Saturday, 15 October 2011
When Prayers are Futile
I close my eyes and I can see myself many years ago, back in a scared vulnerable place. I was 16 years old, it was late at night, and I was alone in bed, my mind disturbed and my heart racing. I lay there in the dark and started to pray, hoping it would be the solution to help me feel better about the turmoil I felt inside.
I lay there and prayed, prayed to God for one thing, and one thing only. Please God, make me normal - make me like the rest of the boys. Make me like girls, make me what I should be, and let me get a girlfriend. Please let me be normal, make me straight - I do not want to be gay.
Being gay was a sin, being gay was wrong, and I was not supposed to be having these feelings about boys. I was not supposed to be looking at boys at school and secretly feeling lust. I did not want to be a sinner, and disappoint my friends, family and especially my Creator.
I was scared and I thought God could help me. I prayed, and prayed and prayed, until I fell asleep from pure exhaustion. I woke the next day and knew that deep down in my soul, nothing had changed... that my prayers went unanswered.
I grew up in a pretty religious family. We went to church every Sunday, we went to Bible Study classes twice a week, and we always attended all church and religious functions. My Mom was incredibly proud of her children who had found God, and especially of her two boys who were the perfect choir boys. Except that I was praying to God every night and day to make me something I was not.
My prayer to be straight and for God to change me become an obsession. I would find myself praying the same thing over and over at all times of the day.
Fast forward a year and I was still praying the same prayer, with even more fervour, determined that God would one day hear my prayer, and that I would wake up different.
But my prayer continued to go unanswered and the pressure and turmoil of what I was feeling inside continued to grow. I continued to feel alone, abnormal and sinful.
I began to become convinced that what I was, was wrong. These gay feelings I had inside were wrong, and that I was disappointing God, and that was why he continued to ignore my prayers.
I began to think about suicide. Seriously began to think that my life was better off dead, and that ending it all would somehow be seen as the right thing in the eyes of the almighty Father. I felt more and more alone in my own world. My parents had issues of their own, my brother was living in another country, and my sister was on her own mission. My friends did not have a clue and there didn't seem anyone else that I felt could help, or would help.
I started to think about how I could end my life quickly and the least painfully. My mind started to become preoccupied with overdosing on medication/pills. I had easy access to them, I had the time and privacy and least of all, started to lose any hope that things would change.
Ultimately my life was dramatically changed and completely turned around the day I came home to find my Mom lying unconscious on the floor, where she had beaten me to the tablets. My thoughts of suicide dissipated immediately in the very scary aftermath of saving a loved ones live and having to deal with the turmoil and stress that follows an event like that.
I pushed my own issues deep down and repressed any hardship or struggles I was feeling about being gay in order to help my family that needed me now, to deal with another crisis.
In retrospect, I thank God that he did not answer my prayer, and that things turned out how they did. My Mom recovered, my family healed, and I got to the point where I awoke one morning to the beautiful realisation that what I was, was perfectly OK. I was gay, and I accepted that I was perfect in my own right.
My prayers changed dramatically and I prayed to God a prayer of thanksgiving every night since, thanking him for ignoring a silly, futile, and incorrect prayer. I thank him for the fact that I did not try follow through with the crazy thoughts I was having about ending it all. I thank him for the fact that I accepted myself for being perfect just the way I was. And I realise that God made me exactly the way he meant to.
Gay, special, and loved.
To anyone reading this, who may be praying the same futile prayer of God changing them from being gay - God will not answer that prayer, just as he did not answer my prayer. Because there is nothing to change and you are EXACTLY the way He meant you to be.
Life won't get easy immediately - and you will probably still have difficulty in your life. But I promise this. As soon as you learn to love the person you see in the mirror when you look at your reflection, that's when your prayers will change, and you will realise that God loves you exactly for who you are.
My prayer tonight is this - Live your life, find your happiness and may God bless you abundantly.