I don’t know about you, but I can get completely tangled up in uncertainty of what’s ahead and what the future might look like. Somehow, I’m guessing you do too.
You may have discovered you’re gay, and you’re terrified of the implications: the reaction of your family, your church, your work. Will you be ostracized? Rejected? Who will love you?
You may be a parent of someone who’s gay, and you’re terrified of the implications: what will people think of you? And your family? What will your child’s future look like? Will they be safe?
But going there does not really help anything, and it does not produce life. That’s what’s become crystal clear to me. To go there only robs me of joy and power for today.
There are no concrete answers.
The past is the past, the future is unknown… all we have is today, now.
- Stop looking with concern to what’s ahead — the future is unknown. And when we focus on it, we miss today. All we have is the now.
- Stop worrying about who will love you and who will reject you. You can’t control that — and most of the time their issue with you is not about you at all. It is something in their own hearts, their own lives, and they are on their own journey. All we can do is love.
- Don’t plan ahead based on fear. It debilitates you from acting on priorities that do need your attention.
Instead, here are some powerful opposites, alternative ways to approach these issues…
- Do what’s on your plate today. Focus on today. This moment. Right now.
- Love others fully and freely. If they don’t love you back, it’s not your issue. Love without hesitation. Love without reservation. Love without condition.
- Look ahead with gratitude and hope. Hand your fears over to God and ask for joy instead! Expect a peace that is deeper than you can even understand – a peace that doesn’t make sense, given your circumstances.
I am trying every day to change my heart to love more fully, more radically, more completely – even in the face of hate.
It is not easy, but it is the right thing to do.
Just know you are not alone on your journey.
Let’s just be here now. Let’s just be.
[To read more from Susan Cottrell, visit www.FreedHearts.org]
SUSAN COTTRELL is a national speaker, teacher, and counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Her books include: Mom, I’m Gay – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith, as well as How Not to Lose Your Teen and The Marriage Renovation. Through her nonprofit organization – FreedHearts.org – Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that “loving God and loving others” are the foundation of the rest of the scripture, just as Jesus said.
She is the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin, and her “Mom, I’m Gay” book has been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign and others. Sharon Groves, PhD, HRC’s Religion & Faith Program Director says, “I often get asked by parents for resources that can address the struggles of raising LGBT sons and daughters without having to leave faith behind. Susan Cottrell’s book, Mom, I’m Gay, does just that. This is the kind of book that parents will love.”
She and her husband have been married more than 25 years and have five children – one of whom is in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at FreedHearts.org and here in IMPACT Magazine’s FreedHearts and Jesus Blog columns.