Thursday, April 8, 2010

God is working with Identity Thieves

God is working with Identity Thieves

Here is a story about how faith is helping me with a performance piece I am working on. "Identity Thieves" is about how I survived the "ex-gay" movement, and the major part of what helped me get through the pain of the religious abuse I had as a result of trying to change my orientation was faith in God.

As an openly gay man recovering from the ex-gay movement, I have my doubts every now and then about the advocacy work I do for the LGBT community. What helps is I take my self-doubt and my inner questionings to God in prayer and I get the reassurance from the Spirit to keep going and to not give up. Another thing that helps me is to remind myself that I spent over ten years believing that being gay was a sin, and years before that trying to be straight. Then I realize that I came out in late Spring of 2006 and it takes a long time to change thinking patterns when I am so used to feeling shame about anything gay related.

For instance, it was sort of like today on a bike ride. It looked like a sunny day and I took off without a jacket and in the second half of my trip, it began to pour down rain so hard, I began to get so cold, exhausted and wondered if I should stop. But if I stopped, I would have gotten more cold so I kept biking through the rain to keep my body temperature up. It helped to listen to some encouraging music I put on my phone's music player and a few prayers later and several city blocks toward home, the rain stopped and the sun came out and began to warm me up. I am glad I just kept going, and enjoying the exercise and the music (like a song I have where Josh Groban sings "don't give up"...) the cold Oregon rain did not seem to bother me. What may seem cheesy really is true about what they say about storms in life. Sometimes dark rain clouds blow away quite quickly! In Oregon, rain clouds can stay for a week or two, but its great to see them blow away in ten or so minutes.

This reminds me of the many times I gave up working on the Identity Thieves project. Early Summer of 2008, I had put down the project for months after a very parlous trip getting footage and feeling like there was no moral support to continue. Then I saw this local show about film makers and something got a hold of me. I took it to prayer and found that I had stepped out of God's plan. With the discouraging pressure of film school, pressures at home and feeling lonely and uninvolved, I gave up working on the very reason that I was going to film school: to raise awareness about the ex-gay movement. The Spirit of God really got a hold of my heart that day and I got inspired to go over the footage and start capturing much of the video from tape to digital files.

That was nearly two years ago, and I have put down and taken up this project several times since then. Last Winter, I decided to work on the project whether I get any moral support from anyone or not, and it looks like my preparation met opportunity and I started getting places to perform. Now, back to my story about April 8th, 2010...

As I got home, I decided to take the rest of the day off. I was pretty exhausted with dealing with stuff about the premiere of the performance piece and some other pressing personal issues. Sometimes, especially with my mental health, I need to be sensitive and know when to back off. After a nap and watching some TV, I lost my remote and thought I would check on my DVD project and try to make it work again. The last few days have been so frustrating getting the second half of my show's multi-media material to work. The disk with the second act video clips was not authoring a DVD because of broken links to picture files. After I fixed the files the program was still not working and I was going to have to do the project over again.

I decided to pray that God would help this project and I opened up the program without changing anything and I was shocked when it started working! I just sat there with my mouth open, stunned; and yet, I do think that I should be amazed when prayers do not get answered. God is so real and can work in our lives every day if we only talk and let God be God. I will explain a little more. The application iDVD was not doing this project even the last few times I opened it and tried burning the disk, I would get error messages every time no matter if I restarted the program and even shut down the computer all night, it would not work the next day. The only thing I did different was to pray, and when I went to burn the DVD, it just worked. Amazing. But there are also a lot of things that have been coming together in ways I can't explain without me even specifically praying for things to work out. Producing a multi-media one-man show requires a lot of work with electronic equipment and musical instruments.

I have been listening to this station called Way-FM and have been encouraged by some of their music. This song in particular stands out, What Faith Can Do By Kutless, where part of the song acknowledges even "silent" prayers. I think a silent prayer reminds me of Psalm 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

"I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do"

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