not out still confused 47

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Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
November 7, 2011, 22:29

Hi Sarab

I’m glad things at the new church are going well.

You said:

On a more immediate level I am anxious about talking to people in my current church about my decision to leave. I am anxious about their questioning about my reason for doing so. I am anxious that once they cotton onto the fact that it is a fairly liberal progressive, same sex friendly church that they will somehow “be on to me”.

I am distressed about the fact that I have so much going on in my mind… yet can’t share it with anyone.

I don’t see why you have to tell people your reasons for leaving if you don’t want to or of the new church you are attending. Is there part of you that wants to tell them perhaps? You don’t have to be in such a rush though. And it’s no one else’s business or right to know your business. You’re entitled to some privacy and you’re still working out things for yourself. It’s OK to give yourself the space to do that without involving others although I suspect you’d like to skip this stage and move to freely being out and about, fully comfortable amongst your peers. And that’s understandable.

I believe your plea that Christians gain more understanding of our plight is being answered. It’s through sites like this one and Anthony Venn-Brown’s work as well as pastors like mrg and others that churches are being educated and attitudes are slowly changing. Your own story will be part of what makes a big difference.. but just focus on your inner processing and being with affirming others for now.


Ann Maree

Joined in 2011
November 8, 2011, 08:34

Hey, Sarab…

My heart is grabbed by your comment here – your journey of anxiety, confusion, questioning, yearning and distress.. Hugs for you!

I wish we could find that transclusent ball of hope for you just now. I know so well what it can be like to be asking those deep and confusing questions again, about whether somehow the positive affirmations of same sex attraction are ‘all made up’…, for the quilt and confusion to set in… especially when you are dealing with your anxieties about your relationships with your friends in your old church. The steps you are taking are HUGE… please know that they are HUGE… and that the grief about the possibility of your more conservative friends not treating your journey with the respect it deserves can be so painful too.

Please know that I am thinking of you just now and lighting a candle in my heart for your courage and sufficient hope and determination to continue to seek your truth. I am learning that it really is true… that ‘the truth sets us free’ — I have a very long way to go, but hold that as a foundational belief.

Hugs, courage and comfort….


Joined in 2011
November 8, 2011, 21:21

Thanks to Mother Hen, Ann Maree and Ammi for your thoughts and comments.

Mother Hen – you are right – sometimes we (I) do make things a bit bigger than they need to be. I think I was just having a moment yesterday – and yes I took a breath and am just reminding myself to sit with things instead of racing too far ahead in my thinking.

Ann Maree said

You’re entitled to some privacy and you’re still working out things for yourself. It’s OK to give yourself the space to do that without involving others although I suspect you’d like to skip this stage and move to freely being out and about, fully comfortable amongst your peers. And that’s understandable.

Yes I would like to skip this stage and move to being freely out and about. How do you read me so well? πŸ™‚

I think there is a part of me that just wants to get the telling thing over and done with. However,, I don’t think I need to say much more than I am attending a new church… depending upon who is doing the asking – I may even feel comfortable enough if asked “why?” to say that I feel more comfortable with their stance on social justice and same sex relationships. If people want to make something of that… i guess they can… given that I have been reasonably upfront about my views in the past.

Ammi – bless you for your encouragement and care shown in your message. thanks for the reminder that the steps I have taken have indeed been pretty big.

Sorry – in the scheme of some of the stories shared on this site -my worries are minor.

Many thanks

Sarab πŸ™‚

Joined in 2011
November 12, 2011, 09:45

Thought I might share the next little step in my journey.

As I have shared before – I have had some anxiety around talking with people from my existing church about my decision to leave.

I have during the week let one of the women from the church know of my decsion to leave. She is the woman I first shared with about my struggles with sexuality – the same person who said she thinks it’s God’s will for women to be with men. I have not been explicit in telling her yet that I have deliberately chosen a church that is gay friendly – but I am sure she will piece this together. She has naturally expressed her concerns – and I am trying hard just to be grateful for that and just trying to quietly accept that her understanding differs from mine. However, I will gently and hopefully respectfully decline her offer of meeting regularly for “accountability” purposes.

I spent some time talking with my counsellor yesterday about “talking” – I can’t remember exactly how she put it – but I came to understand that talking or sharing honestly – (at a time that is right for me) – will actually help me work through this process. That the sharing and talking itself is part of growth and learning and of moving on.

In talking with the counsellor yesterday – I can see that rather then being an annoying side issue – that the very act of putting my feelings, thoughts and experiences into words – and taking a risk to share them with others – is actually going to help me work through the anxiety that surrounds me. As the counsellor said – the anxiety about sharing of myself is not going to go away by itself. If I am anxious about people’s responses or anxious about having to defend my position – I will continue to stay in this state until I deal with it – at a time of my choosing. She asked me “what might you most like to say?” Hmmm – in my dreams I say that “I have decided to attend another church that is supportive of people in gay relationships – as I have been working through these issues myself. I hope you will trust and accept that this is the right thing for me to do. I’d like to continue to stay in touch – I know you will have some concerns about my decscion – but know that my faith and trust in God through Jesus is secure and firm ”

Well I met for Bible study last night – and while I didn’t exactly say what I said in my dreams (!!) I did say that I had made a decsion to move churches. This was met with surprise – and the inevitable questions about “why”? I talked in generalities about the “demographic” of the church being not so “family focussed” -and that it was quite a diverse community and then I said “there are some factors around this decsion that I don’t quite feel comfortable in sharing – factors that I can hazard a guess that some of you will not agree with” (My heart thumped a bit at this point) πŸ™‚

I said that I planned however to continue meeting with them in the Bible study group. (This has been my intention)

However, through the night – a conversation came up in the group around imorality, people living “in sin” – they skirted around same sex issues…. and I could just feel that same sense that came upon me when I decided to leave the church. As I sat amongst these people – I had no anger – no judgement – just a really strong sense that this would not be OK for me to continue meeting with this group.

I had honestly previously envisaged that I could be happliy ensconsed in my new church – maybe even in the far future – with a partner – and that I could also continue to meet with these women from a more conservative church background. I had imagined that it might be good for me – to keep a foot in both camps.

I know that Ann Maree – you have said before that both views can be held together – and that relationships bewteen people with divergent opinions can be maintained. I am not sure that I am in a space to do this yet. (Mind you, I am not really close or great friends with any of these women… so perhaps that’s where the difference lies.)

And so – yet another major decision made by me in a short space of time. πŸ™‚

Yesterday I was saying to the counsellor “when will all this anxiety and sadness and angst end” – she gently yet somewhat wryly – with a slight smile said “and remind me when you started dealing with all this?”

um – that would be four – five months ago…

“and how long prior to that has it been that you have not thought of yourself as a sexual person?”

um – that would be around 30 years…

OK OK…. so it may take a while longer yet.

So that is the update – having a newer perspective on talking and sharing -along with an awareness that it comes with risk and challenges – yet opportunity for real growth, change and opportunity – has been enormously helpful.

There have of course been some tears shed this morning – tears for yet another big shift. I have met with this Bible study group for a couple of years. Yet – I could also look up some beautiful tall gum trees this morning and say thank you to my creator.

Sarab xx

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
November 12, 2011, 10:59

Hi Sarab

Good for you! Your counsellor is right. Each part of the journey that creates anxiety is an opportunity for growth. And as you’ve demonstrated, you can choose if and when you disclose and how much.

I know it took a lot of courage to share what you did at the bible group. Go you! I’m really proud of you, Sarab. πŸ™‚ And the others’ responses have given you food for thought as to future contact with them or not. So that’s all valuable.

You said:

I know that Ann Maree – you have said before that both views can be held together – and that relationships between people with divergent opinions can be maintained. I am not sure that I am in a space to do this yet. (Mind you, I am not really close or great friends with any of these women… so perhaps that’s where the difference lies.)

It takes an effort to hold divergent views together and there’s no point doing that if it’s not good for you. This is important to keep in mind. If unsure, just ask yourself: ‘Is this good for me?’ and notice your inward nudgings/guidance.. I also believe that being able to hold divergent views in a friendship works best when the other is also able to respectfully do the same. I think you make a good point in regards to not being that close to these women and that being a factor in your decision of how much or if you maintain contact. It’s good that you are aware of your own needs and able to honour those.

I really like the way you’re reflecting on things and gaining new perspectives. I also smiled at your counsellor’s reminder that you’ve contained these issues around sexuality in one form or another for 30 years or so so it will take longer than 5 minutes to sort out! Hopefully the acknowledgment of her comment puts things in a more realistic perspective, allowing you to only do what you can when you can without whipping yourself for not having it all resolved in a few short months.


Ann Maree

Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
November 12, 2011, 14:04

sarab – as others have said, you are actually doing well on your journey .. .. .. even ‘though it seems hard and confusing at times. What you are experiencing is a common one. BUT, it DOES get better and easier.

If you’ve been around churches for a long time, you will occasionally have heard or read a ‘gutter-to-glory’ testimony where it seems God just snapped the fingers and the person experienced a dramatic conversion. But, for most of us, that conversion journey was one of steps, plateaus, occasional slip-backs, occasional cathartic moments – but a gradual upward journey of understanding, comfort, commitment and growth.

So, with our ‘coming out’ journey. Few of us seem to experience a once-only jump from the closet &/or denial, across to self-acceptance, openness and comfort with ourselves. Mostly it’s a gradual process with ups-&-downs, easy bits & hard bits.

We can see that your overall trend is UPWARDS! You are getting there. You ARE going to get to a place of peace.

God bless.

Joined in 2011
November 12, 2011, 20:17

Thanks so much Forestgrey and Ann Maree –

I must say on reflection today – I am just quietly proud of the way I have been tackling things head on – yet not impulsively – but with care and consideration. I smiled Ann Maree at your comment “Go you” and I gave myself my own “yes! Go me!” today πŸ™‚

I want you and the f2b[e] community to know how important the encouragement and support you have been giving me has been.

Thanks Forestgreay for the encouragement that my journey is upwards – sometimes it doesn’t feel like that.

Ann Maree – yes I agree – the holding of divergent views in a friendship probably only works best when it is reciprocal.

When I think about it – I have some deep and wonderful friendships where we hold divergent views. My closest friendships for example are with people who do not share my Christian faith – yet we hold a mutual respect for the other’s opinion and world view. So I can only hope that the two or three Christian friends in my life that I hold dear will be able to sit with a divergent view around sexuality – when the time comes for me to share where I am at.

Sarab πŸ™‚

Joined in 2011
November 15, 2011, 20:17

Hi all,

I will be reading AVB’s thread on “parents your advice needed” with much interest. Weird timing as I was going to ask for similar input from people on this site about talking with/coming out to parents. I have been giving this some thought in recent days.

My parents have always been very welcoming of my sister’s girlfriends over the years – however I know that my mum struggles with it. She has said “I don’t feel comfortable about this… I don’t like it…” Mind you – when mum has expressed this to me I have reminded her that she finds it difficult to think of her children (especially her daughters) involved in any kind of sexual encounter – gay or straight! πŸ™‚

My perception of my parent’s potential reaction has probably played quite a part in my supression of myself as a sexual person over the years.

I was remebering this week that my mum asked me when I was in my late 20s… maybe 30s… “do you think you might be gay?” …. how I wish I had said yes… how different life may have been. Instead I immediately said “no”…. not even sure at that stage myself what was going on.

I have wondered at this point whether it is necessary to say anything to my parents at all – they are in their 80s – and do they need this stress?

However, I am very close to them – and it feels kind of deceitful not to say anything…

I have wondered whether I just wait – if the time ever should come that I meet someone… (waaaay down the track…) do I just wait until then to say something….

I take on Board what Mother Hen has written – that she wishes her son had told her first so that she could have been there to support him during a difficult time… however, I am at a different stage of my life – so while incredibly close to them – I guess thier role in supporting me in day to day matters is not quite as it may have been when I was younger.

I am wondering whether I need to be proactive about this – or just wait…. after all – I have already mentioned that I have shifted church… in time they will probably figure out it is a gay friendly church – and that may of course raise a question…

I should mention that none of my family are Christians – so that’s not an issue.

lots to think about and I would love to hear from people about their coming out to parents… & of course I will be reading the “parents advice needed” thread with interest.

Sarab πŸ™‚

Mother Hen
Joined in 2011
November 15, 2011, 20:52

Hi Sarab,

I am away at the moment and have limited Internet so have not been on F2B until today, and responded straight away to AVB request.

The comments I made about wishing my son had told us earlier was in relation to our situation where our son was a young teenager going through his own struggles and then not coming out to us until he was in his early 20 ‘s. So he was a lot younger and still living with us and I guess at a more vulnerable age, where the love and support of his parents might of made the whole process easier. The young man AVB is talking about is also young so in his situation may benefit from his mother knowing so she could support him and he doesn’t want to be gay and wants her help.

I feel your situation is very different, you are a lot more independent and living your own life not under your parents roof. They would not expect or want to know every aspect of your life. I guess the question you need to ask yourself would you or they benefit from knowing your current situation. Do you feel you want or need your parents to know.Β 

Since your sister is gay and your parents have accepted her situation I would assume they would also be accepting of yours. You said your mother asked you when you were in your 30’s so maybe she already suspects.

God blessΒ 

Joined in 2011
November 20, 2011, 16:29

Thanks Mother Hen for your reply.

Yes I agree – my situation in relation to parents is much different from that of your son and the other young man’s – as I am at a different stage of life. Your question as to whether they (my parents) or I would benefit from knowing my situation is a good one.

I guess I will for the moment just let this unfold naturally – I am not in a hurry to say anything at this point to any family members.

As for my parents being accepting of my situation because they have been accepting of my sister’s. Well… yes and no.

Yes – as compared to other stories of outright rejection from parents – I know this wouldn’t happen.

No -as I know they would find it difficult. My mother especially has expressed she is not really comfortable with same sex relationships.

Mum asked me many years ago if I was gay – I guess because I had never had a boyfriend. When I said no at that stage – I think she has just accepted that I have “not met the right man”. It would come as a huge shock now for her to even contemplate that I might also partner with a woman.

I have had a strong history of being pretty open with my parents about what I am doing, thinking and feeling. It feels hard to keep this journey separate from them – yet at this stage I think its best.

Many thanks,

sarab πŸ™‚

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