When Chastity Gets Frustrating

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I stepped out of the van and into the cool evening air. As my friend drove off to finish an errand before rejoining me, I glanced across the parking lot at the lit-up building.

I am so not going into the dance right when it starts, I decided. After all, in my teenage mind, the “cool people” always showed up late to dances, no matter how formal or casual the event was. So, with several minutes to spare, I began walking around the church parking lot. A statue, standing on a wall of cement, caught my eye. I guess prayer can’t hurt or anything, I thought as I climbed up the pedestal. Soon, I was sitting cross-legged in front of the stone statue of Mary, the Mother of God. I began to list off formal petitions and blessings, when everything suddenly changed. Peering through the dark sky towards the face of the statue, I let myself feel the weight I had been trying to ignore.

As the consummate rule-follower, I tried to fulfill certain standards of purity in my life. No provocative dancing, no inappropriate outfits, no impure relationships. I had signed chastity pledges, written love letters to my future husband, and was seen at school as one of the “good girls.” Yet, despite all of these worthwhile exterior practices, I was dissatisfied. Now, sitting in a parking lot before a dance, I silently began to let my frustrations tumble out:

So, Mary, you know about all of the times I’ve fallen into temptations against chastity lately? Entertaining impure thoughts, not seeking chastity, and pursuing desires that are inappropriate? I know that I’m supposed to “strive for purity,” and not give into these temptations, but I’m weak. I fall, and I feel that what you and God are asking of me is a bit much. So I’m gonna need some supernatural help. Okay? ‘Cause I really can’t do this whole chastity thing on my own.

As I dumped out my problems, I began to feel a little lighter. Eventually, I walked into the nearby dance, and did not dwell too much on the time I spent outside before the dance. Still, those honest prayers in the parking lot really impacted my life. In the past, chastity had seemed like a fairly constant battle. Following my mental list of “rules,” I would try to focus on overcoming any kind of temptation that I could find, in order to be a purer woman.

However, while having standards and overcoming temptations was good, I started to shift my focus. Instead of looking at life negatively, and seeing how I was constantly failing in my attempts to be chaste, I began asking for divine help more often. I renewed my devotion to St. Joseph, and invoked his intercession daily. As part of this devotion, I wore a “Chord of St. Joseph” underneath my clothes, a practice that hearkens back to the 17th century. This was a physical reminder of my commitment to prayer and chastity.

Along with shifting my focus in prayer, I also changed my focus in how I viewed other people. Instead of looking at others as potential temptations to lust and impurity, I began trying to focus on loving all the people I met as Christ Himself. As I strove to love other people more, and thought about my struggles and failures less, chastity started becoming much more natural to me. Instead of getting discouraged in my falls, I lived with more hope as I tried to love others better each day. In the years since that fateful night in the parking lot, I have continued to grow more in hope and love. Yes, I still fail. I still make tons of mistakes, and I do not always love people as I should. Yet, by focusing on honest, regular prayer—and by trying to love other people more each day—it becomes easier to live chastely in joyful hope, and not succumb to discouragement and frustration.

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Assisi (18)AnneMarie Miller received degrees in English and Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in May 2015. 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, working, or playing chess, AnneMarie reflects on life’s beauty and various random observations on her blog, Sacrifice of Love (http://marianninja.blogspot.com).

22 Comments

  1. Thanks for this amazing and honest comment, it is refreshing for us to know we can fight better, and love more, blessings from Costa Rica!

    By Rodrigo | 1 year ago Reply
    • Rodrigo, thank you so much! It is really encouraging to know that worldwide, there are people committed to better loving and chastity!

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  2. Great post! Something I’ve discovered only recently. Wish I knew this many years ago.

    By Janique | 1 year ago Reply
    • Janique, thank you! Don’t be discouraged; I go by the philosophy of “better late than never” most times :) There are plenty of things that I’m still learning that I would have LOVED to know years ago, but that’s not what happened. So, we can just keep going and try to live and learn from our experiences.

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  3. Hello! I really feel like I connect and understand this post. I feel like I struggle sometimes to stay pure and chaste and to not fall into temptations. Prayer has been an amazing support for me! But I think the one thing I was confusing is that chastity is not saying no to yourself because sexuality is beautiful and creates beautiful outcomes; however it is saying wait and be patient and understand the beauty in just living. Thank you because for this post!

    By Catherine | 1 year ago Reply
  4. Thanks for this, it helps me a lot.

    By Maria Paula del Aguila | 1 year ago Reply
    • You’re very welcome, Maria Paula! I’m so glad that God could work through this.

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  5. Amen. Praise the Lord. Please keep Daryl James and I in your prayers

    By Garnette Fedora | 1 year ago Reply
    • I will do so!

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  6. Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection

    By Karla | 1 year ago Reply
    • You are very welcome, Karla! I’m glad that you like it :)

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  7. BEAUTIFUL :)

    By Desiree | 1 year ago Reply
    • Thank you, Desiree. I am so glad that this could touch your heart!

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  8. Those words apply to everything we with which we struggle. “Love more” is my new motto! Praise God! (oh, but it will be hard at times!)

    By Dolhia | 1 year ago Reply
    • That is a great point! And that’s awesome for a motto :) It will be hard at times, but God is helping us every step of the way, which is pretty darn epic :)

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  9. Thanks for your post. Reading this blog helps me with my struggle in living a chaste life.

    By Richard | 1 year ago Reply
    • You are very welcome! There is so much hope in solidarity, and I’m glad that this blog can help you out.

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  10. Thank you for sharing this. It is so important to explore this side of chastity because it really does get tough at times. So the reminder that we don’t have to go through this alone is always comforting. God bless you!

    By Gabrielle | 1 year ago Reply
    • You are very welcome, Gabrielle! I am so glad that God could work through this-and yes, it is very comforting to know that we don’t have to go through any of this alone! :)

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  11. Thank you so much for posting this! This is exactly what I needed to read right now, as I am struggling as well. You just described all the things I am going through. You have helped me change my focus from what I shouldn’t do to what I should do. You have encouraged me to seek God more everyday and to pray to St. Joseph. Again, thank you for posting this, and keep doing what you do. God bless you!

    By Micaela | 1 year ago Reply
    • Micaela, isn’t God’s timing perfect? Praise the Lord! I’m so happy for how God is working in your life :)

      By AnneMarie | 1 year ago Reply
  12. Thanks for sharing this faith-building experience. The more we make efforts to love the more we grow in our capacity to love.

    By Leonard Elomien | 1 year ago Reply

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