According to many crossdressers online, it is impossible for us to ever lose our crossdressing desires. According to many Christians, our crossdressing desires (or other sinful desires) will go away as soon as we pray and ask God to take them away. I disagree with both.
I believe that healing from crossdressing is about finding healing from the pain and healing from the “need” to crossdress. It is about finding freedom in Jesus and through Jesus having the ability to say “no” to the desires. Healing is about having a full life of joy and happiness in God without giving in to the false pleasures of crossdressing. Healing from crossdressing doesn’t necessarily have to include the crossdressing desires going away, (though that could be part of it for some people and we should all hope for and desire it).
I think that most likely we will never lose our desire to crossdress, just as we don’t lose our desire for other sins in our lives. The desires might lessen, but they won’t fully go away, and that is okay. This is part of the tension of the “already-but not yet,” that we see in the Bible. We are already new creatures in Christ, but not yet fully made new. We are already saved from our sins, but we still wrestle with our sinful nature. We still sin every day in ways we don’t even realize. God has already rescued us from our suffering through Jesus and yet we still suffer. Jesus has already accomplished much in our lives. But he has not yet completed his plan. When he comes again, then we will experience the “not yets.” Our salvation will be complete, our pain will be taken away, and Jesus will make us new creatures, unable to sin anymore. One of the many things that is in the tension of the already-but not yet is that we have the freedom to say “no” to sinful desires now, but those sinful desires and temptations will only gradually lessen, until finally when Jesus comes back, he will make us unable to sin at all and we won’t even desire to sin at all.
For years, I used to beg God to take away my crossdressing desires. He never took them away completely. When I was finally sober from crossdressing for longer periods, the desire for crossdressing was still there. I learned not to expect them to ever go away. I was at peace knowing I would continue to have to resist temptation but at the same time I felt free from crossdressing. But what came as a surprise was that now that I have said “no” to crossdressing for so long and so consistently, that the desires are almost non-existent. They are still there, but it’s an abnormal day, an abnormal week, an abnormal month, that they rear their head. Most of the time I am never tempted, but temptations do still come periodically, most especially when I wake up from having a crossdressing dream. Because I’m so used to not having temptation, I am prone to fail when temptations do come because they take me by surprise. So I have to remain vigilant. And I am content. Whether or not the desire for crossdressing ever fully goes away in this lifetime, it does not matter. I will still remain faithful to God, still try my utmost to refuse crossdressing, and I am enjoying no longer being a slave to that addiction. I feel healed. Why? Not because all the temptation and thirst for crossdressing is completely absent. I am healed because I am free from addiction, and I have the power to say “no” to those desires when they come.
I firmly believe that God can take away our temptations. And I believe he does so for certain people. There are countless testimonies of crossdressers or homosexuals that God healed and even took away their temptations for those things. But there is also no place in the entire Bible where God promises to do so. In fact, most passages show us that sinful temptations will always be a part of our lives until Jesus comes again. This is one of the very big problems with conversion therapy that has been used for those struggling with same-sex attraction. It gives people false hope that their desires will change in this lifetime, and it uses very questionable, some would say horrific, techniques to try to bring about this change that we cannot expect.
I would compare these issues with the issue of physical healing. God can and sometimes does miraculously heal people from diseases or health problems, but with most people he doesn’t, even though we pray with strong faith and trust in him. Sometime his plan involves allowing us to go through suffering. But one day all of his people will be fully healed, and resurrected, physically healed, emotionally healed, and spiritually healed (no longer able to sin).
As I have written about elsewhere, it is not sinful to be tempted. It is only sinful to give in to the temptations. Even Jesus, while he was on earth, was tempted to sin by Satan. But he did not give in, and Jesus was perfect and sinless. We must not let ourselves feel guilt about our temptations. There is a huge difference between temptation and giving in to temptation. However, I would add that we have a responsibility to work on changing our desires to the extent that we can. It is good for us to ask God to change our desires. Our desire for sin certainly is not good and we should hope that we learn to desire sin less and less. It is good for us to work on changing them ourselves through conditioning, through our thought processes, through breaking addictions, and so on. The more we grow in our relationship with God, and the more we grow in holiness, the more we will desire good righteous things, and the less we will desire sinful things. The more that we say “no” to sin and “yes” to what is right, the more we will learn to desire that which is right.
I think this fits with the wisdom author C.S. Lewis gave in his book Mere Christianity:
“The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him… There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed.”
Keep on doing good, and you will realize how beneficial and wonderful it is to do good, obey God, and resist sin. The more you enjoy freedom from crossdressing, the less and less you will desire to go back to it.
I’d like to comment on one Bible passage that fits with this topic. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 –
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
These verses give us a wonderful promise. They do not give us any promise about God taking away our temptations. But they do promise that God will not let us face any temptations that are too powerful to overcome. This is not affirming how powerful we are. The emphasis is not on us. The emphasis is that no matter how powerful the temptations are, God is more powerful. God is at work within us, and God will provide a way out of the temptations. We do ALWAYS have the ability, given to us by God, to resist temptations that come our way. We CAN actually choose which of our desires to give into or not. We are deceived if we become convinced by non-Christians that we have no choices, and we have to give in to whatever desires float through our mind. We DO have the power to make choices, and the power to resist temptations. You have free-will and you are empowered by the Holy Spirit! Thank you to God who works within us.
Someone may ask – Why would God not take away my temptations? How can he be good, expect me not to crossdress, but still let me endure crossdressing temptations? Why won’t he take them away even when I ask through prayer? Those are good questions.
First, I’d say that freewill is a good thing, and freedom of choice is good. God didn’t create us as robots. We have the freedom to give in to sin or not, and that is a good thing. It’s good for us to learn how to choose what is right, to choose God. It is good for us to learn how to choose holiness and life over sin and death.
We could take this all the way back to Adam and Eve, the first people. God allowed them to have freedom to choose to sin or not. They chose to sin, and because of them the world fell from its original perfection, hence we call it “The Fall.” Now we are born into sin. We are born naturally wanting to sin. We are born with all kinds of sinful temptations. But we can’t blame God. Humanity brought sin into the world, not God. And God is letting us experience the consequences until Jesus comes again and makes things new. That means that God is letting us (for the most part), continue to deal with having crossdressing desires and all kinds of other sinful desires, even as Christians. Asking God to take away all of our sinful temptations is a good thing, but expecting him to do so completely is like asking him to completely make peace in this world, or to heal everyone in the world who is sick. Yes, God will eventually take away all of our sinful temptations and physical diseases, but only once Jesus comes again. In the meantime, he does still work in this world, he does still answer prayers, but he won’t act so completely and fully now as compared to the time when Jesus returns and brings an end to the world in this current condition and begins a new age.
Second, I’d say that according to the Bible, God has a good grand plan for this whole world, and for the lives of his people. Romans 8:28 –
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
God is at work in our lives and in this world, for our good. Somehow God allowing me to be born with this tendency to desire crossdressing fits into his will. It doesn’t make being born like this “good“, but it does mean that God has fit it into his plan to use it for good. Somehow God is using it for good in my life or for the good of this world. And the same is true for each of you. I don’t know the details, and maybe won’t know until heaven. But I trust in God’s providence, his sovereignty. He is in control. There is some reason I was born like this, some reason that God allowed this evil and pain in my life. Perhaps without this problem, I would have never given my life to him. So I believe I was born with this, God allowed it, it is a painful bad thing that I have to resist, but there is some good reason God allowed this in my life. Perhaps in your case, God uses it to make you dependent on him, or to shape your character, or to teach you to have self-control, or to help you have compassion for others with addiction. The list is endless.
Here is an analogy. Children might think their parents would let them eat candy for every meal if their parents really loved them. But if the parents are truly loving, then they won’t give the children candy every meal. The parents know the truth that it isn’t good for their kids. We can’t make the logical leap and say that if God doesn’t take away my desire to crossdress, therefore he must think its okay to crossdress, or he hates me. No. It could just as well be that he knows ultimately it is better for a certain person to still have the temptations. Maybe the temptations draw that person to rely on God day to day. Maybe the experience causes us to have more compassion on others who struggle. We may not know why God allows temptations to stay in our lives, or suffering for that matter, but we have to trust that he is control and has a good plan.
If in doubt about any of this, apply the same question and logic to the issue of alcoholism. Alcoholics have to learn to resist the desire even though they would rather have God take the desire away completely. But they learn self control and they live full and happy lives, having been healed from their addiction. If they can do it, so can we! God will help us.