Joshua: False Identity

From a young age, I was extremely insecure about my looks and my personality. My hobbies and interests were considered more feminine, and I envied and admired the more masculine guys who seemed so confident around the girls. To complicate matters, I was exposed to pornography at age 7. By the time I hit middle school, porn was a regular part of my life, compounding the same sex attractions that had riddled me from a younger age. Raised in a Christian home, I hid my struggles from everyone.

But once I entered public high school, I was surrounded by classmates who accepted, celebrated, and even encouraged my gay identity. Finally receiving the affirmation for which I had longed, I ventured into the hookup culture where my fantasies became reality. I became addicted to the approval I received from other men, having my sexual acts and preferences celebrated by close friends, and feeling like I was finally wanted. The approval from others distracted from my lingering, deep-seated envy and insecurity. Even though my life was at times enjoyable, I couldn’t completely shake feelings of shame, confusion, disgust, self-hatred, and isolation. Deep down, I blamed God for creating me gay, and I felt doomed to embrace the lifestyle.

Though I’d considered myself a Christian when I was younger, I developed serious doubts about the legitimacy of Christianity.

How could God condemn me to hell when I’d been born this way?

By the time I graduated high school, I leaned toward agnosticism, and in college I began detaching further from Christianity by exploring Buddhism and the New Age. As a result, my world grew increasingly dark. By the fall of 2020, life felt meaningless and lonely, and I began to struggle with suicidal thoughts. While away at school, I came out to my Christian family, and stopped attending classes and doing schoolwork. I wanted to unplug and detach from everyone and everything.


God Began to Speak

Ironically, my feelings of despair prompted me to go on a social media detox for a month. That’s when God began to speak to my heart. I began to sit with the questions that I’d been avoiding, questions about life, God, and identity. As I walked outside, no longer glued to my phone, I began to recognize the beauty and complexities of creation, and that God was so evident in it all (Psalm 19:1 became real to me!). Over time, God helped me to realize that there is a righteous, holy design to life, and I was not living in accordance with it at all. I finally looked to the Bible for answers to my questions, instead of leaning on my own understanding and dismissing the truth of God’s Word. As I began to look at life through the correct lens, God lovingly exposed my sin, and the false identities I’d been wearing lost their grip. What’s more, I truly began to live for Jesus. In addition to studying the Bible and developing a prayer life, I began to specifically dive deeper into the biblical view of healthy sexuality and sexual sin. Over time, God has definitely been renewing my mind. Since returning to following Christ, He’s been helping me to better understand biblical masculinity and how to have healthy relationships with others. After many years of not forming male friendships due to deep envy, fear, and insecurity, I’ve been blessed with many brothers in Christ who constantly show me Christ-like love and grace. Today, I have an abundance of peace and joy in the salvation that God has granted me. I’m thankful for the journey and God’s marvelous, saving love.


—By Joshua Baldwin

Reprinted from https://changedmovement.com/stories/joshua-baldwin. Used with permission.

Images: Joshua Baldwin, AI-generated

Related Articles