I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. Basically the past ten years. I went through middle school immersed in the “true love waits/kiss dating goodbye” Christian culture, so I spent a lot of my younger years thinking that crushing on a boy was inherently wrong. In my little twelve year old mind, I often equated crushing on a boy with sin.
Now, don’t misread me. I’ve seen the ways the Lord used a lot of what I learned back in my younger years to teach me about His love and increase my value in the discipline of waiting. I don’t know that I would have the relationship I have with Jesus if it hadn’t been for the past ten years of pursuing Him and, way more than that, watching Him pursue me. The value of learning to fight for an undistracted love for the Lord spans beyond words.
However, I’ve since realized that there’s a difference between having an uncontested, unrivaled love for the Lord and running from things that He could potentially use to draw me to Himself (or draw others to Himself). There’s a difference between my obedience and pursuit of Christ’s righteousness, and the way I can hold myself to some standard of holiness that is more legalistic and harmful than it is Biblical. There’s a difference between being consumed, obsessed, or finding identity in a boy and having a crush.
Sometimes the Lord puts people on our hearts to pray for them. Sometimes the Lord opens our eyes to things He is doing in other people’s lives. Sometimes people just catch our eye. It can get a little confusing when all of those things revolve around a guy and you aren’t sure what you are feeling. It can be difficult for me to discern what is Jesus and what is my own desire. But here’s the conclusion I’ve come to: Jesus uses it all for His glory. The thing is, I’m an almost 21 year old woman. Boys occupy a signifiant portion of my thoughts. It doesn’t mean I’m not confident, independent, or content in Jesus; it just means I’m a normal young woman with a lot of hormones (can I get an amen?). Instead of running away when a crush finds its uninvited (and usually untimely) way into my heart, I’ve started running it to Jesus. Asking Him what He’s teaching me in the middle of it. Laughing with Him when it’s funny (’cause it always is). Crying with Him when it’s frustrating. Praying for others when they come to mind. Learning to embrace the story He’s writing, with however many hilarious or confusing twists and turns He chooses to throw in along the way.
Because, strange as it may sound, I’ve realized recently that having a crush often leads me closer to Jesus. I learn Biblical truths every time some guy catches my attention and makes my heart beat a little faster. So, I thought I’d share some of them with you:
1.) Little things should lead us to gratitude and worship.
The other day, the guy I have a crush on said hey to me. It was literally smallest, most insignificant thing that could’ve happened. And maybe I’m just crazy, but it made me smile. It wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of life or even in my day. I didn’t overthink his hello or take it to mean he’s interested in becoming better friends. I simply received it as a small gift of the Lord to brighten my day. As I walked like a giddy child to the cafeteria, Jesus reminded me that He tucks other blessings into my days that often go unnoticed. Flowers that are still in bloom. Coffee creamer that hasn’t expired yet. Friends that give me random hugs and send encouraging texts. Snapchats from siblings that make me laugh. How many things does the Lord use to show us He loves us that we ignore because of the fast pace of our lives? How much more of His joy could we tap into if we let small blessings lead us to gratitude and the worship of the One who provides them? We can’t have a pinhole sized view of what God is doing; if we expanded our vision for His work and practiced the discipline of noticing, what would change in our hearts and lives?
2.) We constantly have to be on guard about our preconceived judgement of people.
I feel like this is a lesson that the Lord may have to keep teaching me in every season of my life. For as many times as He’s convicted me in this, it still seems to be a recurring pattern when I meet or think about meeting people. Part of having a crush on someone you don’t really know is making irrational judgements about them. You think they are cute. You notice little things about them that you like (or uncover things in your social media stalking). And while they may meet or exceed all your expectations of who they are, it doesn’t change the fact that you don’t actually know them. I could go down the list of people I am friends with now who I said “oh, there’s no way I’m going to be friends with them” about. People are deep and complex and we are so quick to jump to conclusions about who people are and what our relationship should be with them. What if instead of assuming that boy would make a great husband, that you could never be friends with that girl, or that person over there is too broken to be loved, we simply chose to enter into relationships without expectations or our judgmental attitudes?
3.) My insecurities and fears are always going to try and hinder relationships.
Why don’t I talk to the guy I think is cute and have heard is great? Fear. My age-old fears of rejection and insignificance. What if he actually has no idea who I am? What if he thinks I’m weird? What if he doesn’t like me? What if my deep seated fears that I’m really not lovable, good enough, or desirable are confirmed? Well. . .what if? I’m good at playing the what if game and I’m guessing you are to. Humans have been playing it since the beginning of time, basically since Eve asked “what if” in the garden. It’s these questions and fears that, when not submitted to God, hinder our relationships with others and distance our relationship with Him. My flesh is always looking for ways to protect itself, to protect the image I’ve created, to protect my heart. Dwelling on insecurities or past hurts builds walls in my heart. The kind of walls that ruin vulnerability or stop me from bold obedience to the Lord. These issues and fears are constantly resurfacing, often in different forms or with different language. When the Lord choses to use a crush to reveal them and get me to work through them, it may not be pleasant, but it’s always so good.
4.) It’s okay to laugh in the midst of lament (and if you are laughing at yourself, that’s okay too!).
Yes, there are serious parts of life. There’s incredible grief and problems in the world. There is suffering in the lives of the people around me. And yes, we have to fight against sin and lust and distractions without compromise or joking about the ways they seek destruction. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to laugh. I live a pretty hilarious life, mostly because I always seem to end up in the most random, awkward, ridiculous situations. A lot of these situations involve my crushes. Like when I run into people because I’m not paying attention to where I’m going. Like when I don’t anticipate my crush showing up somewhere and I trip over myself in panic. Like when I don’t realize I have a crush on someone until I have to talk to them and then I can’t get words out of my mouth. It’s funny stuff, y’all. It makes me laugh. It makes my friends laugh when I burst into our apartment and go “you’ll never guess what happened today!” It makes my mom laugh when I call her and dramatically retell one of my stories from the day. I’m realizing that it’s okay to laugh at myself and my life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize the suffering in my circles or the world. It doesn’t mean that I’m not lamenting or crying out to Jesus for the redemption that seems so far off. It doesn’t mean my heart isn’t breaking. We can choose joy in the midst of pain.
5.) I have to trust the God who is in control of my life.
This is perhaps the most significant and transformational thing that I learn every time some guy catches my eye. If you walk away from this post with nothing else, regardless of where you are in life or what your “crush status” is, I pray that you are reminded of this: the Lord is trustworthy and He is for us. Having a crush always challenges my ability to make things happen. It’s amazing the things we will do when we try to get someone’s attention or want to put ourselves in a situation near them. I become the conductor of my own orchestra. But you know what always happens? It’s the times I don’t plan it or force it or try to make things happen when something actually does. It’s when I finally give things over to the Lord that He can actually take them where He’s planned for them to go. This isn’t only true for my relationships. It’s true with my finances. It’s true with my five-year plan. It’s true with my dreams of ministry. It’s true in area single area of my life. God asks us to submit to His Lordship and that means we aren’t in control. We aren’t called to make things happen, we are called to trust Him and walk in obedience. A phrase that I’ve gone back to a lot in my life is “His glory is His prerogative.” Maybe his glory means that you and your crush will get married and it’ll be this amazing testimony to His faithfulness. Or maybe His glory is in what He’s refining in your heart through noticing a boy that you’ll never actually meet. At the end of the day, we have no idea what He is doing. And the freeing part is that it’s not up to us to figure it out. We’ve got to jump into His streams of unending grace and trust that He knows what He is doing. Because He really does.