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s time has passed and as I have spent time assisting people in furthering their walk with Jesus it is my firm belief the majority of difficulties people experience regarding sexuality and sexual orientation really have nothing to do with these issues.
Rather, I believe they instead wrestle with self-love, self-image, self-acceptance, self-actualization and self-esteem. When these truer issues are addressed in Jesus Christ then the sexuality and sexual orientation will naturally and without effort fall into place and its proper holy expression.
Since so much of life development concerns sexuality and relationships, the gay adult is often unable to develop as easily as the heterosexual.
ormal human development follows this basic pattern:
EARLY SPRING - Childhood and Adolescence
Discussed already, this is the stage in life where you begin to develop or formulate a unique personality, with interests, talents, gifts and callings different than your family, parents, peers, or even the general culture or society. This is the time when a youth begins to date, make and break and remake social relationships, friendships, and loves. It is a time when the youth desires to be autonomous, but may yet lack the abilities, emotional and social skills to do so, creating inner and outer conflict and confrontation. This is a time when youth often rebel against the standard, against representatives of authority, as they search for self-autonomy. This is also a time of self-discovery, physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially, and can be filled one minute with great joy and the next with great embarrassment, fear, hesitation or disappointment. There can be wild mood and style swings, as the youth tests the waters, tries to learn sets of ethics, values, desires and needs unique.
LATE SPRING - Beginnings (age 20-29)
The stage of life where you begin to act upon your new independence, your newfound beliefs, the development of career and place in society and culture. Often a time of furthering schooling or trade development. It can be a time of regrouping, when the expression of personality needs some fine-tuning or readjustments of expression, or the learning that things perceived of value or importance are not as significant. It can be a time of extension from adolescence in experimentation and testing of new waters, but with a more mature taste, and with a desire for more lasting significance. Circumstances, talents, abilities and education contribute to the forming of career choices, which may be set for life. This is also often the time when dates turn more serious, relationships clarify, and marriage or commitments form.
EARLY SUMMER - Formation (age 30-39)
The stage of life where you begin to nest, create your home life, develop and deepen your relationships, career, goals and objectives. Careers have stabilized, and time begins to be devoted more to home life. The development of family, whether created or generated by birth, may begin in the 20s, but it is furthered and solidified in this period. Social development, participation and acceptance in society is formalized and acted upon, taking a more active part in community affairs. Activities are divided between home and career, and the balance between them can cause stress, as well as feelings of personal accomplishment, reward, as well as disappointment and failure. Interaction with other people of similar career, lifestyles, values and interests may develop, and lasting lifelong friendships formed. This may be a time when you first say goodbye to your oldest members of your family, your grandparents, etc.
LATE SUMMER - Review (age 40-49)
Sometimes mistakenly called "Mid-Life Crisis," this stage is actually normal for both men and women. It is a time to review where you've been and where you're going, and make adjustments as necessary to stay on track, recover lost ground, or return to the main path after discovering you've deviated from your original intent. Sometimes it seems the person is going through a "second childhood." This is sometimes the time when divorces occur, job upheavals, sudden career moves, or even relocating to another city or location occur. Everything is up for review, and it can turn into a time of deep introspection. It can end positively, or sometimes negatively, depending on the person's inner sense of self-worth and value.
FALL - Maturing (age 50-65)
Setting into place your life for its final years. You group and hold on to those things that you believe of value and begin to let go of those things which are not worth the effort. You begin to plan for your twilight years, wrap up your career, and begin to develop some hobbies or interest you've long neglected. You begin to get a little more set in your ways or views, less flexible to new people, new ideas, or new interests. Your tastes and values can sometimes become both more refined and more simple and pure. If there was a great upheaval in your 40s, this may prove to be a time of rebuilding, starting over again, but you've already done that in life and can do so again with more ease. This is also a time when you begin to say goodbye to older members of your family, your parents, etc.
WINTER - Sharing and Mentoring (age 65-100+)
You desire to share what you have learned and experienced with others, family, friends, or younger people you value. You desire to leave after you are gone some betterment in others or the world, have some place of remembrance. People often do volunteer work during this time, both because of more free time and a desire to help and share. You also will find a desire again to explore new things, interest in family and friends, and begin to see people as more valuable than things. You also slowly say good-byes to people you know and Love, and prepare for your own departure.
f course, none of these stages are set in stone. You and I both know of people who are mature for their young age, or who though old act like they are teenagers. You can be mature beyond your years, and you can be a silly old fool, too. But, generally this patter holds true of most people.
And then there's the gay adult...
Since so much of life development concerns sexuality and relationships, the gay adult is often unable to develop as easily as the heterosexual. Unlike your straight friends, as a gay youth you might not have been able to date and form "steady loves," or take someone of the same sex to the prom. You might not of been able to find any place to meet other gays or lesbians while in college, which is where a lot of straight people meet their future mates. You may not of been able to develop a home life like your straight friends, since you falsely believe you can't ever have children or "gay relationships don't work." You might not feel comfortable in the social structures in your neighborhood, community or work, catering to the straight culture or rigid in gender stereotypes. You might be afraid to be open and friendly at the office, for fear they will learn of your sexual orientation and reject you, or even fire you (though this isn't that common anymore). On and on, you get the idea.
So, as an adult you are filled with feelings like a teenager, a desire to date, and then a desire to settle down, then a need to review what you're doing, regroup and try to understand and figure yourself out all over again. Is it any wonder we see many gay people who are 40 years old but act like they're 14 years old?
Here's a common pattern. A guy goes to the bars, meets someone and instantly falls in Love. A month or two later or sometimes even a few days later, they move in together. A month or two passes, or sometimes just a few days, and they get into a fight or argument, or he decides he doesn't love the guy anymore, and they split up and he move out. He vows to never get involved with anyone again, supposedly suicidal, but the next weekend he's at the bars again. He sees someone new, instantly falls in love and the pattern repeats. What he is doing is acting like an adolescent or 20 year old one minute (dating), then like he's in his 30s and wanting to settle down (nesting). Then he's acting like he's 40 (reevaluating), and then he's back to being an adolescent again (dating).
He will continue to repeat these cycles until he finally grows up, in and through them, until he reaches his "real development age." He has yet to even complete the first level or phase of adolescence. He doesn't know who he is, what he wants, what he needs, what he wants to do in life, let alone in relationships. Is it any wonder then why he is so dysfunctional in his relationships and life in general? Not having developed his own set of goals and objectives, his own needs and personality separate from others, not needing anymore other people's approval but finding in himself his own sense of worth, he confuses sex with acceptance and love, confuses sex with relationship. Further, not having ever come to terms with his home life as a child, his lack of love and acceptance from his parents, he subconsciously involves himself with men who will reject. The other person will find fault either in him or he in that person, and repeat the cycle of rejection he knew from his parents.
If you, as a gay adult, come out to self and others when you are in your 30s, for example, you may find yourself experiencing life again as an adolescent one minute and as a mentoring 50 year old the next. If you come out openly as a gay man or woman when you are 45 years old, for example, you may find yourself dating for the first time in your life, or dating someone of the same sex for the first time. You may find yourself falling in love and not knowing if its right or not, or if it's the right person. You may find yourself creating and developing your own extended family and new friends. You may have to evaluate where you are in your life, and make whatever necessary changes you need to make to be yourself totally and completely. If you come out openly as a gay woman at the age of 22, for example, this may be the first time you've discovered you have feelings for someone of the same sex, and don't know where to meet other people to date or even make friends. You may discover at the age of 36 you are gay, but are married and with three small children and a wife you Love.
All of these life stages are fluid, you can go through them many times in life, repeat them, go forwards or backwards. What is not good is to go through them in an unhealthy way or for reasons unnecessary. What is not good is to get stuck in one and not flow to the others, or to avoid some of them completely. Sometimes life deals you a blow when you are in your 20s and you have to regroup and reevaluate as if you were in your 40s. Sometimes, when you are in your 30s, life forces you to find maturity beyond your years to face a crisis or situation of life importance. Sometimes when you are in your 60s life gives you an opportunity you didn't have early in life and you begin to grow again like the onset of a sudden early spring.
Everything has its season, a time to plant and a time to harvest, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to laugh and a time to morn... you know the rest. But, the key is "in its season." We all have seasons, and we are to walk in them to the fullest under the guidance of our Loving God. God doesn't want us to be out of balance, or repeat in endless negative cycles. That is not Love. God wants you whole. That is Love.
See Also: My Autobiography.
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