This advent has been quite the journey. It's journey that I'm honestly so excited about that my heart is leaping out of my chest as I type this to you. It all started with the decision to focus on God right now. To take some time, be single, and chase Him rather than chasing cute boys. Now, it was much easier said than done. Naturally, when we lose something, we try to replace it. So as much as I was praying and saying that I was focusing on God, the dream of my future husband would take over my mind. I would be at mass, look over, see a cute boy and think "maybe it's him!" I know it sounds kind of crazy, but it's true. Instead of looking at what God has to offer and how God can satisfy me, I was painting this picture of my Jesus-loving, tall, handsome, loving future husband that God has handpicked for me and who would bring so much joy into my life. Rather, I should be looking at the Hero in my life who already does that for me. Now I'm not going to lose the hope of my future husband, I know he's out there and I will keep praying for him. And it is natural for me to desire and seek the mate God has in mind for me because that's the vocation I'm called to and the desire that He has placed in my heart. However, there comes a time when the thought of a good thing becomes too much. And that's what happened with me. So advent started and I began to realize this. God started knocking on my heart and I knew that my focus really needed to change and that I needed to mean it. I heard some really great homilies that challenged me and made me think. Generally all were talking about preparing the way of the Lord. This may mean by being the light of Christ to others. Or preparing our hearts and changing something in our life in order to get to Him. I kept hearing these hidden messages that God was saying to me. I felt Him calling me to more. I had this desire to take the next step in my faith, but I was unsure how to go about it or what to do. But then they all came together. My school was offering adoration one night from 9pm-12am. At 11:30, while in the midst of studying for finals, I remembered this and I ran to the chapel. On my way to the chapel, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy; like a little kid about to enter a candy store. Once I got in there, an overwhelming sense of peace and emotion took over. I was in awe. I sat there are started talking to Jesus. But as I started to pray, I realized that I tend to say the same things over and over. And then I realized that something needs to change. That was it. I realized that I needed to change. Not the circumstances that surrounded me, but me. And at that moment, I prayed the scariest yet most peace-bringing prayer that I've ever prayed; "God, change me." And right there, for the first time in my life, I felt that I was able to wholeheartedly, fearlessly, undoubtedly willing to let God change me. I understood that the only thing holding me back from a deeper relationship with God was me. And with this, a desire to grow in faith and grow closer to and serve God consumed my heart. I realized that I need to do more and make more of an effort in my relationship with God if I want to grow closer to Him. I need to prepare my heart for His way.
Now, this isn't just a "one and done" kind of change. It's a change that I'm going to work on for the rest of my life and until I'm Home with my Heavenly Father. I'm going to have to constantly have to prepare my heart for His way and change in order to grow closer to Him. It's not going to be easy, but every step will be taken with God right by my side. Like any relationship, a relationship with God takes effort, time, and patience. That means making time for Him throughout the day, spending time with Him at night, even going out of my comfort zone in order to dive deeper. And even praying for my future husband will help lead me to Him. I'm learning to be completely satisfied in Him and Him alone, even if that means being rejected by this world.
If you have a desire to grow closer to God, don't hold yourself back. Christmas isn't about presents. But it's about the best Gift that was given to us. Prepare your heart to receive the Gift God has given us. And if you feel that something inside of you needs to change, don't be afraid to do it, even if that means the disapproval of people. God will bless your life in ways that are totally unimaginable. But you have to be the one that wants it. You have to make the decision to let Him in. You have to take the next steps in your faith. I could type about the wonders of God's love and how amazing life with Him is until my fingers fall off; but at the end of the day, you are the one who decides whether you want that or not. This is an invitation. "God loves us just as we are, but too much to leave us that way." Don't be satisfied with the bare minimum. God has so much more in store for you than that. He has better plans in mind for you. Do you want to be a part of them? Prepare your heart for the way of the Lord and He will rock your world. Trust Him, seek Him. I promise you won't regret it.