Brace yourselves, I’m just being frank.
When I turned 25, I made the tough decision at the time to surrender my life to Christ completely and fully immerse myself in celibacy. I practiced abstinence before but struggled to maintain consistency. I had no certainty in how long I would be abstinent, the difficulty of the journey ahead or if I’d ever get married. After going through a heartbreak, re-evaluating my life, reading scripture and watching several testimonies on YouTube of women who were waiting until marriage, I just knew this was something that God was calling me to do.
I wanted to experience freedom. I wanted freedom from my insecurities and the worry I felt when I engaged in intercourse with my boyfriend. I wanted healing from all of my past traumas and heartbreaks. I was tired of feeling so connected to the person I was dating in this way. Most importantly, I was learning about God and how valuable I was to Him and His design for sex within the context of marriage. That was sacred. I wanted to surrender everything to Him. I wanted to be free from pain and solely focus on knowing Him more. I needed to be undistracted.
What I didn’t know is that there was a lot that needed to be uprooted.
Admit-tingly, in the past 5 years I’ve struggled with my desires. It wasn’t just sexual desires but desires to be loved. This desire can transcend many different areas in our spiritual walk. I was trying to fill the space where I felt a lack of fulfillment with things I should have never prioritized the way I did. One of my biggest flaws was masking this profound desire to be loved with success. The year I gave up sex, I went wholeheartedly after success. I devoted so much time to working long hours, attending school and studying late nights. Not a bad thing, right? The problem was that I pushed God away so I can focus on this success and suddenly the desire to be loved started to rise up and become even more unbearable. When I realized that success wasn’t fulfilling me enough with all of my accolades, the promotions, the money, the new career, the new apartment, the valedictorian election, I wasn’t getting the attention I so desperately needed and desired. I became somewhat prideful and when I noticed myself slipping it was already too late because I found myself in yet another unequally yoked relationship with another non-Christian man. Going into this I knew what I was doing. I was the one who initiated the friendship and the first kiss because I wanted to live on the edge. Now, the goal was to save myself for a marriage with a Christian man but somewhere along the way I had given up because I felt like God was taking too long. I wanted to fulfill all of my dreams. I didn’t want to just have professional success but I wanted successful romantic relationship that would promise marriage just like in the movies but hindsight is 2020.
Getting into that relationship was the best mistake I had ever made in my life. It truly broke me and sent me running to God because I didn’t know what else to do. That was my pruning season. And although I didn’t have sex with this man, I felt convicted everyday for the things I did that were impure. I had to learn how to distinguish between what were healthy God-given desires and what would be considered lust. I noticed that my healthy desires were turning into lust when I would spend too much time thinking about my desires. This is difficult to talk about but the body of Christ needs more transparency in this area. The more I would feed into these thoughts, the more difficult it was for me to feel hopeful about my journey with abstinence.
A few months after breaking free from that relationship, and focusing on God, I noticed a redirection in my thoughts. My journey with abstinence became much easier and I worried less about missing out on the “fun” that everyone seemed to be experiencing in their 20’s. I got involved in serving in my church, praying and reading the bible more. It took some time to get to this place where it’s no longer a struggle but I am living proof that it’s possible. When we allow Romans 12:2 that says “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will”(NIV) to really be the guiding force behind our thoughts, then we can truly notice the Strength of God that promises to uphold us and keep us from stumbling. It’s so difficult in a world that glorifies sex and multiple sex partners (especially in our 20’s and 30’s) to maintain purity but nothing is impossible for God. Now, this is not to assert that I am perfect in any way. I do have thoughts from time to time, as we all experience temptation but the victory is being able to abstain from those thoughts and cast them down when they do come. It’s being able to not allow provisions for it; to be tempted and not sin.
The great news is I am entering my 30’s this year and although I’ve been through a lot, I have no regrets. Two years ago God sent me a wonderful godly man who is in his 30’s that I do not deserve who also upholds purity so much so, he is still a virgin. His testimony of abstinence never ceases to encourage me and remind me of God’s strength. I feel super blessed that we both get to experience God’s power as we walk by faith together and maintain abstinence until marriage. The beauty is despite my past, my boyfriend sees me as a new creation in Christ and he has been touting this from the beginning and I can look at him with the same lens. Praise God! So overall, abstinence is no walk in the park but I am here to say that it is possible with God.
God bless you all, stay strong!