Long-held beliefs are sometimes tossed to the side. The words that confused you suddenly make sense, and the rules that once defined the world become scrambled in a giant shuffle of the deck of cards we call life.
In the beginning, the rules are translucent. "Let the sun shine in." "Jesus loves me, this I know." "Honey, you can tell me anything." . . . "I will love you.".
The path is laid out for us. Fear God. Love Jesus. Love God. Follow Jesus. Do not kill. Help those in need. Pray for forgiveness.
"Honey, you can tell me anything." As long as it fits in this box. The box can not be changed. Everyone, who does not fit in the box, is doomed. Pray for forgiveness.
Funny thing about the box. It tells you to seek forgiveness. It tells you what to do, and what not to do. It tells you who to be. Follow the rules.
If you are a good Christian, you follow all the rules. There are two law books. One is very old, and the other is also very old, but not quite so much. In the newer law book, there are two rules. Love God. Love your neighbor.
It turns out that Christianity is not so much about what you believe, as it is about what you do. Gratitude is something that you do. Love is a way to live. Christianity is about living your life, as best you can, according to the words and the example of Jesus. Jesus, the man.
Is Jesus the risen Christ? I believe so. Do you have to believe in Jesus to go to heaven? I do not believe so. There are many men, and women, who have lived amazing lives. All God wants from us is to do the best that we can. Love God. Love others.
Unconditional love. This is the example. This is the rule. Love your neighbor as yourself. I always thought that meant that I should love my neighbor, as I wanted to be loved. Today I believe that it means to love my neighbor, as God loves me. I am not particularly good at that. I think that I am getting better. God loves me unconditionally.
I was asked, "Why did God make you a man, if He wanted you to be a woman?" God did not make me a man. God made me a woman, and put me into a male body. Why? I don't know why. She didn't tell me. Neither did God ask my opinion, or my permission.
You see, I don't know if God is male, or female. Gender is a human limitation. I do not believe that God is subject to physical limitations? I don't know why God made me transgender. I do know that when I tried to live as a man, I was in conflict with myself, and with God. Now, God and I are working together to do something with me. I don't know what that is. I don't know why. I don't need to know.
When I denied myself the right and responsibility to be the person that God created, I was denying God. It is something like asking God to help me while I was using both hands to push God away. I turned my hands around. The mask fell off. The costume vanished. The demons died. The soul began to become translucent. And the sun was finally able to shine in.
Why was I not able to leave the box? I listened to you. I listened to me. I listened to fear. I listened to everything but God. I chose to live in the dark. It turns out that I was only alone because I chose to live in the dark. My secrets, and my shame, produced layer after layer of light denying lies.
So why did I leave the box? I had to. Life had become so intolerable that I just had to. The layers and lies began to fall away. Doubt turned into faith. Fear continued to be fear, but the paralyzing effects were neutralized by the knowledge that I was no longer alone. The freedom is beyond description.
In the end, the rules are translucent. "Let the sun shine in." "Jesus loves me, this I know." "Honey, you can tell me anything." . . . "I will love you."
© October 21, 2009, Stephanie Mott
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