You’ve heard of #100HappyDays? Well, I stole the idea and adapted to fit my blogging schedule.
Every day is filled with reasons to be thankful. And yet the majority of my day isn’t spent being thankful. That’s got to change. God sent his son to save me - HUGE reason to always be thankful. And I’ve been freed to live a new life through Christ, released from fear, doubt, shame and self-reliance, equipped with love to serve others and blessed with all kinds of daily tasks and jobs to express my love. And that’s just the big stuff.
This is #100ThankfulWeeks to praise Him. I’m sharing one simple thing I’m thankful for each week. Because there can never be to much thankfulness.
Week 41: Transgendered
I just want to start off by saying I know this is a difficult subject for many, many people. Not just people who identify as religious or conservative. This is a subject that even liberal, non-religious, think-outside-the-box people sometimes have difficulty embracing. And I’m no special exception.
But right up front, I’ll say this: I’m thankful my outward physical appearance reflects who I am. Not because it makes me better or more pure or closer to some ideal. My thankfulness is much more selfish than that. I’m thankful because I don’t want to have to go through what so many go through every day. I may not understand, I may not know what they feel - but I do know I wouldn’t want to walk a mile in their shoes. I’m thankful I’m not transgendered.
I don’t have any transgendered friends. I don’t know any transgendered people. And I’m ashamed to say, I’ve never really wanted to meet any. I just couldn’t understand why someone would want to change “the way God made them.” Which makes me a small person because really deep down, I don’t want to face my own questions about what transgendered means to my understanding of God, faith and “normal”. It’s so much easier to ignore, easier to write off, easier to close out.
Then my friend Mandy shared this video about a young transgendered couple in the military. And as I watched the video, I found I couldn’t close them out. It was impossible to ignore or turn off who these people are. Because they are people. They’re not just anatomy and gender. They have hopes and fears and loves. They’re just like me.
By the end of the video, I was disgusted with myself. And rightly so. I had been ignoring the mere topic of transgender because I couldn’t understand it. Because it seemed so extreme. Because I couldn’t reconcile “God made them that way” with what transgendered people were saying about themselves. I was stuck in the age-old “this is what the Bible says” vs. “this is what is happening” debate - and I took the easy shortcut to escape my dilemma. I blissfully ignored the entire subject while hiding behind what I felt was a moral certainty.
But the video reminded me of something I can’t ignore: love. The One who loves me also loves them. The One who created me, created them. The One who saves me, saves them. And the One who teaches me to love is the same who teaches them to love. We are all called to the same purpose, the same new life, the same service to each other. I can’t shut them out or ignore them or write them off - for all our differences, we’re still the same.
I have never experienced the feeling of living in an anatomically incorrect body - but I can imagine how powerful the desire to correct the misalignment must be. I don’t know why specific people are created transgendered any more than I know why specific people are created gay or straight. But I do know why we are all created. We’re here to love one another. Just as we are loved and cared for by God.
I started this post off by saying I am thankful I’m not transgendered. But that’s a narrow, arrogant thing to say. As if someone transgendered is worse-off than me. I’m sure there are many who would say they’re thankful they weren’t created gay. Or mentally handicapped. Or physically disabled. Or non-white. And the list goes on and on, as if there is some ideal creation that would make our lives better or easier.
I remember another video, a film called The Robe, where a young “crippled” woman tells her story about Jesus to a questioning Roman. As the fictional story goes, the woman was bitter before she met Jesus, but after he spoke to her she was filled with joy and happiness. The Roman points out that she is still a cripple and still cannot walk and asks why Jesus didn’t heal her. She tells him that Jesus gave her an even greater gift: He left her different so that she could show others that her difference doesn’t mean God doesn’t love her, nor can it rob her of the opportunity to praise God and show love to others.
I want to be like that woman. I want to be thankful in every circumstance, even in situations that some might see as a disadvantage or an aberration. I want to praise God by showing love to others at every opportunity. I don’t want to be thankful because I have an “easier” or more “normal” life with fewer challenges or critics. Instead, I want to be thankful I am created as I am. Period. Because no matter how we are created, nothing can rob us of God’s love or our opportunity to show that love in our lives to others. It’s time to shine.
I highly recommend this video. It had a powerful impact on me...