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Finding Love In All The Right Places

A joke amongst my friends is how obsessed I am with love. In fact, if you asked them to impersonate me, I can almost guarantee that every one of them would respond in a high pitch voice saying, "I LOVE, LOVE".

Since I can remember, all I have ever dreamed of is love. Every time I watch a romantic comedy, I pretend I am the main character and live vicariously through them experiencing the highs and lows of love. But ultimately every time, except for "Me before You", which kills me, there's a happily ever after. With that obsession has come my need of wanting to be loved by everyone around me. In friendships and romantic relationships, I am a people pleaser by nature.

Above all else I crave that relationship with my person. The person I can call at all hours of the day to talk about whatever is on my mind and heart while listening to their every thought as well. My person to join me in the most crazy adventures of life or simply trying the new Thai restaurant down the street. My person who looks at me and thinks, "wow, she's mine."

I've searched and searched. I've dated a few boys in the process, gotten my heart broken more times than I can count, and every time have fallen short. It wasn't until recently when a good friend of mine said, "So, how long will it be this time before you're dating someone new?" that it really hit me what my pattern was. An innocent comment meant as a joke stopped me right in my tracks. From the beginning of my time here on earth I couldn't tell you the last time I didn't have a crush on a boy, was trying to talk to a boy, or was dating someone. I've never truly been just me, solo.

In that moment I decided I was determined to be single for "at least six months" to have time for myself. HA six months?! What is that? A fleck of dust in time? That's absolutely nothing. Who was I kidding? Even with that unrealistic goal in mind it lurched me towards more me time. I started investing in my friendships. I started recognizing the people I had been surrounding myself with, but that also unfortunately lead to some more heartbreak.

When you take a step back sometimes, you realize that those people who were your life weren't really what you needed, nor were you what they needed, but you were just too busy to notice. When you keep everything at surface level all the time it's easy to be friends with everyone! But is that true friendship? Of course not. During this time of singleness I realized how many great things I had been missing out on being so obsessed with finding my "soul mate". Even after all of these great realizations though, I still wasn't happy. I was empty and lonely. I was deeply saddened. I remember thinking to myself "Why am I feeling this way? Why can't I just be happy when I have so many amazing things in my life right now?".

Well guess where I went next? You guessed it! After 4 months of being single I thought okay I've been single long enough! Obviously I need "my person" still to make me happy. So I started looking around and searching. I quickly realized there was no one in my life that I was attracted to in that way. Did I have some amazing guy friends? Of course! And I cherish them for being the amazing people that they are, but usually where I could create feelings or excitement over someone, I just couldn't. It really confused me and upset me thinking something I used to be so good at was also gone now. I really was lonely. Was I ever going to find someone?

Being away at college allows for some amazing maturing and growing up, but at the same time you still need your parents for guidance. I value my parents opinion about everything in my life and I have finally reached the age where I've discovered, "Dang it, they've been right about pretty much everything so far." As hard as that is to admit, it's also a blessing to finally break away from your teenage rebellion years and to become life partners with your parents. They're not just the people who gave you life, no big deal or anything, but they will be your best friends if you let them. With this discovery I've always realized that it is when I spend time with my parents that I truly feel like I can get back on my feet again. I always feel like I can take over the world even after just a few days with them. They helped refuel me with all that love that I felt I had been missing.

Even though I've known where their strength comes from and I've dabbled here and there in the Bible study life, I have never been consistent. I feel like I would easily identify myself as a "luke warm christian". Something churned in me all through Christmas break spent with my family. I tried to fight it, I tried to tell myself I could handle it alone just as I have told myself my whole entire life, but I couldn't be at rest.

My mother is incredible and without force invites God into our lives everyday. She constantly sends us devotions, bible verses, encouraging words, etc and more so that we will have that daily dose of God. I guess since she does that I wrote that off as "oh okay here's my God time for the day" totally missing the point. Well, my mom recognizing mu struggle kept telling me about this book "Uninvited" written by Lysa Terkuerst. I had told her I was going to read it but hadn't gotten around to it. It sat on the counter right where we keep our keys and everyday I saw it and ignored the urge to read it. Finally, on my last day of Christmas break feeling anxious about being on my own again and feeling lonely, I gave in. I woke up early that Monday with not a plan in the world, I went to Starbucks to grab my Chai Tea Latte, and I sat down and read.

By the end of the day I was half way done with the book and feeling more whole and happy than I had felt in a year. I finally had given in to my pride, my own desires, and my own plans to spend time reflecting on God and his plans for me. I knew after that faithful Monday that it was time to give up on me and say yes to him. I didn't know what was to come, I didn't know what my life would look like, but I knew that only good was going to come from this. Would it be hard? Of course. Would it be worth it? 100%.

That brings me to today. Only a few weeks into this change but I've realized a few key things I'd love to share with you:

1) Being a Christian isn't about following the motions. It's not about reading the daily devotion, it's not about the public imagine I want to present to others about my Christianity, and it's not about trying to live so straight-laced that I never sin ever. Being a Christian is about your relationship with God. Those daily things you do are to get you in the right mindset to receive God's message for you! Unless you pray to God for guidance, for him to reveal himself to you through his word, or really act out what you are reading then what's the point of reading that devotion? I feel as though so many people, myself included, think "Okay, I've checked of A B and C! Christianity for the day, done!" But there is such a bigger picture to all of this. That leads me to my next discovery....

2) Being a Christian isn't about acting just like Jesus, being a Christian is letting Jesus act through you. I read at some point that the key to this is not to imitate Jesus but rather embrace Jesus. Jesus is perfect, we are not. Because of him though God sees us wrapped in beautiful, pure, and clean cloth that in God's eyes makes us perfect to him. We need to take pride in that! And in turn we need to appreciate it by allowing God to work through us. To change us from the outside in so that we aren't focusing on the motions of being like Jesus but rather it becomes second nature to respond like Jesus. That means before hate, we respond with love. Before anger, we respond with Grace. Before jealousy, we respond with excitement for others successes. All of those are extremely difficult to do and will we fail? Of course we will but if we are constantly seeking God's guidance we will get closer and closer to living the lives we are meant to live.

3) That brings me to my last and I believe biggest discovery: I now know why all these years I have been so obsessed with love. I can watch engagement or wedding videos of people I have never even met and bawl like a baby over their happiness. This whole time I've thought I was crying because I wanted to be them. I now realize I was crying because of God. In 1 John 4:19 it reads "We love because He first loved us". This love I've been feeling, craving, and obsessing over is not of a worldly dimension. I haven't been able to find it because I've been putting my energy searching in the wrong places. The love I so crave and need has been knocking at my door for 20 years. It's been waiting to wrap me up in the warmest hug I've ever felt and it has been ready to fill every empty space in my heart that I've been struggling with for so long. God has been waiting for this day. Sure it's something you hear and learn about, but let me tell you what, it's a whole different level to feel it to your core. As I sit here and write this I feel like I've just reached the part of the Rom Com when the guy presents his grand romantic gesture and he waits as his dream girl makes her final decision. Will they ride off into the sunset or will she reject him? Well, I'm here to tell you that in the classic fashion of every romantic comedy, I am choosing to say yes! I am riding off into the sunset with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit towards my happily ever after! And I truly believe it's mine to have if I so choose and that is the most wonderful thing about our Lord. After all of these years of being a Luke warm Christian and going through so many peeks and valleys, a normal human would have given up on me, but not Him. He accepts me just as he will accept YOU with open arms into the greatest Love Story ever written.

From this day on I choose to accept the love that God has for me. I choose to invest in my relationship with him as I would invest in a relationship with "my person" on earth. He is now and has forever been my person. My person to talk to about anything at all in my head without judgement, my person to go on the this crazy roller coaster of life with, and above all else my person who looks at me and says "Wow, she's mine." How amazing is that? To me, it makes me cry tears of joy and do a little happy dance! I have finally found the love of my life. My true source of happiness, my true source of joy, and my true source of feeling whole!

Do I still hope I find a guy to marry and start a family with one day? Of course! But at this point, I am letting go of my own desires and agendas. In a great sermon my Mom shared with me recently the pastor, Chris Galanos, said "God has no trouble bringing two people together." So, when it's time for that it'll happen but until then I am going to enjoy this amazing, perfect, wonderful and never ending love story I am finally accepting to be apart of! God's timing is perfect and I trust that whatever he has planned for me, whether it's marriage or single-hood, is going to be amazing!

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