LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “abstinence”

You Don’t Always Get What You Want

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What if getting everything we want…right now…isn’t a good thing? Is there a possibility that, at least for some things, waiting a while might be a good thing? Say for instance, being promoted. Could it be beneficial to stay in your current position for a while, get really good at it, study where you want to go, devise a plan as to what you will do when you get there, then get promoted?

Does waiting for something add value to us? Does it cultivate certain talents that are useful? Is there something in the process of waiting that is a positive life lesson?

At some point I will be writing a post regarding patience as a virtue. Does the delay in gratifying our wants help strengthen patience?

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There is a famous study done in 1972 by Dr. Michael Mischel at Stanford University involving marshmallows. The study used a group of kids from the age of four to six. They were given a marshmallow, but told if they did not eat it until the researcher returned (fifteen minutes later), then they would get another one. They could however, eat the one they were given at any time, but then that is all they would get. The idea being instant gratification with the one in hand or delayed gratification with two. Six hundred children participated and one-third were able to hold out for the entire fifteen minutes and received an additional marshmallow.

In 1988 a follow-up study learned that among those who had been able to delay gratification were described by their parents as being highly competent. In 1990 they discovered the delay gratifiers had significantly higher SAT  scores. I’ll write more about this study in a later post, but isn’t it interesting this simple test was able to predict with amazing clarity the life difference between the early gratifiers and the delayed gratifiers.

So might we best served to slow down or even delay, the gratification of our wants. I am sure there are a multitude of life analogies to be drawn. I’m going to start with holding off preparing myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…but not for long.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #10–Chastity

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Years ago there was a rock band that played in the Midwest. Their name was Sex Sells Magazines. I liked the name because I thought it was true. Sex does sell magazines. It is also used to sell every conceivable product and service in the world; from toothpaste, to computers, to statistics. When I google  “sex sells”  I discover 5.7 million sites, of which a few are worth viewing.

It certainly is not news to anyone today to learn the use of sex as a marketing strategy. It has permeated every social strata and media stream. We are inundated from birth ( book entitled, Sexy Birth) to death (Sexy Death an alternative, gothic, industrial rock band from Stockholm) with concepts and images using sex to hype the sell.

But this basic act is anything but simple for us humans. We are familiar with its use as a vessel to display our most profound level of love. Unfortunately, there are those who have also used it as a method of degradation, control, confinement, addiction, and power. Sex never fails to be a much debated issue.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, will experience some type of sexual issue. Today, more than ever, the threat of sexually transmitted diseases looms large. The AIDS epidemic has taken the lives of millions and in some cultures destroyed the family structure. Unwanted pregnancies, abortions, birth control, sexual orientation, and age of consent all remain hot topics of discussion.

But what about the opposite side? What happens when we look at chastity? It seems, since it is connected to sex, it is just as inflammatory. During my research for this article I read numerous articles, books, and white papers arguing the pros and cons of abstaining from sex. Opinions ranged from; it is the answer to the humanities moral dilemma to it is ignorant and the very consideration of such an outdated concept is convincing proof of the proponents lack of intellectual reasoning.

I have found myself on both sides of this argument. At one time in my life I reasoned that “hooking up” was no big deal. After all, we were two consenting adults and what we did in private, as long as no one was physically hurt, was no one’s business. During another point, I became convinced chastity was the preferred course of action. The act of casual sex was demeaning, no matter how well intended, and was the root cause for many of society’s deepest moral pain. Of course the lines are rarely drawn so neatly. There are as many grey areas as there are people to talk about them. Everyone has an opinion.

So why in the midst of conflicting views, cultural differences, and wavering sexual orientation is chastity considered a virtue? I think the answer lies in the heart of the individual. Within each of us something extraordinarily unique that separates us from the rest of animal life. The process of sexual coupling is the most intimate act we are capable of initiating. Something transpires in the fulfillment of sex that enhances our humanity. It creates a bond between us that is traceable only in our souls. It is the mystical creation of one being. True sex is the result of true love (which is itself a current hotly debated subject, ad infinitum). It is a sacred commodity, not to be bought and sold, or passed around like a jug of Boone’s Farm. Sex is the creation of something greater than the two are apart. Chastity protects and guards the soul-life force from being used as a pawn in the brokering of heated desire in exchange for a temporary, shallow, non-fulfilling sense of satisfaction.

No doubt the comment section of this post will light up as readers share their thoughts. That is good. Open discussion of any issue is a sign of health for a society. I encourage each of you who have read this to take a few minutes and share your opinions. This was not an easy subject for me to write about ( a supreme understatement). As I noted above, my views have changed dramatically as the result of personal experience. While I have no desire to detail those experiences suffice it to say they have left deep tracks in my soul.

Be encouraged!

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