I really should have worked on this on Sunday... but, I was kind of catching up on all the things I needed to do around my house. So, here I am Monday evening trying to get this written. I guess what I'm trying to say is: my apologies for the randomness and lack of put-together-ness. :)
Okie dokie. Chastity.
In our world today chastity, or being chaste, equals abstinence. Literally. I just looked up many dictionaries and they ALL have as their first definition: refraining or abstaining from sexual intercourse.
My mind is blown. And now I am distracted, and not too sure where I wanted to go with this post.
When you Google 'abstinence' all of the results are sex related. Which is interesting, as the dictionary.com definition says "forbearance from any indulgence of appetite, especially from the use of alcoholic beverages."
This is just so interesting to me. I was not expecting these two types of definitions. I mean, I knew that chastity is often times used interchangeably with abstinence, but I didn't realize how much until now. I am not here to explore the roots of these words or when they started to shift in definition from their intended use. Let me try to steer this ship back to the intended focus of this post.
Chastity and single people.
I feel like we are all in agreement about what sexuality means and that we hold sex in high regard, as something sacred. A gift from our Lord. If this is not something you believe or agree with, then the concept of chastity that we are exploring will seem odd and foreign to you. Might I suggest reading some Theology of the Body by JPII?? Or a book that explains the Theology of the Body (b/c let's be honest, it's pretty intense stuff). Annnnnnd we can all agree (I hope!) that one can have an active sex life AND be chaste or abstain from sex and be unchaste. These two things are not the same.
Oh and... chastity is a struggle for men AND women. I think it's awesome we are being brave enough to chat about it. :)
I like what Youcat says about chastity, "the virtue by which a person who is capable of passion deliberately and resolutely reserves his erotic desires for love and resists the temptation to find lewd images in the media or to use others as a means of achieving his own satisfaction." (p. 220)
See, there is nothing in that statement that says anything about having or not having sex. Yes, abstinence can be part (a huge part at times!) of being chaste, but it's not everything. So, for us single people, what does this mean?
I think the statement above alludes to a lot. We all have natural desires. It's how we handle them and what choices we make that allows us to live chastely. It's why I don't participate in crude jokes. I limit what kind of TV shows/movies I watch. I usually will cover my eyes to avoid the sex scenes. Not because I can't handle watching them. I can.
But, I don't like where it takes my mind. It wonders. And it's not good. In some way, I set up expectations for what my future intimate life will be like with my husband. And that is just not fair. To him, or to me.
"Chastity must not be confused with prudishness. A person who lives chastely is not the plaything of his lusts but, rather, lives his sexuality deliberately, motivated by love, and as an expression of that love. Unchaste behavior weakens love and obscures its meaning. (Youcat, pg. 220)I don't want to do something that jeopardizes the love that I have and will give to my future husband, and that of God. I don't even want to tempt myself.
I suppose something similar can be said for emotional chastity, as well. By this I mean, all the things that we say and think and plan for, when we aren't even CLOSE to getting married. It's why I am a huge believer in guarding my heart. It's why I really have no specific plans for a future wedding. Or what my house will look like. Or what the names of my children will be. Ok, yes... I talk about these things, b/c that's what we do, as ladies. I love to think about how I will be and act and react to certain situations (one of the benefits of being the last of your friends to get married... you just learn SO much!)... but it's more in an abstract way, nothing concrete or absolute.
I don't want to tempt myself, or set myself up for disappointment. I want to trust the Lord and His will with everything. I am not married... and I don't know when (or even if) that will happen, so why would I want to add things to my life that would make me struggle even more to live a chaste life, physically and emotionally? I wouldn't. So, it's a choice that I make every.single.day. I do it for my heart. For my soul. For my relationship with God.
Living a chaste life NOW will help me to live a chaste life when I am married.
And... I think I am going to be done. I keep writing the same things over and over again. A sign for me to sleep! So, I hope this has made sense. Again, I apologize if it doesn't. I look forward to reading what y'all gotsta say! ;) Linkup below!
(when you find yourself becoming really impatient, or struggling with your life to "really" begin, how do you combat it? Do you do anything? How can we support one another in this area?)