In this journey, I have the honor of meeting others escaping various forms of toxic ideology/theology to become the truly beautiful people they really are. When someone honors me with sharing their story, it is another treasure to add to my chest full of good moments, laughter, tears, inspiration, lessons learned, wisdom and overall joy. Even folks I really didn’t get along with at first, they *always* surprise me with the miracle of their journey if I choose empathy instead of judgement. People are amazing and for someone to really share their lives with you, that’s a gift.

There is one refrain that I hear a lot as people usually begin their journey toward wholeness that causes concern; “I am too gay for Christians and too Christian for gays.” I always am tempted to say, “I understand, but you do know you aren’t that terminally unique… right?” Nobody is Christian enough for some Christians; or the right kind of “gay” for some LGBT+ folks. People who judge based on some performance standard (looks, beliefs, actions, political dogma, religious ideology… etc.) exist in every community and is *very* widespread across all flavors of that community. You aren’t alone and I can pretty much bet everyone has felt some version of that sentiment in some way.

My goal is to be a healthy manifestation of my authentic self as a default. My faith is very important to me and informs my beliefs and thoughts; some of which are conservative, some of which are not, and others of which I have no classification for and don’t need one. Plus, it’s ok to not know or have an opinion about everything. What’s important is knowing my strengths, gifts, talents, and passions. Plus, it’s incredibly important to also humbly accept what I am not good at and where I struggle with being a good and honestly gracious person.

The other part of this was to realize that no one, not a single person is inferior or superior to anyone else. No one gets to declare a standard of you for you; and we don’t get to set the standard for anyone else.

The keyword there is *anyone*… not even the people who trip our righteous indignation trigger.

Those that place themselves as inferior or superior to others are often co-dependent or emotionally dependent and hurt people. They get easily drawn into a battle of wills emanating from the tumult of a false projection instead of the inner peace of self-acceptance and empathy.

Positive self-acceptance and empathy for others creates healthy inter-dependency, and if necessary, healthy boundaries.

So you know that ::: insert volatile descriptor here ::: that said you weren’t such and such enough? Just assume the best possible because that person’s life is a treasure. It might be hidden to our understanding, but it is there. Their life story is one to honor by not returning negative energy. We don’t know their heart of hearts and aren’t superior to them. And because we aren’t inferior either, we don’t have to put up with or stick around for abuse. That volatile descriptor above may be completely accurate, but I don’t do anyone any favors by reacting in kind or assuming the worst.

Returning grace instead of anger, peaceful release instead of clinging to bitterness, helps me be the kind of person I truly am and want to be.

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