This was one of the mantras I picked up and promulgated during my ex-gay days. I truly believed it. Every time I had that strong desire to deeply know another man, I recited this platitude to calm the anxiety and assure myself that being gay was not the healthy choice for me.
It’s the ultimate salve to any gay “temptation.” Well-meaning (but ignorant) mentors would assure me that my deep ache would never be satisfied. It’s not what God wants. It won’t lead to a healthy life. It is a deep hole from which you’ll never emerge, because you’ll perpetually seek the nonexistent bottom.
I still commonly hear this warning from Christian leaders today to those needing encouragement to stay on the ex-gay path, or those who are questioning which path to choose: “That ‘lifestyle’ will never satisfy you. It is sin, and will only lead to death.” Most mean this in emotional ways, but the even more ignorant will connect it to physical death, in an attempt to convince others that being gay will likely lead you to early death (by way of STDs).
Nevermind the fact that there’s not an ounce of veracity or reason to the physical dangers of being gay. The real issue, I discovered, is that the statement “you’ll never be satisfied” is simply not true. When I was finally brave enough to plot another course in reconciling my sexuality with my faith, this was one of the first lies I addressed.
The real truth – the whole truth – is that anyone who seeks their completion in another is sure to be disappointed. This is a quality of humanity, not a quality of homosexuality. To seek definition in “the other” is natural. It’s actually the way God designed us, for he wants to ultimately be the one to give us that definition, as we move into his being and his love. However, humans (gays, everstr8s, lezzies, and bi’s) often seek to make some other fallible human “the other” from which they find meaning.
But notice that this hasn’t much at all to do with one’s pursuit of companionship. The fact of the matter is, I would never be emotionally satisfied with a woman, because women simply do not offer the amazing, comforting companionship that I desire. My boyfriend, on the other hand, satisfies me completely. I love him dearly, and more than anyone else on the planet.
But my sense of completion is not found in him. This I have discovered to be true. And yes, I can admit that I’ve tried to make him “the other” who defines me. I’ve made the mistake of wanting him to be my all in all, instead of our great God. Indeed, the most significant emotional growth I’ve made (and my counselor, Lance, would corroborate this) has been in learning how to relate in a healthy way to my guy . . . in learning how to not place all my needs in his basket, with the expectation that he fulfills them. I’ve had to learn the painful lesson that My Love (i.e., boyfriend) cannot complete me, but he does indeed satisfy me. My heart is full of him, and happy to be so. My salvation and definition, however, is found in Christ.