I was insecure about my "manliness"
Growing up, I was never the “all-boy” little boy.
I never got into any sports, and I hung out with mostly girls. As I stepped into my teenage years, my “lack of manliness” moved from a reality to an insecurity. I saw other guys my age growing into who culture says a man is, and I felt like I fell short.
As I continued through middle school, that insecurity ultimately caused me to doubt my sexuality. I remember having other kids at school ask me if I was gay. Even though I screamed “No, I’m not!” at them, I was struggling with the question in my head constantly.
Pornography is toxic ... but when you’re using it to prove your identity, it hurts even more.
Defending My Sexuality
In the summer of my 8th-grade year, those insecurities all came to clash when I discovered porn on my smart phone.
For so many people around that age, pornography quickly becomes a terrible addiction. But for me, it was more — it’s how I defended my sexuality. “If I like looking at naked girls on this screen, then I must be straight,” I thought.
Pornography is toxic in and of its essence, but when you’re using it to prove your identity, it hurts even more.
I knew I couldn’t hold it together anymore.
A Friend Steps In
While I was hiding all of this in my heart and trying to still portray myself as the confident kid, I sat beside Kendall Weaver in my middle school social studies class. We became immediate friends, and before I knew it, she’d invited me to NewSpring with her family.
The Weaver family fought for me. They drove me to church week after week, paid for my meals, and ultimately, showed me Jesus before I ever called on His name. I continued to go because of how engaging and welcoming I thought it was, and after a few months began to attend Fuse, too.
Every day, Jesus shows me more and more of who He is, and who I am in Him.
On the night of Dec. 5, 2012, I heard a message that caused the insecurities that had controlled my life to come to the surface, and in my mind, I couldn't stop coming back to how empty and broken porn had led me to feel.
Without Jesus, all the things we try to fulfill ourselves with will never truly satisfy, the speaker said.
I knew I couldn’t hold it together anymore. During the invitation at the end of the service to ask Jesus into my life, I knew I had to move. That night I experienced the beauty of salvation, and began a relationship with Jesus!
I no longer question my sexuality.
Found in Jesus
After saying ‘yes’ to following Jesus, my life truly began to change. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit in my heart and with the help of honest community, I was able to walk away from pornography and come to believe that the Lord’s boundaries on love and identity are for my freedom and good.
These changes were monumental in my life, but only the beginning of life with Christ! Being found in Jesus is about so much more than any one moment. Every day, I have a peace that truly goes beyond understanding, a thankfulness that directs my emotions and a purpose that guides my steps.
As a college student, I am studying to serve children and families in a ministry setting, so that others can come to know who Jesus is too. I have had the opportunity to see friends that I love being a relationship with the Lord and serve both inside and outside of the walls of NewSpring.
In my freshman year of high school, I found a church where anyone is welcome, a friend who loved my unconditionally, freedom from shame and addiction, and courage in the midst of identity confusion. But above all, Jesus found me. And when Jesus found me, I found everything.
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