With the most pious of looks I told him, “you do know that I’m celibate right?” He got very quiet. In the following days the messages dried up, and the phone calls stopped. I had weeded out another one. For me it’s simple…I’ve put off sex, to focus on other things. Things like emotional fortitude, relational problem-solving, and my twisted love-hate relationship with the kitchen. Countless times I’ve found myself attracted to someone, gotten close, and then walked into a wall.
This piece is written out of introspection, honesty and openness. It speaks solely to my personal experiences, so I ask that you respect that truth.
Honestly, celibacy is not easy, and it’s more difficult for some people than it is for others. In fact, there have even been times when I’ve thought it wasn’t for me. Often when we get to the part of the conversation where someone asks why I’m not sleeping with anyone, these are the things that swirl around in my mind. Amidst the struggle to not hold celibacy as some sort of badge I consider all the things I’ve lost, and compromised in trivializing God’s Word. More importantly you see, I’ve had to weigh what it really means to walk with God.
Celibacy (from Latin, cælibatus”) is the state of voluntarily being unmarried, sexually abstinent, or both, usually for religious reasons.
A Case for Celibacy
Holiness: It is not easy to be set apart in a world that holds nothing sacred. I know this is an unpopular, dogmatic and dated view, but I’ve decided that my faith is important to me, and that my relationship with God is a priority to me. So although sex is a beautiful and enjoyable thing, I would rather honor it, and cherish it within a monogamous relationship.
Honesty: For me, celibacy keeps me honest. With a propensity to indulge recklessly, and to drown my emotions in negative ways, I realized that physical intimacy was central to my expressions of my deepest emotions. However, in recent years I have come to realize that not every opportunity is a safe, or healthy one. Sometimes you should walk away from the easy score. It’s not worth the complicated attachment. This is doubly true if you struggle with deep-seated issues of low self-esteem, or lack of self-confidence.
Accountability: One of the most harrowing experiences I have ever had was to evaluate myself as a youth leader, and reckon with my struggle with fornication. Yea, I used the f-word. There is no getting around it. I was in a relationship that was not glorifying God. A relationship that was glorifying and worshiping ‘our love’ and ‘unending affections’ — and I won’t try to explain all the ways God revealed to me that our relationship was not God-centered.
Honor: As I begun to consider my life beyond serial dating, and mindless hook-ups I was burdened with wanting more. If nothing else I was ready to think about commitment and marriage. So much so that I had to begin to look at my actions as adultery. This goes a step further than what many view as pre-marital intimacy, but for some of us we have to drop the gavel hard to feel and hear the reality of our choices.
Hope: So now when I consider the future I smile at the idea that maybe I could start over with someone ‘special’ and write a love story all our own, and without the baggage of intimacy in other relationships.
For me it has been an uphill journey — all this reaching higher and aiming above the status quo. Each and every week I have to go back to the drawing board and navigate my inclinations, weaknesses and various temptations. Above all else counting the real cost of diving back into my former narrative. But when I weigh it all I am reminded that It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.