Sunday, October 20, 2013

I'm Not Finished Yet

One year ago I "came out of the closet". For a while I've been thinking about what I could write about in honor of this one year anniversary. This is what I came up with...

This past month, I did my re-shoot for my Voices of Hope video. As I prepped, I had my trepidations. Was I ready? If not, when would I be? Wouldn't it be better to wait until I had a "happy ending" and I was able to film my video alongside a beautiful woman?

As I thought about how nice it would be to doing my video with my wife, I remembered something that Ty told me last year when I met him at my original Voices of Hope shoot in November. I hadn't been sure if said everything that I'd wanted to in my video. Ty mentioned to me that he'd had similar feelings after writing "In Quiet Desperation". When he had written that, he wasn't married. In fact, he still wasn't sure he'd ever get married. Now, years later he is married and he has two kids.

Even just since I came out last year, so much has happened. I filmed my Voices if Hope video in November, I moved to the Foreign Language Student Residence (FLSR) for a semester, I changed my major (again), I went to Journey into Manhood, and I did my re-shoot for my Voices of Hope video last month. I did all these things and I've done more too.

The great thing for me to realize is that there's more to come. I'm not finished yet. I have a lot to look forward to: marriage (whenever that happens), my own family, making more new friends, and learning more and more things in school (I've got 2.5 years left after all).

In fact, how sad would it be if I was "ready" for my video? At least by my former definition of "ready" (married, family, and completely perfect), that would make life kind of boring. I have so much to look forward to right now because I'm not finished yet.

There is always more good to come!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

He Likes to Be Asked

This past week I finished up reading "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew".  So spoiler alert to anyone who hasn't read this (though it's been out for quite a few years now).

I mark up my Narnia books at times when I find a certain part particularly spiritually insightful. This time, the part I marked was during Diggory, Polly, and Fledge's quest to get the apple that would grow into a tree to protect Narnia from the Witch.

Polly, Diggory, and Fledge stop for the night and they realize they didn't have anything to eat for dinner. And this is the exchange that happened:

            “Well I do think someone might have arranged about our meals,” said Diggory.
            “I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him,” said Fledge.
            “Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.
            “I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse (still with his mouth full). “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”

For those familiar with Narnia, you know that Aslan is representative of Christ (and at times of God). Knowing the wisdom and the character of Aslan, I'm sure Fledge was right and Aslan would have known to provide the trio with food. However, I think Fledge was also right in his second comment: Aslan likes to be asked. And I believe God is the same way.

The scriptures say, "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." (Matthew 6:8) And in the Bible Dictionary under prayer it says "The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them."

Sometimes I think that's what I'm doing wrong. I'm not asking for what I need. And accordingly, maybe I'm being too vague. I'm beginning to believe more and more that the more specifically I ask for blessings the more specifically the Lord can bless me (I wonder if there's a quote on that).

I guess the preliminary part to that is to know specifically what I need. It's something I've been working on in my interpersonal relationships already. What do I need from a friend? When I'm upset and I talk to a friend, do I need to release frustration or do I need advice? If I need a listening ear and my friend starts spouting advice, I just get more frustrated. And sometimes it takes a lot of introspection for me to know what I really need.

The same thing applies with God. What do I need from Him? Maybe that's why prayer and meditation often go together. Meditation helps me know what I need and prayer enables me to ask. It takes practice, getting myself to understand and tune in with myself to know what I need. But I can see how it has helped me, so I keep working on it.

I know that as I focus on my prayers and my relationship with my Heavenly Father I tend to be happier; I have bad days but I feel more firm. The more connected I feel to my Heavenly Father, the less I am "carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). When I have that connection, I feel safe and I feel loved, no matter what happens.