So here we go. How, in this sex-crazed, pleasure-seeking world do guys and gals committed to waiting make it?
We already established being careful about the WHO and the WHEN and the WHERE is crucial to an abstinence or renewed abstinence commitment. But unless you take a serious look at the HOW you’re almost doomed to fail. Because it’s the HOW that brings it all together. The HOW meshes all of those super necessary tips and strategies into a plan of action, a game plan.
You see, the very best of intentions, the firmest of commitments will far short if it ends there. The commitment is the FIRST step not the last. It’s just the beginning.
Maybe you’ve strengthened your commitment with a purity ring or pledge or a contract with your parents. All good things. But it takes more than a name on the dotted line to protect your choice to wait. It’s a helpful SECOND step, but a promise alone won’t cut it. Now couple the pledge or ring with accountability—even better add mentoring to the mix —and now we’re getting somewhere. But even these well-intentioned steps must be followed up with a serious game plan detailing the HOW.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I have to say it. Purity pledges and rings and contracts often fail. Why do they fail? Because too often it’s a “one and done” proposition. One discussion or ceremony followed by silence. Little or no accountability. Nothing.
We nailed down the expectations, right? So we’re good, right?
WRONG! In fact nothing could be further from the truth.
A ring won’t protect you if you date the wrong people, hang out in the wrong places OR fail to set boundaries. Because it’s not the pledge or contract that protects you and your virginity. It’s the insistence on wise choices to limit the temptations—even the opportunity for temptation—that will protect your commitment.
Now, I’m not suggesting you chuck your purity ring or tear up your pledge. Absolutely not. Rather shine up that ring and wear it daily. Take every opportunity to honestly answer, “What’s the ring about?” Never hide it or pretend it doesn’t have a purpose. Wear it with pride everywhere you go.
Do you have a copy of the pledge or contract you sighed? If not create a duplicate. Er… how about several duplicates? Then post a copy in multiple prominent places. Give one of the copies to someone you trust and respect—a parent, teacher, friend, coach, pastor, older brother or sister—and ask that person to hold you accountable. Which mean you’re giving this person permission to ask, frequently, “How you doin’ with that commitment?” And you promise to be totally honest. Often as in once a week or so.
Accountability will strengthen your ability to walk away before the temptation overwhelms you. Why? Because someone you care about who cares about you will be checking up on you. What this person says and thinks matters to you. And that’s a very good thing.
Mentoring takes accountability a step further. Set-up regular times to talk but not about the weather. Be open to their advice, don’t shy away from the deep, personal stuff and you will grow as a person.
Don’t be one of the many who slip over the abstinence cliff because you skipped the HOW.
Our game plan isn’t finished yet, and we can’t talk about the HOW without the addressing the whole issue of ‘how far is too far?’ So stay tuned.