When We Live For Him

by Sherley Vo

Growing up, my parents always made sure that we knew they loved us and were proud of us, and I made the effort to keep it that way. My parents were faithful so naturally, I grew up in the church community and was very involved, and so were my closest friends. This pleased my parents and I developed the reputation as the good Catholic girl who did all things “church”.

So, when I moved to Ottawa for university, I wanted to find a church and continue to be involved. But, I quickly became immersed in the university life: going to class, studying, joining clubs, and partying. My social life became a huge priority because the new group of friends I was now hanging out with, that was what they did. But I kept telling myself, “as long as you’re making it to Mass on Sunday, you’re good.” At this point, this was the extent of my faith. I continued life like this all throughout first and second year.  I started to realize that something was missing. There was a void because although I was going to church, I wasn’t living a Christian life. There were areas of sin I couldn’t let go of because they offered me temporary satisfaction. Ultimately, I was trying to please my friends. I wanted to be known as the girl you can have fun with and I felt like I had to do these things to keep that reputation.  My faith was barely there and although I realized this, I wasn’t making any effort to change it.

In the beginning of my 3rd year, I was encouraged to sign up for a faith study with CCO. I still remember “Lesson 1: God’s Love.”  I thought to myself, “Oh, I know all about this.” because my whole life, I’ve heard the sayings, “God loves you.” “Jesus loves you.” over and over again. And I thought I knew what that meant. What I didn’t know, was just how personal His love is for ME, Sherley Vo. So personal that He wants a relationship with me, and I realized that my Catholic faith is based on this relationship with Jesus. After each lesson, my desire to learn more about what this meant not only grew, I became aware of just how much I needed it. In this study, I was invited to put Christ at the centre of my life and for the first time ever, I said YES to this invitation. I remember praying the prayer and thinking, “This is what I really want, what I truly desire- to know Jesus.” This decision changed my life. I started to actually pray, not just before I ate or  on Sundays, but, daily and consistently. Although there were struggles, I was able to let go of the aspects of my life that were causing me to live in sin.  I was no longer caught up in figuring out which party or club I was going to be at on the weekends, or the girls or guys I wanted to impress. My life was no longer an exhausting, repeating cycle of God only being a Sunday thought after a week of “living my life”. He started to become a part of everything I did and this brought me true joy. I was living and loving life because I was making God a priority.

My relationship with God became more important than my relationships with my friends or anybody else, and what others thought of me wasn’t so important anymore. I  stopped trying to get everyone’s approval, and accept that it was how God saw me that really mattered- as His beloved daughter.

Ever since I made the decision to let Jesus into my life, I’ve come to truly appreciate the traditions of the Church, and God has never failed to surprise me with His love for me and how fulfilling life is when we live for Him.

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