I love Instagram. I love making my pictures look pretty, and square, and using filters on pictures that need no filter. I love seeming hipster and artistic. I love sharing my life with my followers, most of which are my beloved family and friends.. But most of all, I love getting likes.

I love seeing those little hearts pop up at the bottom of my page, and once I post something, I wait at least five minutes to see who’s going to like it first, and make sure it’s a steady stream of likes. I love that people notice what I post and take the time to double tap. I know which of my posts has the most likes, and figured out what type of pictures will get the attention I so crave. I want to beat my “record of most likes on a picture”. When I’m with a friend and they’re on Instagram, I’m so offended if they don’t like my picture. Why?

We live in a world where declarations of love, or even friendship, are rare, practically non-existent. For me, a like on my Instagram photo is a declaration of appreciation, of love. But in the long run, it’s not really love. Love takes action, and two taps isn’t action.

If you love someone, don’t just like their photo. I mean, sure, go ahead if you want, but tell them, to their face, about how much they mean to you. What if Jesus simply said, “Yeah, I love you” but did nothing about it? We’d literally never be saved. Fun fact. One act of love can literally save humanity. And love is reduced to tapping your thumb twice on Jackie’s black and white selfie captioned with a tear-jerking, inspirational quote?

Love and friendship are more than liking statuses or pictures, or even commenting. It’s telling them why you love them, those little quirks and personality traits that people don’t notice.

Humanity deserves a crucifixion type love, not an Instagram love.

Reach out. Love. Really love. Love like Jesus.

The Letter Project

Last weekend, I was feeling incredibly sad. No, not sad. I was desolate. I was in my bed, just sobbing, and it felt like all of my limbs had fallen asleep. I wanted my brain to turn off, but everything that was upsetting me just kept replaying in my mind, and I kept falling further and further as my internal voice taunted me, telling me I didn’t deserve love.

But the thing is, I know I’m worthy of love, and more than that, I know I am loved! So, when I began to feel better, I called upon the people I knew loved me and asked them to do me a favor.

I asked them to write me a letter and mail it to me. My plan is to put these letters, unopened, somewhere safe. Then, whenever I feel the way I felt last weekend, I can pull out a letter and read words of love and friendship from someone I know loves me.

I’ve already gotten three letters, and I haven’t opened one yet. That’s great, but also, I really want to read what’s in them.

Know that you are so, so loved. I know that you have people in your life who would do something similar in a heartbeat, or even quicker. Those who love you want you to know their love. If you feel like this letter project is something that could help you, I urge you to reach out to your loved ones, and I know that they will respond.

There’s no such thing as a small victory.

ImageYesterday, I was super sad. Like, I climbed up in bed and cried for a good hour sad. It was not pretty. I remember when I was crying to myself, I was afraid that this meant that I was going to be in a major depression for the rest of the semester, like last year. But somehow, I was able to reach out to a friend, and told her I needed to talk.

I never did that last year. I kept it inside until it hurt, and refused to tell anyone, including my mom and therapist. But this time, I reached out and asked for help.

I referred to my ability to do that as “a small victory”, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn’t small, in the least.

I could have decided to stay in bed crying, feeling sorry for myself, instead of reaching out and asking for help. I could have resorted to self harm, which I had in the past.

But I didn’t.

That’s no small victory. That’s just… a victory. And it shows just how far I’ve come since this time last year.

There’s no such thing as a small victory. Every victory is a sign of strength in its own way. Don’t downplay your successes by calling them small. They’re awesome, and I’m proud of you!

God is too. He doesn’t require we succeed in big huge ways, every small success, He’s so proud of us. He really is. He only asks that we try.

And if you don’t succeed, He’s right there, with a hand outstretched, ready to brush you off and help you try again. Reach out to Him. He wants to love you. Don’t forget: saints are just sinners who got back up.

I’ll be praying for you, warrior. Please pray for me!

What I learned in 2013

Not all friendships last forever. Sometimes, things need to end, so you can be reminded that the only thing that lasts is God.

It’s okay if friendships end. You know that silly, cliche quote: “If one door closes, another one opens?” Sometimes, that’s really true, and sometimes, you realize that door wasn’t so wonderful from the outside as it was from the inside.

Don’t settle for “good enough”. Always strive for better. Are you happy with your group of friends? Make new ones. Are you happy with that B in your lit class? Aim for that B+. Going to mass on Sundays and doing fine? Add confession, daily prayer, adoration and/or daily mass into the mix.

There are things that you have no control over. That’s okay, too. Sometimes, you can physically do nothing, but don’t lose hope.

Never underestimate the power of prayer. God loves His children, and He hears their cries and their petitions. He will comfort them.

This year was full of lessons, and I am excited to find out what God has in store for me in 2014!

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever find that perfect little place I belong at school.

I have no doubt that I’m supposed to be at the Mount. God has given me signs upon signs upon signs… but sometimes it’s hard to be here.

I see groups of people always together, always hanging out. I used to have that, but then I screwed up. Or maybe I didn’t. But things changed. I changed.

Last spring was a mess, I was sobbing in bed on a daily basis. I would have bet on my soul that nobody cared.

This year is better, but it’s still tough. I mean, it’s still the beginning, so things can change, and I think they will. But right now it’s tough. There’s never enough room for me to be able to do things with my friends, or I’m just not invited.

They don’t have to spend every waking moment with me. Hell, I hate doing that. But sometimes it’d be nice to be included instead of feeling like you’re intruding on something.

I’m praying that I’ll find my niche, I know God will show it to me, and that I’ll find it. I just sometimes wish that His timing was more like my own.