Tuesday, July 6, 2010

3 insights from the life of a young gay Christian...

Hi everyone,

Sorry for being so slack lately in my blogs and updates.

I cannot believe it has now been over 2 years since I 'came out' at church and to all of my family. Since then so many incredible things have happened...life hasn't always been easy but God has given me strength to see each and every day through.

Some insights that I have gained from the last few months:

1. The strength in telling your story.

The bible says in Luke 8:39 "Go home and tell aloud the story of all He has done for you". Stories were a vital form of communication for Jesus. People connected with His stories and with the hope and truth that they provided.

I have found incredible strength in telling my story over the years. Every time I tell my story I feel more and more liberated and a new sense of freedom emerges. I am amazed at God's grace in taking me to this position I am in now. I have a platform to reach people with the hope found in Christ and the reality that sexual orientation and Christianity can be reconciled.

In late July this year I was offered an opportunity to take up a casual position with an organisation called Family Planning NSW. With this organisation I will speak to hundreds of high school students about homophobia. I will share my story, engage and communicate with the students and hopefully play a part in making high schools safer for gay and lesbian young people.

2. Boyfriends aren't flawless but God is!
In the last year I had a tough break-up with my partner of over 1 year, Rob. This was such a challenge for me to see this relationship end. Rob was my first boyfriend and the guy that I thought I would spend my life with. After many relationship difficulties, including his move down to Melbourne for work, we decided to end the relationship.

When the relationship ended, my depression only became worse and my relationship with God started to shake and I started to doubt myself again. I seemed to turn to psychologists, friends, family, alcohol but no matter what I did, nothing seemed to take away the sadness. It was in this moment that I realised that amongst all this craziness, I had forgotten to turn to the only one who is able to heal, restore and give me strength - Jesus.

When I turned away from myself and focused on God, I realised that I should not worry about the future. If God is who He says he is then I know that He holds my future in his hands. And as it says in Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, Plans to give you a hope and a future".

3. Never underestimate the combined power of a bunch of young people passionate about seeing God move in their community and bring hope to the hopeless.
In September 2009, I took over the position as Youth Coordinator for Freedom 2 b[e]. It was a tough challenge but it was an opportunity to provide hope, guidance and to put smiles back on the faces of LGBT youth, many who had been through incredibly tough times.

Since September 2009, we have seen Freedom 2 b[e] Youth grow to up to around 40 people attending each event here in Sydney, with many more joining our online forums, and making a positive difference in churches and the gay community.

I am constantly amazed at the goodness of our God and the passion he puts into the hearts of the Youth in Freedom 2 b[e]. I hope and pray that God continues to bless this important ministry so that all the pain and hard times that many gay Christians have gone through may be no longer.

Each and every suicide committed by a young gay person is one too many!! We can all play a part in showing people everywhere that they matter and that God loves them so much. Sometimes that's all it takes to turn a person's life around. God's word is not only for certain types of people....it is for EVERYONE!!

I have loved writing to you all and I am constantly humbled by the comments you leave me. You have given me strength , just like I hope I have done the same for many of you.

Much love,


Anthony Venn-Brown said...

good insights Ben. Life is all about learning. Sometimes learning the hard way.... sometimes learning from our mistakes and misjudgement. It's a journey we are all on. No one is perfect, we are all human but we strive to not be limited by our humanity and occasionally reflect the divine.

Jacob Woods said...

I am glad that things shaped up for you over time. I will have to pop into the forums some more and see how everything is going there. I think it is great that you are able to speak in front of that many people. I almost decided to do that in front of my high school but I chickened out because the high school I was at was very conservative and sensitive to anything out of the norm. It would of been like acid rain on a grandmothers flower garden. So I bolted the idea.

alyssa02 said...

Wow.. I'm amazed I found this.
I've struggled with my sexuality, and my relationship with God my whole life. I know many people can relate the tears, pain, fear of going against God, asking him to 'fix' me - but slowly he is changing my heart and my mind to know that he loves me just as I am, and that my sexuality is not something that needs to be fixed.
thank you for being you, Ben! wishing you all the best in life... we truly worship a GREAT God.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks.... all these posts, from Ben and everyone, press buttons for me. I am 69 now. Can't go into all the details of early life now, it would take too long.... but I was a Christian for many years, beginning in the "high" Anglican Church, then mixed with the interdenominational Christians and became what I believed was Born Again. I knew nothing about sex, period. I had played with a couple of young guys at the age of 15. Good fun, but I wanted more of it! lol. Couldn't get it because I was eaten up with guilt... which I sort of got from the church people around me. So, I left the church. That was one thing I could change, the gay bit I could not!
I now have a profound understanding and love for the beautiful world which this Creator has put me into for a Lifetime. I have never had sex with a woman, to have done so would have been a total lie to her and to myself.
It has been and still is sometimes, a lonely struggle. But it is worth it, because life has given me unique experiences which I could not have gotten any other way.
I honour and respect any person's faith and devotion to his/her belief. I simply ask for the same respect and honour back.
Love you all.

Michael said...

This is a great blog, really feel encouraged to keep going.

Ben Gresham said...

Hi Michael and Alyssa,

I am so glad that you feel encouraged. Please feel free to send me an email or find me on facebook or twitter if you have any questions. We worship an amazing God!!