Oftentimes, I have observed in my life a desire and even a prolonged need to have my SSA ordered in a certain way, to make sure that every little thing is properly in place and every little corner is safely tucked away, out of sight and out of mind. Yes, I mean that I repressed and even ignored those feelings of attraction at times. I have learned that in my moments of greatest distress, the Savior is my Friend, Healer, and one who orders my life the way it is supposed to be. I may not desire it, but I know it happens in the best way possible, for in surrendering my will to the will of God I have discovered that He knows better than I.
Same-sex attraction, however, has an unusual pull in my life towards a desire for orderly thoughts, behavior, feelings, and so on at all times. But as I have moved forward with acceptance, compassion, and patience towards others and myself, I have learned that life does not necessarily go how my thoughts organize it, but rather as God's thoughts organize it through my actions, as I submit to Him. However, I must say that cleanliness, however small, seems to bring a certain amount of peace to those who struggle with SSA because it is something we can control. I have merely observed this; some people do not feel this way. By personal experience and viewing that of others, I have seen it quite frequently, however. The first question I see then is which kind of cleanliness takes highest priority (or should)? From my point of view, several types of cleanliness exist, including emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical. Each plays their own individual role in having SSA, and I feel it necessary to address them in a two-part post. For now, let's address the first two.
"Emotional cleanliness" may seem like an odd term, but if you think about it the phrase starts to make sense. When a person, in opposite view, does not balance out their emotions, the organization of their life falls apart to some degree. Many people with SSA deal with mental illness, codependency, weaknesses of melodramatic, clingy, and needy behavior, and more. These reflect that disorganization and sometimes pure chaos that comes as emotional balance decreases. As such, I have often found that taking time for myself centers me in the moment, and alleviates my stress, anxiety, or other negative feelings I have. In addition, being simplistic while planning out life also maintains healthy levels of self-confidence, productivity, and love in my life. It just makes life easier, in my opinion. Also, I strongly believe in the power of writing and expressing gratitude in every situation, no matter how difficult. If you find gratitude in hard situations, they come out of disguise and you see the Lord reaching down from heaven and blessing you through something difficult. Increasing gratitude more and more daily attracts more blessings into my life, I have seen. If you desire emotional cleanliness, I would recommend harnessing the power of gratitude.
Spiritual cleanliness, though something often taught about in church, is not really taught from the viewpoint of SSA. One has to interpret it through the Spirit to obtain that blessing, which is fine. I would like to simply lay it down, though. Though it comes at great personal sacrifice, I refrain from immoral, unclean, and otherwise impure activities, thoughts, feelings, speech, and so on. This includes seeking out same-sex relationships through courtship/dating, being in a same-sex relationship, acting out sexually in any form, passionate kissing, and indeed anything that includes even the slightest traces of lust. As I have done this, I have discovered far more true, lasting joy than when I have pursued the world's path of immoral and unrighteous behavior. If you wish to be spiritually clean, then I urge you to follow the words of the prophets and apostles. They speak for our Heavenly Father. Remember that above all, you are a child of God and spiritual cleanliness will bring blessings, even if they are not apparent yet. Blessings result from obedience because they change us into somebody more celestial in nature. More to come soon...