Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Spirit-Filled Life

Just so you know, I'm in Central America right now. My student teaching in North Carolina is over and I'm currently with a group of education majors teaching English in a small town on the coast of Belize. It's an amazing experience, and I hope to take you guys along with me while I go through it.

My first early morning in Belize has been a good one. I'm still getting used to the air here, and the easy way of life. I'm finding early mornings are very peaceful, and I am using them for Bible study, writing, and my journal, and other things like that.

I read Galatians 5 today and it talks about the fruit of the Spirit, and that the Spirit and sinful nature desire opposite things. There is no envy or selfish ambition in the Spirit, it says, which is a good reminder for me to focus less on my own comfort.

I do get very preoccupied with my own life. I mean, I blog, correct? But even more than that, I have a lot of goals and I work to achieve them. I worked my butt off in college and it helped me get into Johns Hopkins, one of the best graduate writing programs in the country.

While I'm there, I intend to continue working my butt off so I don't get into debt. Living in Baltimore could very well be expensive, but I'll live in a closet and work two jobs if I have to. I want to make sure that I don't get into debt because I want to be financially stable as possible.

And anyone who knows me knows that I don't want money so I can spend it. I want to have enough money not so I can have a fancy house or car or clothes, but so I can adopt a child as a single dad one day. On a teacher's salary, I know that I will need to start saving now, and pretty much all my short-term goals and sacrifices feed into that long-term one.

Is that selfish ambition? I haven't quite figured that out. I have a strong desire to be a father, and also a strong desire to be single. I know that I should be happy in whatever situation, because peace is found in the Lord. However, does that mean that I shouldn't work towards my goals?

Some of my goals have selfish motivations. I know this. I have a very strong defiant streak in me. I'm strong-willed and tunnel-visioned, and I realize this about myself. If someone doubts me, it pushes me forward in pretty incredible ways. It's worked well for me so far, giving me a 3.9 GPA in college and helping me get involved and succeed in many clubs, organizations, and jobs over the years.

If a non-Christian doubts my ability to remain celibate and happy, or an ex-gay doubts my ability to remain gay and also pure (since I'm not actively trying to change my orientation), then both of them simply motivate me to prove them both wrong, and my narrow focus will exhaust itself until I'm proven right. I've known a few ex-gays who have doubted me in the past who are now openly gay or are no longer Christians at all, and I'll admit that this vile, stubborn streak in me does experience satisfaction when those who have doubted me fall. That's when I know I've gone too far, and I know I need help and prayer to not do good works for absolutely wrong reasons such as this.

I do have right reasons for my goals. I want to be a writer because I want to entertain and inspire people, not because I want fame. I want a child not to prove that I'm just as happy and just as good of a father as the married dads, but to give a child a home and raise him or her in the Lord. I want to be a happy and assured single man in order to help minister to those who struggle with homosexuality, and to show them that even if they don't succeed at changing their sexual orientation or getting married, God is still with them and life is still amazing and worth living. My selfish or spiteful motivations can also be good and holy ones.

Trying to live out my life so that my heart does the will of the Spirit is difficult, and I pray that others support me so that I work towards my goals with God, not anger or spite, in mind. Advice or concerns would be welcome here. However, I am in Belize, so the connection is spotty at best and it will probably take awhile for comments to go through. Also, I have another blog to record my travels. Keep in mind that my family, students, and friends read that blog, so if you comment, don't mention "gay stuff," because I am not "out" to everyone, especially not my students. The address is here. God bless, and I look forward to your thoughts on this.

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