Are YOU Engaged in a Secret Battle?
Last time we described the battles that several young women have faced, and now I’d like to tell you a little bit about my own sexual and emotional battle…
If anyone had asked me when I was twelve if I wanted to remain a virgin until marriage, I would have said, “Of course I do!”
At thirteen, I would have said, “I think so.”
By fourteen, I would have replied, “Maybe.”
At age fifteen, my response would have been, “I don’t see how that is possible.” Unfortunately, my innocence became just a memory that year. I was coerced into sex by an eighteen-year-old boy that I had just met, and I mistakenly said nothing to my parents. Because I kept this secret, no one helped me heal from the abuse.
A few months later, my parents allowed me to begin dating. Because I believed that my virginity had already been stolen from me, I didn’t feel I had a reason to withhold my body from most of the young men I dated. Sex became a routine part of my romantic relationships—the price that I felt I must pay for the attention and affection that I craved.
No Exemptions from Sexual Temptation
As you read about the darker side of my younger days, you might think I was a messed-up girl from a dysfunctional home and a bad neighborhood, or that I wasn’t a Christian, or that I wasn’t too smart.
I grew up in rural Northeast Texas with educated, middle-class parents who were faithfully married to each other. My family lived in a modest home in the country where safety was never an issue. Mother took me to church regularly, and I confirmed my belief in Jesus Christ at the age of twelve. I even served as president of my youth group for several years. I got straight As in high school and went on to graduate from college.
As my life shows, you don’t have to be messed up or even come from a messed up family to make irresponsible decisions that will mess up your life. Not even “good Christian girls” are exempt from sexual temptations. Not even you.
Are YOU Engaged in a Secret Battle?
If you’re ready to face the intensity of your own private sexual or emotional war, answer yes or no to the following questions.
- Do you watch television shows or movies with sexual jokes or graphic sex scenes?
- Does the music you listen to talk blatantly of sexual desires outside of marriage?
- Do you ever act overly friendly or seductively to get a guy’s attention?
- Do thoughts of having or keeping a boyfriend consume your mind to the point that you find it difficult to concentrate on anything else for any length of time?
- Are you looking for or entertaining the idea of a serious romantic relationship even though it will be several years before you are ready to get married?
- Do you consider certain sexual activities okay simply because they won’t result in pregnancy?
- Do you feel that your virginity has already been stolen from you?
- Do you feel as if you are “damaged goods” that a “respectable guy” wouldn’t want?
- Do you believe it is ever okay for a couple to live together even though they are not married?
- Do you believe it is ever okay for a couple to have sex before marriage?
- Have you ever lied to your parents about where you were going or whom you were with because you knew they wouldn’t approve if you told the truth?
- Would you lie to your parents in order to go out with a particular guy you liked a lot if you knew you could get away with it?
- Have you ever made out with a guy just because it seemed like the thing to do?
- Are you anxious to get out from under the control of your parents and gain your freedom to pursue any relationship you want?
- Do you go into Web sites or chat rooms that you know your parents would not approve of?
- Have you ever given your phone number or physical address to a stranger you were flirting with over the Internet without your parents’ knowledge?
- Have you set rules or guidelines for your behavior or your relationships that you’ve already broken?
- Do you hide certain things, such as steamy love letters or magazines, or do you have to erase your computer’s browsing history?
Whether you are just entering puberty and new to this struggle or an experienced young adult, you can design a rock-solid defense to avoid becoming a casualty of this war. Whether you are sexually pure, hanging on to your virginity by a thread, or currently fooling around with a boy, you can maintain and/or reclaim your sexual integrity not just throughout your youth, but throughout your whole life. By learning to guard your mind, heart, and body against sexual compromise and understanding God’s plan for your sexual and emotional fulfillment, you can maneuver your way through your teenage years with grace…and without regrets.
Written by Shannon Ethridge
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