Jenny is a wonderful friend and strong follower of Christ. She shares how her sexual identity was impacted by a seemingly minor situation that occurred during her adolescence. This “hang-up” around body image followed her throughout college. To start at the beginning of her story, click Part 1. Get ready to be encouraged and transformed as Jenny concludes her story.
The turning point in my life took place when I became desperate enough to face my struggles, sins and fears “head-on.” Sharing my story in Christian community allowed me to work through it rather than remain isolated. Since our struggles rarely go away instantaneously, the burden becomes so much more bearable when Christian brothers and sisters share the load. Satan wants to keep us ashamed and withdrawn, for it is in isolation that he can deceive our thinking. Satan loses his power when we acknowledge our fears, embrace repentance and look to the scriptures for God’s powerful truths.
Learning this lesson brought great relief and freedom in my soul. Further, it unlocked how my body image struggle was connected to my fear of female same-sex attraction. The more I was insecure about body image, the more I compared myself to other women. By comparing myself to other women, I was spending time studying their figures and allowing jealousy into my heart and mind. Not only did it cause me to sin in this respect, but this maladaptive pattern of thinking caused me to be insecure about my physical appearance.
The Holy Spirit allowed me to see that the new insights and skills that helped me cope with insecurity and shame around body image could apply to every area of my life. So in my mind I went back to that day long-ago when I first stared at my 7th grade teammate’s blossoming chest. Just as I had done with the body image struggle, I identified the lies; confessed them to my trusted mentor, and replaced the lies with spiritual truths from God’s word.
Some helpful scriptures included James 5:16, 1 John 1:9, and Titus 2:11-14. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
This Titus passage spoke to me that God’s grace is great enough to live a life that honors Him. It makes right-living seem to be more of a process than an instant transformation. It speaks of empowerment to live according to salvation and wait for the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ. However, what was most encouraging and profound to me from this passage is the final verse. Titus 2:15 says to “declare these things, exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” We must rise up into what is true and fight for the truth of what Christ has done for us. It is not passive or weak: we must recognize and declare truth and not settle for anything less than what God has for those who love Him.
Speaking honestly, it was so much easier for me to listen to the lie: “how can you honestly be attracted to men if this is the way you think?” Once I understood how the two sins fed off one another, it brought huge freedom and breakthrough in my life. With regard to my fear of same-sex attraction, I confronted the inner lies but I also repented – I learned to look away rather than fall into the habit of comparing myself to other women. I had to let go of studying their figures. I had to stop feeling a sense of worth through my body image.
The Holy Spirit – the One who searches hearts (Romans 8:26-28) – has helped me to better understand my own heart through a process of life experiences, wise counsel, and the word of God. God helps me wait patiently – and hopefully – for things not yet seen (Romans 8:22-25). For Christ is faithful: He will establish and guard me against the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3). I cannot wait until the day that Christ has made me whole. I now see that He will work through my most difficult life experiences to get me there. To Him be the glory.
Thank you Jenny for sharing your incredibly powerful story here on Lead Them Home. God will comfort, encourage and teach many others through the discoveries you have found in Christ. God bless you.
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