“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

-Matthew 7:7-8

Date: March 8th

Insta-Lent Word: Find

One of the most frustrating experiences for me is when I can’t seem to find my keys. This almost always happens whenever I am already running behind or even late for work, church, or some other activity that requires that I show up by a certain time. Already filled stress and anxiety, the process to find my keys is painstaking. I rack my brain trying to follow my steps from the last time I walked in the door. I furiously check through pants pockets, jacket pockets, desks, tables, chairs, under the bed, and inside the freezer. (True story, I had once left my keys inside the freezer.)

Once I have found my keys, a sense of accomplishment and joy registers throughout my being. Success! I can now go about my day and focus on getting to that rehearsal, or church, or work, just a few minutes behind schedule. I am able to move forward and do what I need to do.

In our development as people, I often see a similar pattern in different aspects of our lives. As children we seek to understand this big, complex, crazy world through the wisdom of our parents, endlessly peppering them with “why?” questions. As teenagers, armed with the brand-new capability of abstract thought, we seek to process this new way of feeling and thinking. As young adults, we continue to refine the process from our adolescence to find who we are and what we want to do with our lives. As we mature, we continue to grow into and discover ourselves, sometimes repeating previous steps in order to do so.

Growing up as a gay man who also happened to be Southern Baptist, finding myself–my true, authentic, warts-and-all self–was off the table. For many years I grappled with what it meant to love God but also to have desires and needs for those of my own gender. I abandoned authenticity and instead learned to compartmentalize and present an idealized self that I (and I hoped, others) wanted to be. It affected my relationships with others, with God, and with myself.

Eventually, I dropped out of church altogether and started finding myself as a gay man. And I definitely explored and found a lot. However, there was still a piece of me that missed the community of faith and experience of worship.

It wasn’t until I discovered what progressive Christianity was that I was able to finally break down some of those barriers I placed both between myself and the world and within myself. It was through places like Church of the Village that welcomed me, accepted me, and even celebrated who I was that I was able to reconnect all of the aspects of who I was. And with being able to find my identity in Christ, I was finally able to truly discern and pursue what part of my calling is in this life: to point the way for so many other people who have experienced similar circumstances as me. To embrace authenticity and break down barriers. To be passionate about social justice for all of God’s children.

Living into this part of my calling isn’t easy. Sometimes conversations are uncomfortable or awkward. Sometimes it requires taking a stance that someone feels is unpopular. Sometimes it means taking action, like COTV is planning on doing on Tuesday of Holy Week. But I know that when all is said and done that I’m doing what I have designed to do.

I have found my keys. And now I am ready to take on the world.