what are you living for?

Call me crazy but about a month ago I decided to go on a dating fast.

You may be asking: What even is that? Why the heck would you do that?

Well, in short, my days were consumed with thinking about the perfect guy. With wondering if every guy who crossed my path was “the one.” With every new guy at work and I thought, “Wow, I have to look nice today because this could be him!” I would do my makeup and make sure I was wearing my nicer work shirt, you know? Now, looking back, that’s so silly. If he is “the one” he will eventually see me at my worst, so why am I trying to be someone I’m not? But then I would get disappointed when they chose someone else over me. Like seriously? I did my makeup for them! I put on my ‘I’m so bubbly and fun and giggly act’ for them!

But the most important reason for this dating fast was at some point in the past couple months I had seriously pushed Jesus to the back burner. My relationship with him was slipping through the cracks of my fingers as I spent more and more time seeking out earthly relationships. I woke up day in and day out putting all my energy into what made me most attractive to guys.

Even though this fast isn’t over, I have learned so much in such a short amount of time and I just wanted to share a few of the little things:

The Lord’s love is boundless. Here I was spending every waking moment of my day searching for love and affirmation. I was trying to find the perfect guy, the one who loved me for my flaws and imperfections, who would never walk away, who would bend over backwards for me. My fragile heart was getting more and more lost in the lie that no one loves me, that other girls are more desirable than I. I would go home and throw myself in to my bed feeling like the biggest piece of crap because I thought today was the day: today was the day my makeup and outfit were so perfect I had to be noticed. The internal battle turned ugly — and then it hit me. All these things I was looking for — perfect love, dedication, to be pursued — these were things the Lord was trying to give to me each and every day; I was just pushing them away. His love is the perfect love, the unfailing love, the relentless love.

Mercy is real. If you loved someone unconditionally and would do anything for them, but they continually pushed you away, you would be pretty pissed. Forgiveness wouldn’t be easy. I remember one time I had this friend who I just wanted to love and she continued to push me away. It took all my will power not to give up on her. Well, that’s exactly what I was doing to Jesus. I was like “Hey, Lord. You just stay over there and I’ll come to you when its convenient. But you’re not what I want right now.” Then, when it was convenient for me and I had exhausted all my other resources, I finally went to him. And there he stood with open arms. He didn’t care I had ignored him for so long. He was just so happy to have me back. I remember walking out of the chapel earlier this week in tears. My heart was overflowing with joy and peace because the Lords mercy is so incredibly real and he desires nothing more than for us to receive that mercy.

Be yourself. I spent everyday trying to be someone I’m not. I saw the girls everyone wanted to be like or the celebrities on magazine covers and tried to make myself just like them. I dyed my hair because guys like blondes better, right? I didn’t have my own personal style because my style was what everyone else was wearing. My desire to be like everyone else left me feeling trapped. When I took the pressure to be in a relationship off of myself, my whole view of myself changed. I began to love me for who I am. I wanted my natural hair back. I started to peel off the mask I had been wearing. I let my quirks shine through. And this is the most free I have ever felt.

So whether you are single, dating, or married, remember to always be yourself. Love yourself for who you are and don’t conform to society. Know that the perfect love each of our hearts desire is found in Christ alone and he gives to us people on this Earth through which he shines that love and light. Lastly, always remember that mercy and forgiveness is real. It is never too late to seek it.

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire” -St. Catherine of Sienna

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