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Anna wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a teenager and a good girl. I am Roman Catholic but started watching Gossip Girl and suddenly every time I'm near a man, bad things come to my mind.

I don't want this to happen — I really don't — but they just pop into my mind! I tried to control them but I cant!

  • Is this a sin?

I was also at Mass the other day and the priest was new so he celebrated Mass really different.
I got distracted so looked at Jesus and suddenly some bad thoughts popped into my head!

I hate that!

  • Why does it happen?

I don't even want to think about these thoughts and I'm really embarrassed to tell anybody!

Please help me get rid of them. I'm really confused.

Anna

  { Why do these bad thoughts just pop into my head and how do I get rid of them? }

Paul replied:

Dear Anna,

Everybody has bad thoughts pop into their heads on a regular basis. You are not alone. This is part of being in a fallen state due to original sin. The question is:

  • How do we respond to them?
    • Do we grab hold of them and deliberately allow them to foster?
    • Do we intentionally fantasize about them in order to get physical pleasure?

Our choice in how we respond to these rogue involuntary thoughts determines whether or not there is sin involved. Perhaps you should not be so anxious about them but remain in the state of grace and just try to quickly dismiss them without dwelling on them.

Peace,

Paul

Bob replied:

Anna,

It is natural for you to start having thoughts about men in ways that a woman would — because you are becoming a woman (especially when your hormones are changing and developing). That being said, if your thoughts are going places that seem too far, you definitely want to reign them in.

You can distract yourself from them when they come up by focusing on something else. You can also talk directly to Jesus about them and let Him know that you really don't want to be thinking about unwholesome things. Knowing He has your heart will help you to feel safe and connected even when you don't feel good about yourself.

You will find it difficult to avoid all things that lead you in a bad direction but you can make smart choices about the things based on what you foresee will happen. I am not familiar with the program you mentioned but it sounds like it is probably a bad choice, especially given your struggles.

St. Paul advised us to focus on all that is good, holy, and pleasing to God. Choose something better or take up a hobby like playing a musical instrument to bring more enjoyment to your leisure time.

Ultimately, the drive you feel as a young woman is to have your heart fulfilled in mind and body. Eventually, when you are more in the age appropriate for marriage, if God is calling you to marriage, you will find a man that you could make a beautiful family with. Think about that and how your future husband would want you to be for him now. You will get through this tough age when you keep in mind there is something better on the other side. Be patient with life and with yourself.

Lastly, don't think God is displeased with you because of this struggle. He loves you and He has seen it all already in a million X million of his other daughters. He will be there for you and get you through if you keep Him close.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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