Sexual attraction is a complex subject. The origins of sexual feelings often lie deeply hidden within the individual psyche. We believe they are best explained in terms of developmental psychology and trait development, and that there is no single “one-size-fits-all” theory to account for them. In spite of this, it is feasible, to gain valuable insights into some of the factors that may have contributed to the shaping of your present state of mind. There are a variety of tools to help in this process, including: individual or group therapy, prayer, healthy relationships, discipleship, reading and writing in a journal. In turn, these insights can be useful in freeing you from emotional bondage and enabling you to live according to your consciously chosen values. As a first step, we suggest you seek out the assistance of a trained Christian counselor – with a biblical worldview – who is compassionate, understanding, and experienced in the area of same-sex attractions.
We’d also like to encourage you to excise the word “inevitable” from your vocabulary. It simply isn’t true that you must “inevitably” act on your feelings of same-sex attraction or any particular sexual attraction or urge for that matter. We understand that feelings are difficult, if not impossible, to control. They can blind-side you and take you by surprise. Fortunately, the same thing can’t be said about actions. There is such a thing as self-control, and it is possible to subject your behavior to your will regardless of what your emotions are saying. Habits can be changed. This takes discipline and determination, and perhaps most importantly, support from caring and non-judgmental individuals who share your values, but it can be done.
You can meet the challenge successfully by adopting a values-led approach. Start by taking some time to think about your personal belief system and faith-commitment. Ask yourself, “What is most important to me? What is the guiding ‘polestar’ of my life?” Do you consider yourself a Christian? If so, you will want to examine your faith convictions with great care and give them priority over every other consideration. Remember that it is never wise to give more weight to feelings than to rational conclusions and clear biblical teachings. Feelings don’t make you who you are. Beliefs, values, and conscious commitments do. Additionally, we contend that your creator and what He’s revealed in Scripture is what is the most deeply “true” about you.
In connection with this last thought, we should add that, from a Christian perspective, your identity is given and unchangeable: according to the Bible, you are a person, male or female, created in the Image of God. Obviously, you are free to accept or reject this idea as you see fit. You can also elect to self-label or self-identify in any way you choose. But the point we’re trying to make is that you don’t have to feel locked into any particular understanding of your identity simply on the basis of your sexual feelings or someone else’s arbitrarily devised labels which have been newly created in the last several decades of human history. Shut out all the political “noise” on this subject and take a close and careful look at your options. Remember that “gay” is just an artificial construct: a word that means what other people say it means – nothing more, nothing less. We’d encourage you not to allow yourself to get locked into that category.
It’s also important to understand that feelings of same-sex attraction don’t have to disappear before you can make reasonable choices in response to those feelings. Many people in your position find that as they embrace a values-led approach to life, they begin to grow in terms of their self-worth and self-esteem. Some start moving in a more positive direction simply by engaging with their peers, cultivating a deeper involvement with their faith community, and developing a wider network of supportive relationships (for example, within a safe group counseling setting).
In some instances, individuals who follow this course of action experience a dramatic change in their sexual attractions. This is a very real possibility, but it’s important to realize that it doesn’t always occur. When it does, it typically takes place by degrees and over a long period of time. If things don’t work out this way for you, you shouldn’t lose heart. Bear in mind that this type of change doesn’t have to be the focus of your life, or even the main goal of the counseling process. Such change doesn’t occur by trying really hard or focusing on not having same-sex attractions. Instead, it may occur as you redirect your energy toward other areas of life, such as altering your behavior, your relationships with God and others, your self-identity labels, your attitude toward others, your thoughts and beliefs, and your understanding of yourself as a person made in the image of a righteous and loving God. In most cases, this is by far the most helpful and productive plan. Your life will eventually take on a very different shape as you shift your focus away from issues of sexual attraction or a preoccupation with a gay label and center it around new goals and a well-defined set of personal values.
If you think it might be helpful to discuss your concerns, call our Counseling staff for a free consultation. Our therapists are all trained and licensed in the field of clinical psychology, and they can also provide you with references to reputable Christian counselors practicing in your area.
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