“So… I like someone.”
The email in my inbox encapsulated the glorious confusion of first feelings.
Waiting for him to talk to you at church.
Hoping he glances your way.
Wishing you could find an excuse to say something.
She wrote out the rollercoaster she was living, wondering how she should handle it – IF she should handle it. Ladies don’t pursue men, but are they allowed to show their interest? “All this to say,” The email concluded. “I’m really confused because what am I supposed to do now?”
I think all of us can identify with this feeling. At some point or another we have felt the thrill of admiring that particular guy, whether he turns out to be our husband or just a temporary interest. But we’re in conflict: we may like him, but what do we DO about it?
Christian dating culture makes it seem like women can’t express interest in a man without being “desperate” or “needy”. Even I believed this as little as five years ago! But as I’ve studied God’s Word and observed our culture, I’ve come to believe Christians are creating this rule reactively. We fear becoming “like the world” so we discourage women from expressing interest in the guys they like. But this has no biblical back up, and further, there is no indication that expressing initial interest in a guy you like will set up your future relationship for disaster. To the contrary, more reserved men may be too shy to express interest until a woman shows him he has a chance. Read more about “putting yourself out there” in this post.
This said, what do you do with a crush? Let’s start with Scripture:
“For where envy and self seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peacable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (Jas. 3:16-17)
Based on what we know from God’s Word, we need wisdom in confusing circumstances. James lays out what real wisdom looks like, and it’s not the insight of friends or magazines. This wisdom is:
- Pure of mind
- Wanting the best for everyone involved
- Gentle, not abrasive
- Willing to give her hopes to God
- Full of mercy and good works – actively giving to others
- Not partial to one person over others
- Not judging others out of jealousy
We have the standard laid out for us. So what now?
1. Separate yourself from the emotion as best you can.
Instead of fantasizing about the guy you like, overthinking his every word or imagining future conversations, direct your energies to praying about him every day – and then pray for your future husband, wherever he is.
Learning to separate yourself from the nervous emotion is actually beneficial to your love life. When you’re engaged with our emotions, you aren’t truly yourself around the guy you like. But when you are able to let him go – even be content with him liking another girl – you can be his friend without being nervous. He will see the real ‘you’ and can act on it if he chooses.
2. Set him free and focus.
It’s not fun to think about relinquishing our perceived control, but it’s very freeing once you get to this point. I have found that to make that mental shift from ‘liking’ someone to ‘setting him free’ I had to find something else with which to consume my mind.
This was why I poured myself into studying how to manage a home and advance in my career. Instead of focusing on liking him or when you’ll see him next, think about who you want to be as a woman. Then make a list of what you need to do to get there.
My own list still exists and changes. It used to be stuff like learn to cook, manage money, save X amount, etc. Now it is a list of things that help me and Josh in our relationship. When we focus your mind on things that will make us a good woman, worker, and wife someday, we’re preparing for WHOEVER God brings, and won’t be disappointed when the guy we set our sights on doesn’t turn our way.
3. Invest your talents.
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them… And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man… so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant!… you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.” (Matt. 25:14-27)
This parable is a sobering one because it illustrates what many women do with their hearts. Are you stewarding your talents to the glory of God? Are you guarding and using the investment God is in you? We do this for many reasons. When we do, we can actually limit our love lives. When we bury the talents God has given us and don’t cultivate our gifts, we tend to focus on what we DON’T have. This becomes a crazy cycle of discontent.
Are you burying your talents because you’re afraid? Are you afraid of pursuing your dreams because you want a boyfriend so badly? Are you planning your life around a man? This is idolatry! We work for one Man and one only: Jesus Christ. Lucky for us – He’s perfect!
You can bury your talents under a crush or you can put them to work. Someday your husband will praise you for your work and investment. Let your future husband find you busy!You won’t be waiting for the next time you see a guy you like, or disappointed when he’s not interested. You will be adding skill upon skill.
4. Act quickly and consistently.
Back to the list: my action item after you read this post, if you’re a girl with a crush and some confusion, is to make a list for yourself. Ask:
Who do I want to be as a wife or girlfriend someday?
What skills should you have? What service would you be doing? What does quiet time look like?
A woman who wants a relationship for the sake of a relationship is not in a healthy place. Ask yourself: What do I need to do NOW to be the woman I want to be in a relationship?
This incorporates the social, mental, physical and spiritual aspects of your being. For instance:
– I want to be flexible and willing to try new things.
– I want to read more books and watch less TV.
– I want to have a consistent quiet time with God each day.
Make goals and be consistent! Change your goals to fit the life you live. Pray about it, of course. When you marry you are making the singlemost life-altering decision of your time on earth – want to have good options? BE a good option! God made you with so much potential as His beautiful woman.
It’s good to have feelings – emotions are awesome and God made them. But like all good things, they have the potential for evil when we idolize them instead of using them to push us to God. Let your crush encourage you to lean into Christ, follow His Spirit, and become a stronger woman of God in the process.