This is something I have been meaning to write for a very long time, and now, about four months after I had the inspiration to write it, I finally know what to say.
Over the summer I heard a priest give a homily that was everything I needed to hear. He questioned the parish youth: "What really matters?"
Right now, it may seem that a public image matters; for example, looking perfect one hundred percent of the time. Or having more friends than anyone. Or making sure you get that next like on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. Or maybe it's the constant need to be at the top of the class all the time. Well let me tell you, none of that matters. Like, at all.
What matters is authenticity and how authentic you are to your Creator. God doesn't care about what you look like or what grades you get, and He most certainly doesn't care about something as insignificant as 167 likes on that selfie with the dog filter. What He does care about is your love for Him. He didn't die on that cross just because. He died specifically for YOU. Yeah let me say that again. He did it for you. As in, He knows and understands that maybe right now He isn't at the forefront of your mind, and He knows you're going to party next weekend. Or He knows the anger, jealousy, and insecurity you have in your heart; and all of this saddens Him deeply. But all He wants is to embrace you and look into your eyes and softly whisper, "I love you," despite all of your attempts to push Him away. He just wants you to know that He loves you, and that there is no reason to feel this way or do these things all in the name of image or for another person. None of that actually matters.
Think about it, we spend countless hours trying to define our "aesthetic" or our online presence or even our presence in real life as a certain way. We say we hate labels, yet we strive to own them. Because that is what we are conditioned to do. It's the instant gratification that we're used to. But it's all so meaningless in the eyes of our Father. The world has lost the idea of authenticity, and most young people struggle with it, leading to insecurity and a fixation on vanity and approval. We need to forget about that and be the young individuals that God intended us to be, because that's what matters. That's all that matters -- being ourselves and being comfortable with that; falling in love with our raw selves and, by extension, falling in love with God. It's hard, and it stretches you in ways you never thought possible. But the beauty of Him looking on you with love and pride as He sees you reveling in His creation, just as He intended for you -- that is what matters.