Front-End Surrender is a term I use to describe the process by which LGBT+ young adults sever childhood ties in order to embrace their adult self. I call it “Front-End” because it is the beginning of an adult journey; and “Surrender” because they cease to struggle any longer with confusion or conflict over who is in charge of their life. They surrender to an inner cry for liberation. Compared to a spiritual surrender that involves giving oneself over to God, this kind of surrender represents a giving over – or giving up – to the self.
While this is part of life for all of us, it can be particularly difficult for LGBT+ young adults. Watching their peers seemingly breeze through this stage, they often get delayed – especially when they have not fully dealt with their sexuality. Even if they have come out, it can still be difficult (particularly in religious families) as parents and other authority figures vie to keep them from crossing certain lines.
Unfortunately, this collision of emerging adulthood and sexuality can produce explosive emotions as LGBT+ young adults attempt to gain their independence. Sometimes, people outside core circles of influence enter the fray with unsolicited advice – or worse, judgment. If you have ever wondered why some LGBT+ young adults seem angry and defensive, it is because they have to contend with so many external pressures.
Many view this stage as a rebellious one, but I see it as a critical part of spiritual development. In the case of LGBT+ young adults, this is the stage where evangelical parents and church leaders often mess up; we moralize, minimize and push them away from us. For those desiring an effective relationship with LGBT+ young adults at this stage, join me throughout this series.
POST NOTE: If you are LGBT+ – or experience SSA – and find yourself at the stage of Front-End Surrender, how do you maintain healthy and effective relationships with parents, pastors and other authority figures? In a future post, I will make a list of things you can do to minimize your frustration, discomfort and anger. You cannot entirely escape these normal emotions, but you can control the temptation to act out on them – if you have good support. You are welcome to contact me if you are struggling through this stage. My ministry is committed to reflect Christ’s love for you; right where you are. God bless you.