One year ago today was one of the most adrenaline filled/stressed-out days of my life. I knew that Alan Chambers was going to announce that we were closing Exodus that June 19th night. It was an incredible moment. One I will not forget. I am very proud of, and love, Alan for his intellect, bravery, and compassion.
I was the guy to hit publish on the press release and distributed it online while Alan was speaking. Definitely a personally catalytic moment in time.
Today I am not writing this to re-argue about the rightness of our decision. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was the correct decision to make. I am confident the Lord had orchestrated the entire situation; that He lead the staff, Alan, and the Board to that conclusion. I have a peace in my heart and simply know it was the right decision. I remain convinced it was for the best on many levels. I also stopped trying to convince others who disagree to agree with me. It is what it is. I’ve moved on and I hope others will too.
Last August 23rd I was laid off from Exodus as a part of the shutting down process. It was weird to not go into the office, and Exodus not filling up some part of my life. While in the ex-gay movement I often taught a personal mantra, “Life is SO much more than this one issue!” I always knew that I could have a life outside of the ex-gay world/ministry. I was there because I was a true believer, and had been helped in many ways. But, I also had the hope that I did not need to be within the Exodus world (or anything similar to it) to feel complete or get my needs met.
Last fall, the void of not having Exodus in my life was larger than I expected or care to admit. It had been far more a part of my identity than I realized. All of a sudden years of adrenaline filled drama and long term friendships came to a crescendo and then… pure silence. It was in that quieter space that I discovered a deep anger/grief/humbling repentance over various personal events of the past few years. There was also anger/grief/repentance on various broad issues over the past 21 years in the ex-gay movement. I had said that life was so much more than this issue, and yet in reality my life was centered around this one issue. It’s hard to explain and I hope it makes sense.
Last fall = rough on a personal emotional level.
However, over the holidays I entered into a deeper and new season of creativity. The Lord unearthed a core self-confidence (centered in Him, His Grace) that not only filled the void, but is overflowing with gratitude for what He is doing. He has reminded me of many great memories and lessons learned from my time within Exodus as well.
Now, I do online content and social media management for a few clients. I am helping to do research for a couple of others. I also just completed some content editing for a friend’s memoir (that has nothing to do with homosexuality 🙂 …yay :)). Add to the mix my faves of writing, painting, drawing … I am genuinely joyful about life. I am also joyful about what our Heavenly Father is doing in the lives around me. I love and appreciate my friends so much! I still have broody moments of course :)… but overall, life is good.
Today, I am a different man than I was a year ago. The core of who I am hasn’t changed but my approach to life is radically different. I still have many friends from that time who also moved on or are involved in new efforts. Even so, I rarely think about the hot topics of a year ago.
Today I can say that I know a level of true freedom that I had longed for in the ex-gay movement … a life without the need for it.
Indeed, there is so much more to life than this one issue. Let’s walk into it together.