I had been dating this guy for 1 year already. Although several times I had found myself in the chapel, knowing deep in my soul that my life was not created to be with this guy… I still clung on to him. I found myself praying to God:
“God, I know being with this guy is not going to help me to be pure. I know he is bringing me away from you… I know I shouldn’t be with him, but I really love him and I find it so hard to let him go. If you don’t want me to be with him, please, make him break up with me.”
After many disagreements in our views of the future, he broke up with me. I knew that break up happened for me. I knew I was on my way towards healing. And so I promised God that I would take a dating fast and dedicate the whole year to Him.
2016, the Year of Mercy
For years I had an addiction to masturbation and four years ago I had fallen into an addiction to pornography. But I didn’t need healing just for my sexual brokenness. There were so many emotional wounds that I had not dealt with: wounds of anxiety and loneliness that I had been experiencing for years and I had been suppressing through my sexual addictions. In 2016 Pope Francis announced the Year of Mercy and I knew this would be the year I would open myself to God’s healing mercy. The only way for me to open myself to His healing was to take a dating fast and focus on Him alone.
I rekindled my relationship with God
At the beginning of the dating fast I struggled with the thought of being single. But I reminded myself of the reason why I was doing this: so I could rekindle my relationship with God. The reason I was sexually broken and I was emotionally wounded was because I was so far away from God. I was relying so much on the pleasures of this world that I forgot of the blessing of God’s presence in my life.
In a way, I was taking time that year to “date” Jesus and get to know God’s Love and Mercy through Him. I attended mass daily, I prayed morning and night, I contemplated on Jesus’s life through the mysteries of the rosary as well as the bible and spiritual reading. I saw Him each week at the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament so I would have an hour of personal time with Him. The more I did all these, the more I got to know Him. The more I got to know Him, the more I understood Him. The more I understood Him, the more I fell in love with Him. The more I fell in love with Him, the more I wanted to give my life to Him. The more I wanted to give my life to Him, the less I needed to rely on the worldly pleasures.
I saw myself as God sees me
To be honest, my journey through my dating fast did not run smoothly at the beginning. For the first 6 months I was battling my weak and wounded nature. I would fail at practicing the virtue of chastity repeatedly, finding myself lusting after boys I would meet, indulging in impure thoughts, masturbating every now and then. I struggled so much with this weakness of impurity that I would fall into despair, hating myself for my weakness.
One day I came across Fr. Jacques Philippe’s The Way of Trust and Love, where he talks about St Therese of Lisieux’s way to sanctification. I learned from her that weaknesses are not something to despise. Our weaknesses are not burdens. Our weaknesses are reminders of our dependence on God’s grace. For the first time I saw myself not as the sum of my weaknesses but – as St Pope John Paul II once put it – as the sum of the Father’s Love for me. God loves my imperfect self. God loves me with my imperfections and He wants me to make use of them as a way towards Heaven.
I trusted that God knows what’s best for me
During my dating fast I learned to love God and also His Love for me. I learned that the Catholic faith is not just a bunch of rules to follow or you’ll go to Hell, but it is the way Jesus showed us where we will find the real happiness and love that God wanted for us. I learned that God created me out of love and for love. As my God and Creator He knows me best, and therefore knows what’s best for me. I learned that I can trust Him in all things that life throws my way. I learned that I could be wrong in my ways but that there is always hope to turn back towards the path of love God has forged for us.
Rather than looking for the guy I thought would make me happy, I trusted God that He would unite me with the man He knew would bring me real happiness and real love. Right at the end of my dating fast, God introduced that man into my life and I feel blessed every single day. By rekindling my relationship with Him, realising His Love for me and learning to trust in Him again I have found more love and blessings that I could have ever discovered if I had done life on my own terms.
Know that God has your back too. He wants Eternal Joy, Love and Peace for your life too. If you trust in Him, He will not disappoint you.
Saint John Paul II, intercede for me.
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, intercede for me.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, intercede for me.
Mother Mary, Mother of Pure Love, pray for me.