Story of Michael Yager
Teen and Campus Leader for SIW
Sacrifice means giving up my life trusting that God will work greater things through me. Living with same-gender attractions has never been an easy thing for me. It had spurred my darkest times, and my greatest moments; my defeats, and my victories; my insecurities and my confidence in God. Through training and discipline in God’s church, my life has changed, and hope has entered my heart. Without Christ, I would still be grasping nothingness in a search for completion. Through Christ, I am complete, and given grace and salvation.
I grew up in a religious household. My parents would take me to church every Sunday and Wednesday, but even early on in my life, I always knew I was different. I remember talking to my friends when I was a young and they stated how they felt some urges when they saw a pretty girl or woman. “That didn’t happen with me,” I would think to myself, “in fact, the opposite.” Of course, letting anyone know I was attracted to the same gender meant ridicule, isolation, hurt, and embarrassment. I didn’t want my friends and family to treat me like that so I protected myself. But as time went on, as the isolation in my heart only deepended, I became my own worst enemy and made a decision to isolate myself.
Eventually I began to accept this identity, that I was "gay." I went to church, but the ministers from the pulpit would say that if anyone was homosexual, they were a burden to society, that they couldnt be a Christian, and that they should quit that lifestyle or face hell. For me, I knew that I had unwanted attractions, unwanted desires, and an unwanted secret in my life. With these feelings and pressures from church, and my own personal fears of who I was, I began to feel unwanted. I desired to love God freely, but I heard and believed that I couldn’t because of who I was internally. I was hurt, lonely, and depressed. I began to see God as someone who wasn’t there for me, who wouldn’t be personal with me, and someone who couldn’t love me because of my attractions.
I grew up without a lot of friends because I thought that no one would want to be around me if they knew who I really was. I rarely talked to others or attempted to make new friends. I was intimidated by the other guys around me that seemed physically and mentally better off than I was. I would shy away from playing sports and felt insecure in a large group of guys my age. My life became a series of attempts to try to fit in with others, but continually failing to do so. I just felt like I didn’t know how. Most of my friendships during this stage in my life were temporary and artificial.
In middle school I had still had some girls that I liked, but in my heart I knew I wanted to have a relationship with another guy. I tried to fulfill my desires through using the Internet inappropriately. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. Throughout my sexual addiction I became further and further away from God, and my heart became calloused. As I entered High School, I met this guy that I was attracted to, and I began to have a sexual relationship with him and his friend. It lasted for a month or so, and it was the most confusing time in my life. I lived in two lives, one being the good kid that went to a Baptist church and the other living in homosexuality.
At that time, I was also dealing with seasonal depression, a period of months in which I would fall deep into depression. With the addition of this, a low-self esteem, and this lifestyle I was living, it lead to the darkest time of my life. To put it gently, I wanted to end my life, in a moment of clarity I did not attempt this. Looking back, I’m terrified at how close I was to not having a meaningful relationship with God. (Note: I have been relieved of my struggles with depression for a few years now, praise God!) After going through this difficult season in my life, I vowed to never act out in any form of homosexual activity with anyone ever again, and have kept that promise.
The Loss of Belief
During the last two years of high school I realized I didn’t really believe in God anymore, I didn’t want to lead a double life, I no longer wanted to live as a “Christian” (or what I thought it was to live like one), and I no longer trusted Christian organizations. I felt I grew in confidence at the end of high school and was ready to go to college to live however I desired.
It was amazing that God was still going after me because the first weekend I was there I was approached by a disciple and he shared his faith with me, even though I wasn’t seeking God any longer. I kept his contact information. I still didn’t trust that God was the way to have a better life, but thankfully God humbled me in the first few weeks of college after trying to live on my own. It had to take a few weeks to see that I needed God in trying to live my life.
A New Hope
I contacted the guy who had invited me to church and started studying the bible to try again in my relationship with God. I never had anyone teach me so directly on how to love God, to see how accepted and how loved I was by Him. I was baptized October 28, 2007, and the journey began.
Since becoming a Christian, I still have had challenging times, but it has been these very same difficulties that have molded me to become the man of God that I am today. While my same-gender attactions have never left, they have diminished somewhat. Though I can’t change what I’m tempted with, I know I can submit my heart and these temptations to God and live a sexually pure life. My identity is no longer in what I am attracted to, but who I am in God. Jesus is now my identity. I’m grateful for whatever challenges I have experienced in my life because I know that they were there to help me mature in Christ. Through darkness there is light, and the hope of a new beginning everyday