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In a celebrity age, everyone feels they have a right to know about every intimate detail of everyone else's life. If people find you have a secret, they often assume that you should divulge every chapter and verse to the entire world. But often the ones who demand to know the most deserve to know the least. I learned from this experience that the way to move from secrecy to honesty isn't to share every detail of my life with anyone who demands an answer. Instead, it requires opening the lockbox I've tucked away and dumping the contents at the Lord's feet. To discover the authentic life, I invite God into the secret spaces and let him soak it in grace.

When people today ask me how I identify myself, I never quite know how to answer. It doesn't feel authentic to label the whole of my being by feelings and attractions, and my experience has been that those parts of me tend to be somewhat fluid. One day I may feel more one way than another, and the next I feel a little differently. I am far more than my feelings, so I don't answer that question. Not because I want to evade others but because I want to stay true to myself.

The essence of who I am is far more shaped, influenced, and guided by my spirituality than by my sexuality. I am wholly wrapped up in my pursuit of Christ and his amazing grace. And I'm quite comfortable there. When I'm feeling pretty bad about myself, when the wounds of my heart cry out loud for healing, when shame attempts to suffocate me, or when I'm especially discouraged over my most tragic failures, I find myself holding onto a thread.

A thread called grace.

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and author most recently of Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined (FaithWords). This article is adapted from the book Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined by Jonathan Merritt. Copyright © 2014 by Jonathan Merritt. Reprinted by permission of FaithWords, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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A Thread Called Grace