I hate it when I fall into duplicity. When I say one thing and do another, I’m not acting like I want to be a trusted person, someone who is passionate about her beliefs.
Several years ago, I would not pay much attention to what I put on social media. The internet was a fun, exciting tool that I could use to connect with friends and share jokes. But after a while, I noticed that some of my online activity did not reflect my desire to grow in chastity and pure love. An inside joke, or something inappropriate that had seemed funny at the time, would flash in front of my hundreds of “Friends” on social media. Eventually, I began to realize that how I depicted myself to these hundreds of people needed to coincide with my desires for chastity. So, I started cleaning up my online profile, and became more alert to what I put on the internet. I wanted my statuses, quotations, and photographs to all support my beliefs. If I wanted to grow in chastity—and wanted to be respected for it—I needed all aspects of my life to match up with this goal.
I started to become a woman of greater integrity. Integrity, which comes from the Latin word, integra, means wholeness. In order to grow in chastity, I needed to be whole. I had to direct my entire being towards the goal of sexual integrity, so that all of my actions would help me further continue towards greater purity. I am very much a work-in-progress; I am still trying to become a woman of integrity years after I began this mission. Letting go of habits, practices, and behaviors that don’t align with chastity can be very difficult and super lame at times. For example, a number of months ago, I picked up a new book series, and was really enjoying it. But as the books went on, the gratuitous, crude sexual references became more and more frequent, and I flung the book down on my couch in aggravation. Was I tempted to keep reading? You bet! But I realized that filling my mind with impure images and scenes was not a good way to grow in purity.
It’s much easier to try and leave the virtue of chastity in our hearts, as a nice idea that we hold onto. We can try to keep chastity influencing our lives. But this lifestyle will not fulfill us. We’ll believe in one thing, and do another. Our actions will contradict our words. We will fall into duplicity. If we choose this path, we won’t grow in chastity as much as we’d like to. Our impure actions will hinder the growth that we desire. Choosing integrity is hard.
If you want to be chaste, I encourage you to pursue this goal with your entire life. Strive to be a man or woman of integrity. Let your actions, words, clothing, and entire lives reflect your desire for purity. Yes, this decision may be hard at times. It may involve refusing to watch a movie that does not reflect purity. It may involve graciously stepping away from conversations—or changing the topic—when the content does not lead people towards pure love. It may involve ending impure friendships or relationships. It may involve turning off a song, or closing a book. With all of the difficulty that your choices may involve, I want to reassure you that living a pure life is worth it all. When your life decisions connect with your desire for chastity, you will no longer hold yourself back, but you will truly be free to grow.
AnneMarie Miller received degrees in English and Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She has a passion for the Catholic Faith, chastity, St. Francis of Assisi, and frolicking around barefoot. In August 2013, she was blessed to marry her incredible husband, and the two of them enjoy the epic adventures of young married life in the Midwest. When she’s not doing housework, writing, reading, cooking, or playing chess, AnneMarie reflects on life’s beauty and various random observations on her blog, Sacrifice of Love.