I don’t know about you, but this year is rushing by for me. I’m beginning to enter the stage of graduate school applications and GRE studying. I loathe this part of the process, but it’s a necessary one to move forward. I’m eagerly anticipating the freedom to come out publicly in graduate school and then work through the challenge of balancing academics and building community along with blogging.
But for now it’s time to take a break.
…At least until I take the GRE exam September 13th. I haven’t had a math class since 2006 so I need to reopen some of those neural pathways again, and that means hours upon hours of studying. Guess who’s not excited about that? …Yeah
But before I say goodbye, I wanted to share a little with you about this blogging experience.
I’m insecure. That’s no surprise if you’ve read my posts or known me for years. I’m not the guy who has it all together. I’ve honestly taken many unannounced “mini-breaks” from the blog because I couldn’t deal with the pressure. I’ve had days when I felt everything I’ve written was crap. I’ve wanted to quit and go back to hiding where no one could see me and my brokenness.
I want to be loved and respected. I want people to think I’m a cool guy. But you can’t effectively minister to others with that mindset. And as much as I try to combat my people-pleaser disposition, it’s always there. Good art incorporates our brokenness and insecurity. We resist sentimental art that lacks some sense of realism–a good story must have its conflict to capture our attention. There is always tension within living. Bad motives taint our good deeds; all our righteous acts are filthy rags before a Holy God. But our Holy God purifies and repairs filthy, torn rags and uses them to clean up a messy world nonetheless.
I’ve learned that I’m just a messenger. My story points others to Christ, not to me. I’m freely admitting to the world that I’m a screw-up. I don’t have all the answers. But this Jesus I serve is saving me now. He’s sanctifying and liberating me from my self-destructive behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs. This blog is so much bigger than me. And when I don’t feel attractive enough, or smart enough, or funny enough, or articulate enough, I’m finding that’s okay. I don’t need all those things to love you or to love Jesus. I create all these expectations for being a “Good Gay Christian Blogger.” But there is no standard. I can just be me; flawed, wounded, but in love with God’s people. If you resonate with my story, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. God will lead you to another story that will touch your heart and minister to your needs. That’s what makes this community of writers so amazing. We’re working together to glorify God and help others through our stories. We’re not against each other competing for attention and readers (those kind of blogs won’t survive). I’m not an outsider in this little niche of the blogging world. I have value even if many of the writers I love don’t know I exist. I’m just filling my God-given role, however big or small. And that matters.
I don’t have to push a brand day in and day out. I don’t have to clamor to be seen and respected. I can rest and embrace silence some days. I can live beyond the weariness of Facebook likes and page views—because my worth isn’t defined by them. Fame is an empty pursuit. I will never be satisfied with the amount of readers who visit my blog. There will always be some cool person I want to befriend who won’t have time for me. But I’m learning to always have an open heart and do what God calls me to do. Rest in His provision; be content. But also love and take risks within the rest Christ has provided.
I wrote my last post about my struggle to pursue celibacy basically on a whim. I published it not knowing if I was making a stupid mistake. It connected with a lot of people, gay and straight. More people read it than any other post I’ve written so far. And then Stephen Long republished it Thursday on his blog Sacred Tension. Crazy. But life remains pretty normal. I’ve learned to direct the praise to God. Just when I think I’m a pretty cool guy, I’m quickly reminded Um, no you’re not, Seth. I’m just a gay dude who loves Jesus and writes about it. The cool thing is watching God work in my life.
So I hope you’ll return in September. I have some exciting projects coming up and blog post ideas I’m eager to write when the GRE isn’t sucking away my time. If you’re forgetful like me, feel free to subscribe to the blog.
Thank you for taking this journey with me so far. It has broken me many times over the months, but I am a better Christian for processing my pain and loneliness with you, and my transparency and vulnerability are opening doors to real community. I’m so grateful for my friends and family who read this blog to better know and love me, and I’m thankful for all the new people I’m meeting and befriending through my story.
photo courtesy of flickr creative commons, user smoorenburg