It's amazing to me how so much time can pass and suddenly you're taken off guard when the enemy throws a gut punch your way. The punch he throws can take on several forms. It could be the smell of perfume/cologne, the scent of a candle, the building you haven't seen since you lived in the LGBT lifestyle, a certain movie, or a face in the crowd that looks eerily similar to one you knew so well in your past. It's not seeing, smelling, or hearing these objects/places that brings the ache, it's the memories associated with them. When you walk away from the LGBTQ+ community to follow and pursue a faith that you choose to believe with your whole heart, it is the most freeing experience. You choose to believe that Jesus is who He says He is and that He truly laid down His life for you and I. You choose to believe that He not only laid down His life, but three days later His life was resurrected as He defeated death and the grave. When I chose to pick up my cross and follow after Christ it was a liberating experience, but in the same breath, it was the hardest season of my life to walk through. I had to retrain my thinking, lay down addiction to substances that I picked up while living in the lifestyle, work on restoring my marriage (if you want to read my testimony, click here), find healing while working through trauma, and cut off relationships with people that I truly loved and cared about. It was the loving conviction of the Holy Spirit that lead me to repentance and it was the Holy Spirit that was continually guiding me as I turned my affections away from same sex attraction and onto Him. Many people believe freedom from the homosexual lifestyle is seen in the fruit of no longer facing temptations associated with being in the LGBT community. For some, God has completely wiped away all desires the moment they came to the Lord with a heart of repentance. I thank God for that miraculous work in the heart of His people! It is truly amazing to hear stories of such powerful encounters with the one true God! Personally, that wasn't my experience and that is okay! If that wasn't your experience, it is okay! Somewhere along the lines of Church and Christianity, we have started to believe that temptation has become sin itself and that's simply not true. Jesus Himself was tempted three times by the enemy, yet He was perfect and blameless, He was without sin. If Jesus was tempted, than we will certainly be tempted as well.
We can't allow the temptations we face to bring us to a place of condemnation. When I face a temptation, whether it deals with same sex attraction or not, I look at it as an invitation to not enter into SIN, but to enter into DEEPER relationship with the Father. I can't overcome the temptation on my own, but I can overcome it by the name of Jesus and the power in that name. I can overcome every emotion and feeling that tries to lure me back into past sin by reading God's Word and speaking that Word over my life. When Jesus was tempted three different times by the enemy, He used the Word of God to strengthen His position and to overcome the temptation at hand. It is God's Truth that will shine a light exposing the schemes of the enemy and it's His Truth that will strengthen our footing and encourage us to keep marching forward in His calling. We can allow the enemy to drag us down with temptation by giving into those temptations and turning them into sin or by allowing the shame, guilt, and condemnation to eat us alive. We need to flip the script on Satan and look at temptations as a chance to discover more of who we are in light of the Father.
The ache of nostalgia still applies even if the season of life associated with the nostalgia wasn't one of God's Holiness. Although I have been free for a few years, I still face temptation from time to time. It is rare, but occasionally I will see, smell, or hear something that brings an ache of nostalgia for a lifestyle I once lived. When I smell a mixture of trash, car pollution, and food carts with the perfect blend of heat and humidity, it feels like I am right back in New York City (I'm not joking, if you're from NYC you know what I mean). When I walk into someone's home and smell the hazelnut candle that's burning, I'm reminded of a past relationship. It's little instances like these where I find myself surprised by feeling a longing of sorts. I imagine it's the enemies way of trying to "prick" my ear and lean into him. However, the more I grow in relationship with our heavenly Father and I remember all that He has brought me through and will continue to lead me through, I push past the nostalgic moment and lean into His presence. Any time I encounter moments like these, I inform my husband and we lean into God together. Surrounding yourself with trusted accountability is so important regardless of how far removed you are from walking away from the lifestyle. When you go through trying times or face temptations, take it to trusted friends who will encourage and pray with you! Don't go through the battle alone when you can have an army standing in the gap for you. With an army of believers and the presence of God leading the way, there is nothing that you can't overcome!
The presence of God will transform your life if you are willing to walk through the fire. If you believe that you can't overcome, then you won't. If you choose to believe that some of the scriptures don't apply to you because it seems impossible to change who you are, then you won't change nor will you ever grow in a faith that requires us to believe in the entirety of His Truth. God can change your circumstance and situation if you challenge your faith to believe what your mind can't comprehend or struggles to accept. I believed in a lie that told me I would never overcome my same sex desires. That lie almost took my life, but by the grace of God it didn't and He saved me! He can do the same for you if you only trust Him! Remember, we may have to walk through the Fire but His Word says that we will not be burned!
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." Isaiah 43:2
Temptations will come, but strengthen your stance and face it head on with God's Word. His Word can penetrate the hearts of His people and can make the enemy run scared. The name above all names is the one we live for and the power in His name can move the mountain that you speak to! Jesus will bring you through temptation after temptation. You must only believe and call on His name.