Something Good- Day 227-229

I went to the park on Friday with a friend. We talked and played games. It was fun to spend time with her and her cute little family.

Yesterday I went to Logan for my niece’s baptism. It was a beautiful ceremony, and she was so happy. Afterwards, my brother took me to dinner with his family. It was a long drive home, but it was so good to see everyone.

I slept so much today. I was exhausted from my trip this weekend and my sister’s cat has been waking me up during the night, which makes it difficult to get enough sleep. My friend was worried about me because my sister could not get in contact with me, so she came to check on me. I was grateful for their concern and glad to wake up for some dinner before heading back to bed.

Something Good- Day 138 & 139

I have been helping my sister start a blog for a religious project. She is editing Jesus into photos to show how He is present in all aspects of our lives. She published her first few posts and has been excited all day to see how many views she is getting and from what countries. You can check out her blog here.

I also had the opportunity to check out a comic someone shared with me about a superhero with autism. It seems like a cool concept, and I would encourage you to check it out here.

Something Good- Day 103

We decided to dress up for church this morning. I have not dressed up for church since they were all closed for social distancing, but I think I might do it more often because it does help get you in the mood for worship. It was nice to study and watch videos about Jesus’s life and resurrection. We were then able to have dinner with our renters and then go out and do some chalk art. We did not stay out long because it was cold, but I finished this one.

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Something Good- Day 12

I have been having a difficult time with church lately. I feel disinterested and distracted and generally just not in the right mindset. Today, though, I was able to pay attention more than normal and get some good insights out of it. I also feel like God is chastening me, but I think I am starting to take some steps in the right direction.

Something Good- Day 4 & 5

I got to bed especially late last night and forgot to do this, so I’m doing both days today.

I went to donate plasma yesterday and was worried that I would not be able to donate because my temperature was too low, but luckily it went back up after a couple minutes. This was especially good because they had a promotion that gave me an extra $15. The money I get from plasma is our food money for the month, so we got to go out to eat because of that extra money yesterday.

Today I watched a movie called “Breakthrough” about a boy that falls through ice and is miraculously saved by the prayers of others. I have been questioning my faith lately. I know that I believe in God, but I am not sure what that extends to in my life or how that looks for me. While this movie did not necessarily strengthen my faith, it did give me reassurance that it is okay to not have all the answers and that eventually things have a way of figuring themselves out.

Impossible

I had this insight at church today about Luke 1:37. One translation says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” I think it is interesting that it says “shall be” because sometimes things are impossible at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they will always be impossible. God can mold and shape us into a new person that can do what was impossible for who we used to be.

I have done things that were once impossible for me, but are now natural and even easy. I asked for help to do these things. I tried over and over, but I had limitations that I could not overcome by myself. But, then, I changed. I became a new person because people saw something in me that I could not see in myself.

We are so often told that God won’t give us more than we can handle or that all things are possible with God, but the process is not explained very often. God makes us so that we can handle things. Sometimes that is through trials, but I think most often it is through other people. People teach us, change us, and stretch us to become more than we once were. And sometimes it is not a good experience. Sometimes it is difficult, painful, and heartbreaking experiences with people that force us to become better.

I think in the end though, we can find reasons to be grateful for all the growth experiences, even the unpleasant ones. The key is allowing yourself to be changed, so that the impossible can become possible.

Sexual Attraction and Religion

There are a few things that I hardly ever speak about or write about because they are simply not culturally acceptable. Sometimes that means they are not acceptable in society at large, and sometimes it means they are not acceptable to my immediate culture surrounding me on a daily basis. Homosexuality, gender dysphoria, and sexual attraction are all things that are not culturally acceptable for me to talk about here, or anywhere else really.

I avoid these topics for a few reasons. One reason is that this blog posts directly to my personal Facebook page. I made the difficult decision to do that a few years ago because I realized how much people don’t talk about the hard stuff, and I wanted them to. I wanted to not feel so alone in what I was feeling. So I decided that if I wanted to see this, I had to start doing it.

I do not know how many of my friends know about my mental illnesses, disorders, or feelings toward gender or sexual attraction. I do not know who will read this today and learn something about me that I never would have told them in person. This puts me in an incredibly vulnerable place, but someone has to do it. Someone has to talk about the hard things to make it easier for others to talk about hard things.

So… Here it goes…

I read a post on Facebook that said sexual feelings are from God so we should not be ashamed of them. Since this was a post on a religious page, someone then asked why churches can discriminate between homosexual feelings and heterosexual feelings if they are all from God. How can we say that homosexual feelings are not from God if we believe heterosexual feelings are from God?

I don’t believe we can. I do not believe that we can honestly say that attraction in any form is unnatural, an abomination, or any other form of condemning language often used in religion to denounce the practice of homosexual behavior. If sexual feelings are from God, you cannot say that the direction of those feelings negates that statement.

However, believing that homosexual feelings are from God does not necessarily mean that acting on those feelings is sanctified by God. God gives us certain desires or tendencies that may or may not be for us to act upon. I have had depression for as long as I can remember. I have had the desire to die for as long as I can remember. I do not believe God wants me to act on this desire. However, I do believe that I should not be ashamed of this desire because it does come naturally to me.

We have a tendency in society, and often even more so among church members, to judge feelings as bad or people as bad for having these feelings. If you express natural feelings that are not common place or considered socially acceptable, you can be shamed, isolated, and abandoned by those around you. I do not think anyone should be ashamed of their sexual feelings. Whether you are attracted to the same sex or the opposite sex, the feelings that come naturally to you are not anything to be ashamed of. Again, that doesn’t mean you should act on these feelings (either heterosexual or homosexual) because there are bounds that have been set. But I believe that we need to break out of the mindset of being ashamed or shaming others for their natural feelings and inclinations.

I do not have sexual feelings naturally. Thinking about kissing or other sexual touching is not something I enjoy, and my body has an adverse reaction to sexuality in any form. Does this mean that my sexual feelings (or lack thereof) are not from God?  I cannot believe that to be true. I believe that God has given me these feelings for a purpose. I do not know that purpose, but I do know that it has helped me to better understand those around me and that it connects me on a more spiritual and emotional level with those around me rather than a sexual or physical level.

Because I feel no sexual attraction towards another person, I am more emotionally attracted to them. I feel the desire to get to know others because I feel their hurt or their goodness or their love or potential. I want to get to know people because I want to connect with them on an emotional level. I want to share their burdens and partake in their capacity to feel joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain. I want to be friends with people because I like knowing and experiencing how others feel.

This makes me a good listener. It makes me more understanding of others. It makes me more compassionate when someone is hurting. It also makes life harder in some ways because I am more emotionally involved with others so the potential for emotional damage to myself increases. And it makes it harder to desire to date or find a companion because most people want a physical connection in romantic relationships rather than just an emotional one. In fact, romantic hardly seems like an appropriate term for me because how much romance is there if there are no sexual feelings?

The point of this though is that I believe we need to stop labeling thoughts as good or bad or people as good or bad for having certain thoughts or feelings. People are often quick to judge someone who does not fit their standard of normalcy. But if you believe that we are all created equal, that we are children of God, and or that God is no respecter of persons, I feel it is a contradiction to condemn another person for feelings that come naturally to them. We need to make discussing natural feelings normal if we ever want to understand how people feel and why they do the things they do.

Grateful for Faith

Sometimes believing in something bigger than yourself isn’t easy. Sometimes it takes everything in you to believe that there is something better than how things are right now. In the desperate times though, faith has been the one thing that I have been able to cling to. Faith is what I am left with when everything else fails or falls away. Faith is my constant. Faith is my core.

I am so grateful for the faith that has guided me through difficult circumstances. I am grateful for the faith that has stayed with me when hope seemed to slip away. Life gets complicated and difficult and even unbearable at times, but that faith that there is something else helps me through the rough times. I may not have anything else left in me, but I am grateful that I can still keep a glimmer of faith no matter what happens.

Sleep on Now- The Loneliness of Depression

I try to keep my religious posts separate from this blog. I do mention faith and some other religious concepts on here, but posts that are specifically about religion are on my other blog. So if you would like to keep up with my journey with depression, check out this post:

Serving a Service Mission

I took a week off of work and stayed with my sister. Depression had gripped me so tightly that I could not breathe. I just wanted the pain to be over. It was good to have this time off, but I didn’t get better. In fact, I might have just realized how bad it really is.

This depression has been so thick, so debilitating, so all-consuming that I have related to how Job felt and how Christ must have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. I don’t really know what they went through. I have no idea. But I believe it took them to their limits, and this depression has taken me to mine.

During this difficult time, I could feel my friends becoming less able to be there for me. I knew I was sliding into a dark place that no one could really understand. But I hoped that…

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