Chastity . . . the sure way to happiness?
I often go for a run after I get home from work. When I first started doing this, it was a pain. I hated it. I would walk in the door every afternoon, look around my living room, and often choose to be lazy and not go.
Once in a while I’d really be motivated to go, and so I’d come in the door and grab my gear and get outside. I’d feel like a million bucks when I got back and was really proud of myself. Even though it hadn’t been easy, I had persevered. I had gotten out of my slump and got some exercise. It was awesome.
Other times I would be not-so-motivated. I’d walk in and begrudgingly schlep over to the table, look at my housemate and say in a whiney voice “I dooooooon’t wannnnt to go for a runnnn! Eheh” (“eheh” is a sort of wimpy cry sound, if you can imagine that) accompanied by a frowny-pouty-puppy-eyes-face.
Her response was always this: “But if you go, you won’t regret it!” Big smile.
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.
Me: Narrowing of puppy eyes. Brow furrowing. Contemplation.
Big Sigh. “Dang it! You’re right. Uuuuggggghhhhh.”
And I’d get my shoes on and go outside.
And she was right. I never regretted it. I was always happy when I went for that run. I was always happy that I had made the difficult choice to get outside and do something good for myself.
Now imagine if she wasn’t there. How easily I would have likely fallen into this trap of not exercising. No one would have ever been there to tell me it was worth going, and that I wouldn’t regret it. Exercising isn’t always easy. It also isn’t always fun. Some of us really struggle with it. But it’s always worth it.
And today, I’m going to be the person to tell you the same thing applies to chastity. It’s always worth it.
Practicing chastity involves exercising in a different way. It involves exercising the will, the mind, and the heart. Practicing chastity isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s a pain. There are days when it doesn’t seem worth it. There are days when we want to give up on chastity. There are days when it just seems like too much work.
But I’m here to tell you, if you practice it, you won’t regret it.
“Chastity is a difficult, long term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness.” – Pope John Paul II
Think about it this way: “Working out is a difficult, long term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the fitness which it will bring. But at the same time, exercise is the sure way to heath.”
And much like exercise, chastity does get a little easier over time. It’s never a piece of cake, but when is a real workout ever easy? If we are so quick to work on our physical health and well-being, why are we so lazy when it comes to our spiritual and sexual well-being?
You know what else makes working out easier? A buddy. Having someone who is willing to help hold you accountable to working out is much better for motivation. Just like my housemate was always there cheering me on. Having a friend you can confide your struggles in, and who can encourage you on your walk in chastity, is really helpful.
All your hard work will pay off in the end. You’ll be happier, holier, and healthier, in mind and heart, if you practice chastity. Our friend JPII (a saint, guys!) even tells us this: “the sure way to happiness.”
If you choose it, in the end, you won’t regret it! Take it one day at a time. I’ll be praying for you.
Ashley Ackerman is first and foremost a daughter of God, and after that she works for His glory as a high school religion teacher, campus minster, speaker, and blogger. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she earned her master’s degree in Theology. You can read more of Ashley’s blog posts by visiting her personal blog, “A Heart Made for Grace” where she shares her musings on all things Catholic.