Sometimes, I can’t help but dive into a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and swing into the age of jazz and romance. The diction and scenery take me on a journey back to a different era, as if I am no longer living in the present. When stumbling upon romance scenes, I can’t help but feel this longing desire in my heart; this desire to be loved by a significant other. It is the feeling of love that captivates all us, especially when we read a book or watch a movie and think, “I want to feel that love.”
However, times have changed, and dating is not what it used to be during the jazz era. It can be difficult to decipher boundaries between a guy and a girl choosing to be friends or deciding to pursue a dating relationship. We hear about stories that have broken the friendship barriers between opposite sexes. And we all know, or have experienced first hand, what it is like to be friends with a person of the opposite sex and fall completely head over heels for them, but he or she is either leading you on, or doesn’t feel the same way.
Emotional chastity is an important issue that is hardly ever addressed or taken into close consideration. Emotional chastity is being tune with your feelings and the feeling of others. And is about giving your heart to someone wholly and not just pieces of it.
So here is a story about a guy and a girl that were ‘just friends.’ They went to outings together as ‘friends,’ text each other, and would be flirty with each other. One day, the girl began to realize she had feelings for this guy, but she didn’t know how or if she should acknowledge her feelings for him. A few weeks later, she found out the guy had felt the same way about her. THIS IS GREAT RIGHT? I mean it’s a perfect story tale ending because this means they can finally be together. Wrong. It began hurting the girl to keep her feelings about this guy bottled up and she ended up opening her feelings to this guy. He admitted he had felt the same way towards her. However, he wasn’t sure if she had feelings for him, too, and was also scared of being rejected, so a few days before she opened her heart up to him, he began dating someone else.
The girl didn’t get her prince charming, and she ended up heartbroken and confused.
Today, it can be nerve-wracking to open up about how we may feel about a person, let alone actually taking initiative to ask someone out on a date. A reason why it can be fearful for some to ask a person out is because sometimes we simply fear rejection. However, it’s important to be clear about what someone wants when they have some sort of relationship with the opposite sex.
Guys, if you are interested in a girl, and she is showing interest back, then step up and ask her out. If you read the situation wrong and she says no, life will go on, and at least you are left knowing the answer rather than a ‘what if.’
Ladies and gentlemen, if you are flirting with someone without any intention of pursuing a relationship, then take a step back and realize that the other person might fall for you. And at the end of the day, they are going to be heart-broken because you led them on to believe there was something more. Practicing emotional chastity can be difficult to practice at times because a flirty comment can become an unintentional, second nature misunderstanding, or feeling extremely vulnerable and acting upon our false emotions that may fade the next day. But it’s important to take into account the hurt and the pain the other person might end up feeling when they realize our simple, flirtatious comments were never genuine because we never truly liked them.
Emotional chastity is about being in tune with your feelings and the feelings of others. It is about knowing your feelings and taking the initiative to convey these feelings in an appropriate manner. Emotional chastity means giving someone your heart with full commitment, and not just thinking, “I only want your attention today because I am lonely and it makes me feel good about myself.”
Now ladies, it’s important to realize that most romance novels and movies are fiction for a reason. Not all men are going to be the perfect Jay Gatsby, and plan the perfect romance scene for you to continuously live out. And gentlemen, not all women are going to be like the way Gatsby portrayed Daisy (perfect), and that’s okay. In order to successfully practice being emotionally chaste, we need to know our boundaries and not only our respect our morals and values, but also the morals and values of others. Emotional chastity can be difficult to maintain at times, especially when you are sparked by certain emotions, but it’s possible to control.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Trust in the Lord and His will for you. When confusing feelings arise, instead of acting upon them, turn to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to free you. Or when you are feeling lonely, ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with radiant joy instead of seeking the attention of another person to fill an empty void. If you are struggling with being emotionally unchaste, then know you are not struggling alone. Turn to close friends that you can talk to that will keep you accountable for your actions, as this can be beneficial in helping us realize where we need to draw boundaries. Always remember that our life is a journey to heaven that we are not meant to walk alone. As my youth minister always says, “Who are you trying to get to heaven and who do you want to see there? In the relationships that we have, we are supposed to live them out in such a way that we are leading one another to heaven.”