So I Liked a Boy [part six: please don’t chase him]

We’ve all been in this series long enough that I’m going to cut the chitchat and get straight to the nitty gritty (unless of course you haven’t been in this series; in that case, check out parts one, two, three, four, and five).

I’m a woman lady girl. So my experience in a relationship (or not being in a relationship, as is the case for this whole series?) is going to be different than a man boy guy’s.

Now, for some, this post may seem very hard. Our culture has a very boys-chase-girls, girls-chase-boys mindset. Anyone can chase anyone. But for Christians, our approach to anything cannot be like our culture’s. With everything, we’re to look to the Bible and look for God’s design.

As has been discussed at various points throughout this series, I wanted The Guy to notice me. I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to try my hand a flirting with him. I wanted to give him hints that I liked him.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t tell him that I liked him.

I didn’t hint that I liked him.

I didn’t flirt with him.

I didn’t try to compliment him (even though I was heavily in the he-is-so-amazing boat).

There are two reasons why.

Reason #1: I didn’t have the confidence or self-worth to put myself out there.

For those of you who feel like this post is a no-brainer, don’t mistake a lack of self-worth/confidence for maturity. That’s what I did at first. I thought to myself, “Of course I would never try to make something happen with The Guy, not matter how much I want to. Of course he has to come to me.”

But it wasn’t trust in God behind that or understanding of God’s design for relationships or much of anything holy or biblical. What was behind it was fear. What was viewed by others as maturity was just fake maturity.

Girls pursue guys out of a hurt or a fear (Boat #1). Girls don’t pursue guys out of fear (Boat #2). And some girls don’t pursue guys because they trust God’s wisdom more than their own wisdom or desires (Boat #3). I was not sitting in Boat #3 like I thought I was; I was sailing around in Boat #2.

Girls who chase guys often have deep wounds and fears centering around self-worth, confidence, body image, insecurity, loneliness, unworthiness, etc..

Girls who don’t chase guys often also have wounds and fears centering around self-worth, confidence, body image, insecurity, loneliness, unworthiness, etc..

Some of the same root issues, but a different response.

Some women are pushed to take the lead, to initiate, to take their clothes off, to text first, to be louder, to be considered more desirable physically, to give and give, to chase and chase by fear. Fear of not being enough. Fear of being alone.

Some women are pushed further into themselves, to put more clothes on, to be silent, to stand by, to be doormats by fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of being undesirable. Fear of being unwanted.

Neither is firmly rooted in who God is and who he has made her to be.

This is what kept me to myself at first.

Friend, if this is you, please don’t despair. And please don’t stay there. Confess your fear to someone (someone like we talked about in the last post). Pray about it. Ask Jesus to bring healing to the parts of you that this world and sin has broken—your body image, your insecurity in your personality, your passivity, your fear of others’ opinions. Ask God to reveal what is at the root of why you do not (or do) pursue guys. And ask him to be so kind as to heal it and give you the grace to turn from lies.

Reason #2: I knew it was The Guy’s job to pursue me, not the other way around.

It took a while for the truth to root down in me and reform my motives. In order to understand for myself more why I was to be pursued, to be chased, to be wooed, Jesus led me into a deeper understanding of marriage.

Paul says marriage was created as a way to show the glory of the mystery of God’s love for his Church. So many mysteries and glories lie revealed in marriage. Two people becoming one flesh (an echo of one God who exists as three Persons). A husband leading, protecting, cherishing a wife—an image of Jesus leading, protecting, and cherishing his elect. Marriage is the closest relationship two humans can share. It is a spiritual, emotional, and physical union.

Almost always, lust is seen as the marriage destroyer. And it often is. But there is a more subtle (and I daresay more dangerous) destroyer—passivity. Specifically—a husband’s passivity.

This is one of the most fundamental things sin has broken in God’s design for men and women. Not just sex—though that’s gotten plenty messed up too. But what’s been most deeply broken is how men and women relate to each other.

Look at the Bible and see it everywhere.

Adam was with Eve when the serpent tempted her. He was at the tree with her. He heard the serpent’s words and Eve’s response, and he did nothing. He let Eve eat of the tree without rebuffing Satan’s lies. He let Eve hand him some of the fruit as well.

In a lot of ways, Adam didn’t fall; he let the fall happen to him. He didn’t do anything. He was passive. He watched Eve buy into a lie that destroyed them both.

From there on out, a man’s biggest struggle with sin has been and will be a struggle against passivity.

Abraham was promised by God that he would be given a son to carry on his line. Abraham believed, but then after it didn’t happen for a long time, his wife, Sarah, took matters into her own hands. She told Abraham to sleep with her maid, and instead of leading Sarah back to God’s faithfulness and telling her he was going to trust God, he let Sarah lead him into sin. He slept with her maid (the ultimate defilement of the marriage bed of God’s design), Hagar, who then had a son, and both Hagar and her son had a dysfunctional relationship with the rest of the family for the rest of their lives, a rift that went on the span generations. God was sovereign over it and used it, as is his way, but what if Abraham had stopped it in the beginning?

Eli was a priest in the days of the prophet Samuel (right before the nation of Israel asked for their first king). He was a nice dude and raised Samuel to serve God. But Eli had two wicked sons who sinned heinously, openly, again and again. Eli knew of their sin and the destruction it wreaked, yet he did nothing. He just kind of sat there. He didn’t rebuke them as their father. He didn’t rebuke them as their high priest. And in the end, his sons met death because of their sin. Eli was warned, and he still did nothing. He didn’t lose his sons because he didn’t do anything.

David was also passive. In a sickening account, one of David’s sons raped one of David’s daughters. If that wasn’t bad enough, David did nothing. There were no repercussions. Everyone kept on living together like a big happy family. But David’s son Absalom wasn’t so passive. Absalom (the full-blooded brother of the girl raped) took revenge on the half brother who sinned so terribly against his sister and murdered him. And so David’s household spiraled and tore itself apart. Because David sinned in passivity and didn’t call out sin to be sin or seek healing and restoration for his family. His passivity ended in rape, multiple murders, and a ruined family. What sin and pain and destruction could have been avoided if David had actively led his sons?

Now let’s see the outcomes of men who weren’t passive.

Peter was assertive. And I’m not just talking about how he’d always say stuff off the cuff in the gospels. In Acts, there’s an account of a married couple who sold a piece of land and pretended to give all the money to the church when they actually kept some back for themselves (so they lied). Full of the Holy Spirit, Peter tested them, gave them a chance for an out. When they decided to continue in their lie, still full of the Holy Spirit, he called out their sin in front of everyone, and the Holy Spirit struck the couple dead for their sin. And the church was protected (at least for a time) from what the seeds of their sin could have done to the church. If he had done nothing, said nothing, that seed of stinginess, of lying, of greed, etc. could have taken root in the church. Who knows what evil could have grown out of that? One thing is certain: destruction.

Jesus. Jesus chases after his own. He initiates relationship. His is gracious but not passive. He calls out sin. He encourages and leads. He is upfront. He says things that are uncomfortable. His whole life on earth was an act of initiation, of coming down, of bending down, towards, to get to his people. If Jesus was passive, he’d wait for us to come to him. But he came to us first.

So when it comes to The Guy.

If he’s passive in the beginning, the relationship will be shaped and marked by his passivity. He won’t lead you away from sin. He’ll let things slide—not in a gracious way, but in a passive way. Grace acknowledges sin as sin and sets it aside. Passivity is silent and doesn’t want to rock the boat. It is marked with laziness, the fear of other people’s opinions (aka: the fear of man: aka: a misunderstanding of God himself), or lukewarmness.

I’ve seen it happen where a guy doesn’t like a girl. The girl hints at her affections. The girl liking the guy suddenly makes the girl appealing to the guy. He kind of seems to initiate and lead, but areas of deep passivity remain. And sin and hurt is harvested.

For me, I’ve come to truly trust God with my future, and part of that is trusting that if I ever marry, the man boy guy that he gives to me will not be passive. And one of the first markers of that will be that the dude will come for me. He will pursue me. He will woo me. Then I’ll flirt and be awkward and tell him my mind and my heart and be open to him. And I know now that I’m worth being pursued.

The Good I’ve Seen:

I see an incredible model of what a man pursuing a woman should be really clearly in my brother Luke (I’ve gotten a front-row view of his dating, engagement, and early marriage).

He initiates with Emily (my sister-in-law) so well. He is gentle. He isn’t afraid to press into the hard stuff (or if he is, it doesn’t control him/keep him silent). He pursues her, loves her, cherishes her, wants the best for her and is willing to be uncomfortable and put in the work to see her get the best because he wants nothing less than the best for her. He tells her the truth when she’s hearing lies.

When she isn’t acting herself, he doesn’t let her hide away or bury stuff she’s always buried. He has proven he will be gentle with her, so she can feel safe (or as safe as she’ll ever feel) to be fully honest. He stays up late when they both have to wake up early so that they can go to bed at peace with each other. He doesn’t let stuff sit or fester. He doesn’t leave things unsaid. He doesn’t let her leave things unsaid. He’s crazy for her. He pursued her right from the beginning.

And Emily? She is a force of her own, one to be reckoned with. She’s a leader among women, full of the Holy Spirit and his good fruit. Her heart is wholly devoted to God, and her wisdom is peaceful and gentle. She’s a catch, as the kids would say. And instead of trying to snare a husband, she just followed God. And when she liked Luke and didn’t know what the future would hold, she chose to lean on the wisdom of Jesus instead of her own.

And when they started dating, instead of forcing her own way or being consumed by fear, she let him lead her. She trusted Jesus. And she trusts Luke. Like, a lot. She loves him. She encourages him right back. She tells him the truth. She responds to him. She is a well of gentleness and meekness and joy. She is kind to him and patient with him and laughs with him. She doesn’t belittle him or poke at him. She rejoices with him and in him.

He sharpens her, and she sharpens him.

He loves and builds up the woman in her, the woman God made her to be. She loves and draws out the man in him, the man God made him to be.

For me, I’d have to say seeing their relationship unfold has perhaps been the single most influential thing to how I now view and value romantic relationships. Luke and Emily aren’t perfect, but dang they did it well, and they’re still doing it well.

Let’s wrap this up.

Does any of that not make sense? Do you have any questions or confusions? As per usual, feel free to comment or contact me directly.

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – I think we’re finally getting to the end of this series! Next week I think we’ll be talking about The Need To KnowTM. if anything will ever come of the crush.

p.p.s. – I know that this could be a little controversial. Even in the Church there isn’t agreement about what man-woman relationships should be, but after following Jesus for over fifteen years, this type of model is the one that I believe most follows the path God intended for marriage.

p.p.p.s. – a shout-out to Luke and Emily for being The BestTM and also consenting to me fangirling about them on the internet.

So I Liked a Boy [part four: actually, him loving Jesus isn’t enough]

Jane Austen once said, “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”

Ha.

She ain’t wrong.

We’re back with part four of So I Liked a Boy. You can read parts one, two, and three if you’re new or if you just want a refresher of my manic, dramatic, and astonishing wit.

If you want the short version, I had StirringsTM (aka: a crush; aka: the precurser to FeelingsTM) for a dude in my church for a whole ten months and didn’t know what to do with myself and was forced to grow and rely on Jesus more deeply than ever. It was terrible but great at the same time. This series is me sharing the terribleness and greatness in hopes that people in the same spot as me are helped out with their own StirringsTM.

Let’s get part four of this party started.

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All my life, the only requirement I heard that I would need to find in a husband was that he be a Christian. Preferably employed. Preferably not living with his parents. My parents probably had a few other criteria, but the one that stuck with me was the Christian part.

Naturally, I proceeded through almost my entire life thinking to myself, “So long as he’s a Christian, we good to go, let’s pick out the bridal party.”

As I grew up, I became a little more aware that a lot of people call themselves Christians who don’t actually love God. So I amended my Requirement Uno. He’s got to love Jesus. Then we good to go. Then let’s pick out the ol’ bridal party.

The Guy who I had StirringsTM for loves Jesus with more unabashed passion than a lot of people I know (which is remarkable in a church where everyone left everything because they love God; that’s church-planting for you). His obedience to everything God calls him to is quite admirable. His heart of worship seems akin to David’s.

After watching him for a couple months, I thought to myself, “Ah, such a deep love for God; let’s get married.” Yeah, my brain went there real fast; Jane Austen was, in fact, correct.

But, actually, him loving Jesus is the bare minimum, a passing grade, not the end all be all of what to look for/be attracted to in a boy I mean man I mean guy.

I was seeking council from someone very wise about The Guy (I’d been on the moon-eyed train for like eight or nine months at this point).

I was asked why I liked him. I explained some of my reasons. I was told, “Look for more.” Not because The Guy was morally or spiritually deficient in any way but because my vision was too narrow.

Raw affection for God is not enough. Even capacity for extreme obedience isn’t enough. Even spurring me on to Jesus more isn’t enough. It takes more than dynamite love of God to make a relationship work—especially if that relationship is a covenant between two sinners only to be dissolved by death.

He can’t just love Jesus; he has to be like Jesus.

Jesus: a Man of supreme character, grit, zeal, gentleness, wisdom, compassion, patience, and joy.

Jesus: a Man of such strength and goodness.

Jesus: One who even now anchors the entirety of his Church throughout all generations as its immovable Cornerstone.

That’s what I have to look for—not because I deserve it but because that’s what my soul requires for survival. There is so much sin in my heart that I require much much keeping and initiating and leading back to the cross again and again and again.

He can’t just love Jesus—as good as that is. He must heavily image the Son’s person. His very character must remind me of Jesus.

His goodness, mercy, compassion, holiness, strength, humility, devotion, joy, steadfastness, zeal for the kingdom, and submission to the Father must be echoes of Jesus.

Jesus is my first love. Why would I look or settle for anything less or anything different in my second, human love?

Now, you may be thinking, “Yeah, but gosh, Jesus is a hard act to follow.”

And you’d be right. And no man I mean boy I mean guy could follow perfectly in Jesus’ footsteps, that’s why we need Jesus. But while it’s a tall order, it’s not impossible. I’ve met so many people who love Jesus and are becoming more like him to the degree that when I hear them speak or watch their manner of living, I am reminded of the character of Jesus.

To be honest, I’d rather live out my days in the joys and challenges of singleness than marry someone who loves Jesus but isn’t like Jesus.

Questions to Soberly, Prayerfully Ask Yourself and Jesus

When I was praying through liking The Guy, the Holy Spirit stirred up many questions, then I found more in The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler, and then some more from some trusted friends. I had to ask them of myself and Jesus honestly, humbly, soberly, without rose-colored glasses.

So here are some of the recurring questions, which I now pose to you, dear reader.

  • Why do you like the guy? What in him draws you in? Is it his personality, his faith, his character, his what?
  • Is he part of and committed to (serving, giving to, involved in, etc.) a local church? Is it a healthy, spiritually mature (and maturing) church?
  • Is his character known or unknown? If not, why not? If so, what has his character proved to be? Reckless or steadfast, flaky or faithful, bitter or forgiving, selfish or selfless, etc.
  • How does he respond to suffering? Can he endure?
  • How does or doesn’t he submit to authority in the church (this is an indicator of his capacity/willingness to submit to the Holy Spirit)?
  • Why does your heart seek relationship with him? To put an insecurity to rest? To assuage loneliness? Or something else?
  • Do you like him based on who he actually is? Or are you actually more drawn to a version of him that only exists in your head?
  • Can he lead you spiritually—towards Jesus, through the trials of this life, through your own sin? Is he like Jesus in that his character is strong enough, steady enough, steadfast enough for the both of you? Is he one that can be depended on? Does he show forth the fruit of the Spirit?

And you have to actually want to know the answers because if you don’t, you’ll be closed off to the truth.

For instance, I could be honest and ask the Holy Spirit to search me and know me and show me if there were selfish reasons in my heart when I desired relationship with The Guy. It was easy to be open to anything there.

But all along, even though it was the first question I asked myself, I kept myself closed off to the answer of if The Guy could lead me spiritually, if our personalities and tendencies and giftings and maturities and all that jazz were such that I could not only submit to him but he could actually lead me like Jesus leads the Church—without passivity, with grace, with strength, with love, with action, with sacrifice. I made all sorts of unconscious excuses.

There’s no way for me to know that since I’m not in small group with him.

I have such a limited window.

It would be arrogant and prideful of me to say he couldn’t lead me. Etc..

But the truth that the Holy Spirit was pressing on all along was that no, The Guy couldn’t lead me. Not because there was anything wrong with him or because I’m ultra mature or anything like that. It’s as simple as me being a disaster, full of fear, full of sin, full of so many things that require a certain type of man I mean boy I mean guy to love and cherish and lead me through.

Yeah, by the grace of God, I’m bearing fruit, good fruit, Holy Spirit fruit, but there’s going to be sin in me until I die, and if I’m to run this race well—and if I’m to do it married—the dude has got to lead me like Jesus, has got to remind me of Jesus.

And, as I finally let the Holy Spirit tell me, The Guy isn’t that boy man guy. He and I don’t… fit together, if that makes sense. Neither is defective or better or anything, we’re just not fitted for each other.  And that’s okay.

It’s so so so important to be honest with yourself and be open to the Holy Spirit actually answering the questions, even if the answer isn’t what you want to hear. Otherwise, you’re just deceiving yourself and living in a type of false reality of your own making, and the truth isn’t in you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Submit yourself—your heart and your will—to his wisdom and authority.

So anyweys.

That’s all for this week. As per usual, if anything doesn’t make sense or you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact me directly! <3

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – sorry for the late posting! Internet was down at my house so I had to wait until I could go to a coffee shop to use the free wifi and drink the not-free coffee.

p.p.s. – next week I think will be about who to talk to about your crush and why it’s important to be transparent with a couple of mature Christians about your StirringsTM.

So I Liked a Boy [Part Three: Stop Praying Your Own Will Be Done]

Hello, hello, kids.

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for part three of So I Liked a Boy; here’s part one and part two for your consideration, if you’re new.

This week we’re talking about what it can be like to pray about a crush and what it shouldn’t be like. I hope these things don’t feel law-ish to anyone. It’s not about doing x y z or doing anything in a particular order or a particular way. I’m just speaking from my own experience and what God revealed to be in my heart, speaking of the tendencies I have that I learned were symptoms of other things, and how Jesus led me into a better thing.

Let’s get started.

so i liked a boy pt 3

Now that we’re actually praying…

Sooooo, when I eventually started praying about The Guy and my StirringsTM, my default setting was to pray that God would take away my feelings ASAP.

It was all very “let this cup pass from me” and “have mercy on me, Son of David” and “deliver me from this body of death” and all that sort of stuff which in the Bible was prayed under great duress. Because apparently in my life, it must all be done melodramatically.

At the time, I was certain that such feelings (aka: a crush) were a sign that I wasn’t satisfied in Jesus and thus idolizing romantic relationships, and that felt like the worst thing ever. So whenever I prayed, I was like, “TAKE IT FROM ME, GOD.”

I wanted the easy way out.

I wanted what felt like a problem to go away. I wanted relief. I had tunnel vision. I prayed for weeks on end that God to take away my crush.

Gradually, gently, the Holy Spirit left a question mark in my head whenever I prayed the crush would go away until I wondered if maybe—just to cover my bases—I should add something like “but have your way in all these things, God” to end of my prayers about my crush. You know, just in case God’s will was different than mine.

Full disclosure, this conscious thought of what if my will isn’t God’s will wasn’t around for more than a second before my brain was like, “wHAt iF IT’s JEsUs’ WILL ThAT WE DAtE??” And then I was praying for that too. I traded My Will Of No Crushes for My Will Is To Date The Guy.

Because clearly God’s will can only be one of two things when you have a crush.

  • Option 1: to take the crush away ASAP.
  • Option 2: to make it end in dating (and then marriage).

Friends, there is a third option when it comes to God’s will that I discovered by the grace of God after much trial and error.

  • Option 3: to do something more mysterious and wonderful through the season of liking a boy.

About Loving God’s Will…

It’s one thing to try to impose one’s will on God (which is what I did). It’s another thing to grudgingly accept his will (did that too). It’s another thing altogether to love the Father’s will (excuse me?).

The Holy Spirit convicted me of giving lip service to God’s will. He convicted me of living a type of pretend where I said I wanted God’s will but in my heart cherished my own way. He convicted me of holding on to my desires and my vision of how things should go. He convicted me of unbelief and (again) trusting in myself.

So I stopped praying that the crush would go away. I stopped falsely praying “your will be done” with an endgame of dating in the back of my mind. I started praying, “Not what I will, not what I can see, but what you have for me, whatever that may be.”

My heart slowly settled under the will of God, stopped straining one way or the other, stopped trying to see the way out.

It took months. “Search me, know me. Have your way in me, all of it, no matter what it looks like. I want what you have for me. I trust you to not waste all this preoccupation and fear and questioning and longing.”

Loving God’s will doesn’t come naturally to me. Instinctively, I love my own way, and my flesh likes to make it seem like because God’s will is so mysterious sometimes, I can’t love it. But the more I know God, the more I trust him, the more the Holy Spirit helps me believe that his will is good and trustworthy and far better than my own.

I’m so thankful that Jesus didn’t answer my early, clumsy, short-sighted prayers about The Guy.

I would have missed out on so much if Jesus gave me what I wanted in the beginning. For me, God’s will (which he accomplished) was to:

  • increase my trust of him
  • teach me to lay down my will and all my different desires
  • teach me to lean into his wisdom and not my own
  • confront so many fears and confusions and lies and immaturities regarding relationships and guys in general
  • learn to love his will
  • and more.

I wanted to be bailed out, but God wanted something better for me.

He always plays the long game with the twin motives of his glory and our good. It wasn’t always fun (though it’s often genuinely funny to look back on), and it wasn’t easy because I have so much pride. But God got his way in me, and I’m so grateful for it.

So don’t pray that God will just take away your feelings. That fixes nothing. It sounds good at first; it sounds like the mature thing to do.

But the thing to do is let Jesus walk you out into the hard training ground where you give over your very will and hold fast to his instead, not knowing what it means or where he intends to take you. And you do it again. And again. And again until your wandering heart trusts God when you can’t see what he’s doing.

Do you believe that God wants something better for you? Do you believe his definition of “better” is far more glorious than your own?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – here’s a hint at what’s coming next week. The feeling: “Wow, he loves Jesus so much and is so passionate for everything of God.” The fact: him loving Jesus is not enough; as far as qualities in the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, him loving Jesus is the bare minimum.

p.p.s. – I don’t know how long this series is going to last; I’m guessing another four posts? We’ll see what God does…

So I Liked a Boy [part two: when it felt too stupid to pray about]

I was sleep-deprived and nervous when I wrote part one, and apparently “So I Liked a Boy” is the best I could do for a title. Apparently it’s also pretty click-baity. Most people that I know in person don’t read my blog, but I guess all one must do is throw something up with a title like “So I Liked a Boy” and half the church decides it’s high time they check out Rosalie’s blog. I’m uncomfy.

ANYWEYS.

If you missed part one, you can read it here. Otherwise, here’s what to expect from today’s post: dating, desiring, and crushing differently than the world and when it feels too stupid to pray about a crush.

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Dating, Desiring, and Crushing Differently than the World

Maybe this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. As Christians, our approach to people of the opposite sex cannot be the same as the world’s approach to people of the opposite sex.

In our current cultural moment, romantic relationships are king. You want someone, you go get someone, using whatever means you feel like, only listening to those whose advice is what you want to hear. As Matt Chandler says in his book Mingling of Souls, “We are a culture simultaneously obsessed with relationships and sex, but dysfunctional in our approaches to them.”

You like someone, you date them, you use them, you accrue some hurt, you throw them away. You aren’t fulfilled if you aren’t in a relationship. You look to a boyfriend or girlfriend (or spouse) to meet all your needs, speak to all your insecurities and fears. Flirt, entice, cheat.

And just as Christians can’t do marriage in the same way as the world and can’t date in the same way as the world, Christians can’t crush on someone in the same way as the world. Most Christians I know already know this, but our response (my response) is to stuff it, as if that’s the Christian way of dealing with desires.

Spoiler alert: stuffing it isn’t the Christian way of doing anything. At least it’s not the truly Christian way.

So over the course of this little series of How To Like a Dude Without Marrying Him So I Liked a Boy, we’re going to talk about some ways to honor Jesus in how you approach liking someone. Obviously, I’m a girl, so this is all especially pertinent to girls, but hopefully this is helpful to anyone. Honestly, it’s pretty basic and similar to the rest of the Christian life—listen to wise counsel, be transparent with trusted and mature Christians, submit to God’s will, oh, and, yes, prayer. Start with prayer.

When It Feels Too Stupid to Pray About

So, when I was hardcore moon-eyed about The Guy (see part one), it took me a solid month (if not more) before I actually, you know, prayed about it.

It felt like I was making it into something if I prayed about it, as if praying about it brought it up to some sort of level of Important. Because apparently I only pray about Important ThingsTM. Things like my sin, seeing people hear the gospel and be saved, the up-building and keeping of my friends, etc..

In my heart, there is an unconscious category of things that I don’t pray about.

I hear things like “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths…” or “…in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” and other such verses, and there’s some sort of disconnect inside me.

I will go to God and acknowledge him in some of my ways, and in some things by prayer and supplication I’ll make requests known to him. But not in all of my ways, not in everything. I have a hard time praying about the little things, and that’s a symptom of

  1. unbelief/not understanding in my heart the scope and depth of God’s love for me and
  2. belief that I can and should handle the “little things” myself (aka: self-reliance).

Kids, unbelief is sin. Self-reliance is sin.

Isn’t all sin rooted in unbelief about God? Adam and Eve believed the lie that God was holding out on them in the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They trusted their own judgement, their own understanding.

So when I don’t pray about things because they feel too stupid or too little or I’m embarrassed (from a crush to a pet being sick to dealing with a difficult customer at work), that’s pride manifesting in an incredibly subtle way. That was (and is) a symptom that I don’t trust God fully with my life.

Jesus is my everything. Jesus is Lord of my everything. Jesus is the Caretaker of my heart and soul. When I don’t bring things to him to be Lord over, to take care of me through, I cut him out of areas of my life and forfeit the blessing that is his affectionate, relational love and guidance.

Here is a fact: nothing is too stupid to pray about.

Prayer is communication. Prayer is honesty. Prayer is humility. Prayer is dependence. Prayer is vulnerability. Prayer is reliance. Prayer is trusting.

Let me say it again for the people in the back: nothing is too stupid to pray about.

If you believe that there are things too little, too insignificant, too stupid to pray about, you don’t know the God of the Bible. Praying about something does not imbue it with importance; praying about something simply shows that you are in fact a human trusting Jesus and submitting your life to him.

Eventually, by the grace of God, I cracked and started praying about The Guy I liked and bringing my questions and confusions to Jesus. Even though in my head I understood all the reasons why I should pray about it, it was hard.

I felt embarrassed and felt foolish and all the other stuff from the last post, except now it was all in the presence of God and I was a.w.k.w.a.r.d. But isn’t it always hard to come naked into the light? Isn’t it always hard to invite someone into the things that feel shameful? Isn’t it always hard to trust that you can be fully known and fully loved at the same time?

But bit by bit, the Holy Spirit helped me calm down and realize it wasn’t a big deal to pray about, and if I could trust Jesus to see me through the harshest storms of life and keep me to the end of this life without losing me, I can trust him enough to tell him I have a crush and admit it feels silly but I really like a dude and it’s confusing and ask Jesus to lead me through it.

When I started praying about liking The Guy, that’s when Jesus really went to work on my heart. It was in my private prayer time when I learned to start bringing up the little things that the Holy Spirit really got a hold of me and went to town on my heart. He began exposing and overturning so many lies in my heart and testing me in ways I’ve never been tested before. Everything good that grew out of that season, all the fruit and clarity I have now, came from learning to pray about it.

So when it feels too stupid to pray about your crush, pray about it anyway.

Get to know Jesus’ heart from you from the Bible and also in the real time of your life. Trust that he’s actually as interested in your life as he says he is. Trust that the God who designs blades of grass and galaxies and says that you as his child is his crowning creation and says he wants all of you and nothing less, actually wants all of you and nothing less.

Because if you’re keeping even one thing out from under his lordship and protection and guidance, you’re probably keeping other things away from him too, and you’re missing out on what he has for you in those things.

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – coming up next week: why you shouldn’t just pray for your crush to go away (because I was for sure praying that my stirrings would just GO AWAY…. until I realized I was still holding onto my own will) and miscellaneous perspective that brought me back down to earth when I was sure I wanted to marry The Guy.

p.p.s. – little tidbit of that perspective: it can feel like foolish to like someone that you don’t end up marrying. Spoiler alert: you’re going to probably like quite a few people before you like the person you end up marrying. And that’s good. And normal. I’m proof that so much can get worked out in a human heart when you like someone you don’t end up dating (or marrying).

Black Holes ‘n Stuff [maybe i’ve been thinking about outer space]

astrophysics

I’ve been thinking about space and astrophysics.

About the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. About how it is so unspeakably massive–massive enough to keep our galaxy of (at least) 150 billion (150 billion) stars orbiting it, massive enough that even light is pulled in by its gravity. Not metaphorical gravity. Real, physical, the-scientific-law-of-gravity type of gravity so strong that it draws light to itself.

There’s a point trying to think about that where my brain simply… stops. Hits a wall. Can’t compute.

And I’ve been thinking about the supermassive black holes holding other galaxies together. Humans don’t really know how many galaxies spin through this universe, but the current thought is about 125 billion. 125 billion galaxies. And that’s just speculation. The numbers change a lot because there’s literally so much to know that it’s impossible to actually know.

But let’s just say there are 125 billion galaxies give or take a few. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, isn’t very big compared to the others even though it has 150 billion stars. It would take 100,000 years to cross from one side of the Milky Way to the other. And that’s if you were traveling nonstop at the speed of light for all 100,000 years.

There’s a galaxy out there (dubbed Hercules A) that is 1.5 million light-years across. Hercules A must have an unthinkable black hole holding innumerable stars in its gravity.

We breeze over these numbers. Million. Billion. We toss them around. But we don’t truly have a concept for there being that many of anything. We can’t even actually comprehend Earth carrying 8 billion people on it; how can we even begin to fathom what it means that our universe is home to at least 125 billion galaxies?

And besides the truly staggering numbers that we use to try to describe the truly staggering size of our universe, there are innumerable mysteries in space.

Space. A vacuum where the molecules are so far apart that sound can’t carry. In our system, we can’t see the solar wind that moves through what looks like empty space. We think we know where cosmic rays come from; maybe we do. The temperature in space is a chilly −454.81 °F. Apparently there’s little to no friction in space? And invisible gravitational and electromagnetic forces as well as radiation are doing their thing (it’s at this point that I usually can’t remember what gravity is).

Scientists throw around theories about dark energy… and then there’s also dark matter–two different ideas about two different things, both of which are poorly understood (especially by me) and not to be confused with dark fluid and dark flow.

Dark energy is an unknown force of energy which is theorized to counteract gravity. On the other hand, dark matter is a type of matter that does not interact with light. Apparently we know dark matter exists because even though we can’t see the dark matter itself, we can observe how it gravitationally affects objects we can see.

The mysteries. There are so many mysteries. And for each mystery there are plenty of theories. We’re trying to name things we can’t even pin down, puzzling out and dreaming up definitions and possibility after possibility for mystery after mystery.

Yet we hardly even know Earth. We’ve been on little ol’ Earth a while, and we still don’t know what’s at the bottom of our own ocean. Can you imagine the mysteries we would find if we ever explored even a fraction of the other planets out there in the great black of space?

And besides the planets, thinking back to black holes… who knows what those are actually like. We certainly don’t.

Some think of space and shudder. It’s so inhospitable. There are so many unknowns. It’s just so big. Space–our physical universe–isn’t infinite, but it seems like it.

But thinking about space doesn’t make me afraid. It makes me feel small. Mount Everest and the oceans that seems so endless and formidable to my eyes are nothing next to even our own sun, much less the Hercules A galaxy. So much on Earth feels big compared to me. And yet Earth is decidedly tiny.

But it also makes me feel precious. Because Earth is decidedly tiny. But it was here on Earth that God let loose some of his most special creative endeavors. It was here on Earth that he made creatures in his own image. And it was here on Earth that infinite God took on physical flesh and proved his love for sinners in an act that transcends millions of light-years–it was here on Earth that God died and came back to life.

And thinking about space doesn’t make me feel afraid because God holds our entire universe in the span of his hand. I don’t feel afraid because all the unknowns of our universe are well-known–and designed by and delighted in–by God.

The unknowns reflect the infinitely deep wells of God’s creativity, and the simple unthinkable vastness shows forth God’s majesty and inscrutability and infinity and transcendence and beauty and glory and so many other things we don’t even have words for.

Space is big, and I am small. Space is cold and mysterious and dangerous, and I am perfectly safe in the hands of God, the same hands that mark off 125 billion galaxies like it’s nothing.

So I think I’ll keep reading the ultra-simplified versions of the theories and discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. Because even though my mind feels like it’s melting when I read about these things and think about them, I am comforted and my wonder wakes back up.

What do you think about space and black holes ‘n stuff?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – this isn’t a very succinct post because my thoughts on all this are still pretty jumbled. Maybe they’ll unscramble when I’m not up to my neck in articles about this, but I guess there are worse ways to spend quarantine. Plus, posting something that has questionable flow, tired-brain writing, and zero links to sources kills a little of my perfectionism, so that’s good?

p.p.s. – the last month or so I’ve been thinking about space a lot, but then the other night I watched Interstellar for the second time and that really pushed me Over The Edge as far as getting stuck in a space-obsessed phase. I think I’ll be here a while. Any good book recommendations for astrophysics?