“For a long time, I idolized relationships and the possibility of getting married,” said Katy Arguello. “I sought my worth and security in relationships, choosing to value the opinion of man over a real, abiding relationship with Christ. But when I finally began a relationship, rather than discovering happiness and fulfillment, I found myself anxious, isolated, and preoccupied with what others thought of me.
“Because I grew up in a Christian household, I learned about Christ very early. I was grateful to grow up surrounded by others who loved Jesus. I clearly remember being assured of my salvation one night at summer camp. My camp counselor asked me, ‘If you were to die tonight, on a scale from one-to-ten, how sure are you that you would go to Heaven?’ I told her that I was ‘nine-and-three-quarters’ because I doubted that I’d go to Heaven. She asked me what I believed, and I told her that I believed God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins. I confessed that I was a sinner and needed Him as my Savior to have eternal life with God. She encouraged me that what I said meant I could confidently say I was a ‘ten’ on the scale. And while I was assured of my eternal life with Christ, I didn’t grasp the importance of a personal relationship with Him. Now looking back, I can see how this effected so many areas of my life.
“Fast forward to college where I found a boyfriend. He lived away from my friends, so it was easy to compartmentalize my life and parts of our relationship so I could look like the perfect Christian. Because relationships were such an idol in my life, I overlooked red flags and crossed boundaries throughout our time dating. When that relationship ended, I realized that because I spent my college years so focused on my boyfriend, I’d missed out on an opportunity to deepen my relationship with Christ and enjoy one of the best aspects of life with Christ: community.
“In my early 20s I had no idea what it was like to live in a deeply authentic and biblical community. I would bend and mold to the people I was surrounded by in different seasons, quick to hide parts of me that didn’t align – including my past relationship. Things started to shift when I joined a local church and heard people openly and honestly share their struggles and how their relationships with Christ pulled them through. I was blown away with how God worked through each of them and how they weren’t ashamed of their stories.
“At this point, I hadn’t told anyone about my sin struggles. It was hard to open up and share about my past relationship and struggle with perfectionism. But when I did, I experienced freedom and forgiveness. I felt like so much weight had lifted off my shoulders. My friend’s grace-filled response was rooted in Christ and she reminded me of God’s Word. Through His people, I learned that God can be even more glorified when you admit your sins and mistakes.
“I started to apply what I learned in Scripture to my everyday life and saw the fruit of wholeheartedly following after Jesus. I learned it is okay to not be perfect or look like the rest of the world. I don’t have to find security or worth in marriage or my relationships because Christ already loves me. There is so much freedom and peace knowing God is in control and has a plan for your life. I became a lot more confident in my faith once I brought all of my worries and fears to Him, instead of obsessing over being a perfect person on my own.
“Now that I am married, I know my marriage isn’t meant to be about me but about God. My husband’s love of other people and his boldness for Christ really encourages me to step out in faith. I am so glad I was in a spiritually healthy relationship with Christ before Nico and I started dating. Now, I am seeing how God can be glorified through two people in a marriage. As we continue to live in community, we are encouraged to be forward and honest with each other always. We know each other’s struggles. We’ve seen each other at our worst, but we see each other’s potential and encourage each other to grow closer to the Lord.
“I come back to Psalm 34:4-5 often. When I decided to turn my life and follow Christ, He took away my fears and cleansed me of my sin. My prayer is that I would live unashamed and that my life would be a reflection of God’s love for us.
“If I could talk to myself in college, I would say, ‘Find your identity in Christ alone and not in other people or what they think of you. Take your faith in Christ seriously and dive into a deep, intimate relationship with God. If you believe in the Bible and that Christ came to save you, you should live your life in a way that is fully honoring to Him. And even when you sin or are less-than-perfect, He is and always will be faithful.’”