The Catfish & The Counterfeit – Guest Blogger – Vonda Royal

*DISCLAIMER- I am not perfect, I do not know all the answers, and I’m still trying to get a grip on this thing called life myself!
So, sit back and have a bag of chips and cold cola (because I can’t, so let me live vicariously through you…shalom) enjoy!

We are timelessly surrounded by unsocialized “social media’s” that teaches us that it’s ok to be best friends with an electronic device and completely ignore humanity around us. (It’s not ok, I do it too.) So pretty much anything you set your cute little heart to you can accomplish with just couple clicks of a button (because one isn’t enough and MORE IS MORE!). I’d love to say that I have a handle on this but I don’t. That’s it, BUT I have come to learn that with all that surrounds me and the world I live in the wrong click can lead you down a path that you never thought you’d ever know the route to.

My battle growing was always falling for the counterfeit, heck sometimes as an adult I STILL DO! Does it mean that I am more imperfect? Yes! (CUE JESUS!) Being imperfect is the best thing to be. Now, knowing that I’m settling in the perfection of who God is, my rescuer.

I had found myself at a very young age (about 10 yrs old) watching pornography and feeling enticed by what I thought was love. I did not think that was something that would go with me into my adulthood. I remember going to youth church and then coming home and watching it, then immediately I would run into the bathroom and sit on the side of the tub and cry and pray to God to forgive me for watching it. I was empty, broken, and felt unloved. I would surround myself with things that I thought was love, whether it was music, movies, or even people. I SO BADLY looked for love as if it was an item I could place in my cart and purchase from Amazon. I quickly learned it wasn’t, I learned that love is death, life, and eternal. Love is Jesus. I was falling for the counterfeit of love which was actually dressed up as lust, perfumed with idolatry, and smiled as addiction. I had years I battled in my mind of being parched to the thought of not being enough to love. Now, don’t get me wrong I have always been loved by so many people and it was very healthy and full. It wasn’t the love I wanted, I wanted the love of man to tell me that I was enough and to caress me with the time and words that the world could keep no count of.

In my dysfunction, searching for “love” was at the top of my list, I mean I searched hard to find it and I couldn’t. True love found me, true love kept me, in the nights where I would sit and watch porn for HOURS, love sat next to me in the room I was in and interceded for me. True love spoke so loud to me the counterfeit went mute. Jesus (who I was searching for ) had met me right where I was, and never left me. There was always Him in the back of mind and heart saying “Just let it go, its not real love.” It took me a long time to break from that, I was so inclined to my search and what temporarily satisfied me that I didn’t look left or right to see that Jesus true love was fighting for me.

Now you’re probably wondering…”Vonda?”, the catfish? Yes, I’m sure we’ve all seen that show, where people meet up online and “fall in love” with the person they are talking to but can’t seem to 100% trust. I always thought it was crazy not that fact that the person who was investing all of their time, energy, emotions, and monetary resources (at times) did not trust who they were speaking with. I mean come on! If you don’t trust who you are so in love with then why proceed further into a relationship with that person? Then it clicked, every person on that show was looking for the same exact thing, they wanted to know the truth. Some people had honest outcomes, while others didn’t but they all got the answer they were looking for, the truth. The main question in looking I feel for every person wasn’t “How come you’re not as invested in this relationship as I?” I feel it was “What truth are you afraid of?”

I will say, for me in those years of dabbling with Pornography, I “catfished” myself. I was afraid to face my own truths of letting people know this was my sin and my pain. So I catered to porn instead of cultivating my relationship with Jesus and building up strong accountability around me. I would lie to myself and say “This is the last time.” I would even repent time and time again, then go right back into it. I was afraid of me, and what I would find out deeper within myself, I was that online person looking for love and wanting answers, as well as being the person who was just telling myself everything a counterfeit would say. I was hiding from me, but then I came to know Truth (Jesus) a little bit more. The more I got to know Him, I got to know me. I didn’t find myself in a religion, I found myself in a real relationship with a man who said I was worth dying for and did it. When I began to face me, I began to ask God why, what my patterns were, and what my triggers were. I mean we went to the root, so much so I had to forgive people from my past in my childhood! I definitely found freedom in that process, it was hard but necessary. Don’t allow yourself to suppress your struggles with religion, it’ll only kill you. Instead, be vulnerable in asking God the tough questions and be willing to get to the root of things. Deliverance will not happen over-night, but the peace of God will. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ” (NKJV) In order for this to happen there needs to be a shedding away of the old things, like the old way of thinking and living. You have to change the environment of your mind (renew it) before you can activate the physical environment around you. Jesus changes us from the inside out, religion “maintains” you from the outside in. Religion targets the mind of man, but a relationship with the Father targets the spirit of man. Like me and where I was in that sin lost and deprived of what I thought I needed to fulfill me, there is hope and real love waiting for you!

– Vonda Royal