Chastity: is that even a real thing?
Inspired by the Gen-Life missionaries who I had the pleasure of meeting last week and some of the amazing girls who are showing me this is something worth talking about!
If you’re anything like me, chastity may be a topic that’s a little difficult to understand (can I get an “Amen?). There are so many different thoughts that can cross your mind. Whether you’re barely coming to understand your faith or can recite the Baltimore Catechism backwards and forwards (mad props to Trad-Caths), this can be a tricky one. And don’t even get me started on emotional chastity because that one’s even harder for me to understand (I could write a novel solely on the questions I struggle with!)
All through high school I knew I wanted to save myself for marriage even though my faith didn’t really mean much to me. I knew that was still something of high importance in my life. Senior year, that changed and it made me question my strength as a human based on sexual sin. The way I viewed myself radically changed and I didn’t really think I was worth much anymore. I kept thinking, “I did it already, I guess I can do it again.” It became routine to just give into temptation and use my body in order to unite myself to the men I thought I “loved”. Relationships after that became sexual way faster because that is what I thought “love” was. And I had no idea how much it was affecting my own life, instead of helping it. I became attached, and for all of you out there (male or female), who have struggled or are still struggling with this; you can become a completely different person. You seek attention, you can’t see yourself without them, you can’t break up because you feel “safe” with what you know, you stalk them on social media (don’t lie, I’ve done it too), you start treating others differently; the list goes on and on. Some of these things can also become a lot more dangerous and can even lead to things like multiple sexual partners, illness, excessive drinking, addiction, depression, and even suicide.
Now, I don’t consider myself an expert at this by any means. I don’t have a degree in Theology, I’m not a chastity speaker, heck, I haven’t even finished JPII’s “Theology of the Body”! I’m writing only as a human being, who still struggles to see my self-worth because of my past sin, and I know EVERYONE can relate to that on some level. I’m still tempted and continuously growing in my own faith walk. Plus I really think this is worth talking about. And even though we may already know the basics of chastity, pornography and the advice given to build self-control (thanks Jason and Matt) it isn’t as black-and-white as it may seem sometimes.
Once I started asking God for help I began to realize there was a reason why I wasn’t happy with what I had been doing; it’s because I was created to BE IN A RELATIONSHIP, but I thought it came from humans, not God. We all want to love and be loved and as cheesy as it may sound it’s the essential truth that is in our hearts.
“But Ana, I know all of this already. I’ve read the books, I’ve heard the talks, so why can’t I move on?” Well, it takes time to heal and we’re still human. We’re broken, but God can purify our hearts and show us actual love. Stay close to the sacraments, go to mass, receive communion, do NOT stop going to confession (This is the one I struggle with. Even if you feel like you keep confessing the same thing or you’re not worthy enough to be forgiven yet, don’t stop going) and go to adoration! You may not “feel” forgiven or healed but you need to allow yourself to sit there and BeLoved (see what I did there?) by Him! Receive His goodness; He WANTS to heal you and He’s honored to be your Savior.
And lastly, you’re not alone in this process! Find a group of friends (preferably same sex friends) that will hold you accountable. If you fall into sin, text each other and fast together, go to mass together, or go to confession together (or all three). Look after each other and find people who will support you but also challenge you to be better. You’re not the only one going through this and you can all relate to some of the obstacles you face.
Trust me, it’s never too late to start over with God. It won’t be easy, but it is SO worth it!
P.S. don’t be afraid to talk to us missionaries or Father Daniel about it. We’re here to help and may be able to relate more than you think. 🙂