I clearly identify it, look it in the face, and realize that I am actually bigger and stronger than it is.
And you actually have some impressive muscles, giving you strength.
If you get discouraged in your personal battle, please know that I really do understand. I empathize just how hard it is.
And it is hard.
But there really is a way to work through it to find happiness.
Let go of what ISN’T, what will never be. Instead, embrace what IS, and what can be.
You really are bigger than this relentless bully.
Winning isn’t eradicating it from your existence; winning is overcoming through not succumbing.