*Today is the combination of letters C and D*
"Do not awaken love until it so desires." --Song of Songs 8:4
I have learned an abundance of things about crushes and dating throughout the past few years. Strangely enough, I've never actually been in a dating relationship. But please, pull up a chair and a bowl of cookie dough, and allow me to humbly share.
I am a romantic. I feel deeply. And, y'all, I have done some preeeetty stupid things when it has come to crushes.
I went into high school with the mindset of NO DATING due to one, my parents' rule, and two, my own personal conviction. To me, it was simply illogical to enter into a high school relationship when I've always seen dating as a precursor to marriage. Not ready for marriage, not ready to date. I also saw older friends enter into high school relationships and miss out on so many other friendships with other people as well as getting to better know themselves.
It's pretty easy to have those convictions when you go to an all girls school.
On Being Crushed On
Sophomore year hit (new school-- with boys) and with it came the realization that, wow, guys liked me. Someone made the joke that year that all of the guys in our class of less than one hundred had already been through all of the girls the previous year and I was basically fresh meat.
Here's a confession: I really liked being liked. Like, liked-liked. A lot a lot.
When I found out that guys liked me that year, I did one of two things: 1. totally lead him on without intention of dating or 2. completely ignored him. Both are probably the absolute worst things I could have possibly done, given the situations.
Let me speak directly to my lady readers. We live in such a man-bashing culture where we women like to talk about how stupid and ridiculous men are. Women are definitely objectified, that's a separate issue. But men are not stupid. They have hearts, they have minds, they have dreams.
We all have a responsibility to everyone we encounter. We can bring people closer to Love (Jesus Christ) or further away from Him. There is no middle. The people who like us are no different.
It could be argued that the responsibility increases when we're "liked". For sure, there are times when heartbreak is inevitable. But in everything we do, we have to see the "crusher" as a human being, worthy of love, made in the Image and Likeness of God. That truth is what needs to guide our actions.
I remember one of my closest friends sophomore year really liked this one girl A LOT. They were "talking" (I hate that word) for weeks before he asked her to homecoming, where he planned on asking her out. Everyone thought that she liked him and they were going to start dating...and then at homecoming, she completely stopped talking to him. He was devastated, needless to say.
Our culture is all about using. It's not "how can I give of myself for you?" it's "how can I take of you for me?"
I personally fell into that trap. I was so caught up with being emotionally filled by guys liking me that all I could think about was myself. I didn't care about the consequences for either of us, really, it was just as long as I could have that warm fuzzy feeling of acceptance and the power that it brought with it. My fear of being uncomfortable lead me to just cut off other guys that maybe would have turned out to be good friends had I not completely shut down.
There's not a formula for what to do when you're liked and you don't return the feeling. But here's a key virtue: honesty. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with the crusher. We need to boot the fear of being uncomfortable and the desire for emotional (and maybe even physical) pleasure from the driver's seat and instead cling to honesty, genuine love, and put others before ourselves.
On Crushing On
Hearts are a tricky thing. Liking someone is an extremely tricky thing, because there are so many levels. There are the crushes that last two minutes and then the ones that last two years. There are the ones that just fade away and then the ones that lead to life-changing heartbreak.
I am a romantic (surprise!). I like princesses and I like happy endings. I also have standards that are pretty high. I had two pretty "major" crushes in high school...and, well, I hope you still have some cookie dough left because here's where it gets good.
Crush Number One (protecting the names of the uninnocent. Or I guess guilty works) was a guy who was just really, really nice. I was kind of obsessed with him and it probably kind of showed. Y'all know, that stereotypical crush that makes you walk down certain hallways at certain times? Yep. Me. It ended pretty suddenly when at the end of the year, he just stopped talking to me. I spent all of the following summer crying about it.
Crush Number Two was, er, slipperier. We were "best friends" and hung out constantly...so it was kind of very natural. After almost a full school year, I ended that friend-or-whatever-we-were-ship because he had a girlfriend and I was so emotionally confused and it was just messy.
Both situations started the same way: with me thinking a guy was cute and then thinking about and obsessing over him so much that it escalated to a "crush". Honestly, I don't even remember why I liked either of those guys. Once again, I wanted to be emotionally filled. I would text certain things ("you're my best friend", "I love you") just to get other things texted back ("you're my best friend too!", "I love you too!").
I do know that I gave a lot of myself emotionally to both of these guys.
Because of my crush dealings, I have developed a Crush Battle Plan:
1. What are my intentions? Am I being genuine in everything? Do I want his greater good? And I am being respectful to who I am as a daughter of God?
2. What kind of guy is he and why do I like him? Is he a person that I would want my parents to come to know? Does he place God above all others?
3. What is going on in my life? How is my relationship with myself? With other people? With God? Am I in a place where it would be wise to enter into a relationship?
4. What is God saying about it? Am I covering this decision in prayer?
5. Am I forcing it? Are things lining up or am I trying too hard to make it work?
Some people might argue that it's stupid to take a crush so seriously. But obviously, I'm not talking about your crush on Adam Levine; I'm talking about real, strong feelings...our emotions are REAL and STRONG-- they have power. Especially when it comes to us women. If we don't continually surrender to Jesus and allow Him to take control...things do get messy.
More than anything, we need to be grounded in God. Because no relationship is ever going to satisfy us besides the one of between the Father and His child...you.
The Taboo Subject of Dating
I have made it through high school without a boyfriend. Well, knock on wood, still about a month to go...but I think that not having a boyfriend in high school was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. Was it always easy? Nope. Especially not when all of my friends were in relationships...it got lonely. Sometimes there was even a huge temptation to feel like something was wrong with me.
But are those good reasons to enter into a relationship? Because of popularity and self esteem issues? Those are just two of a list I've come to discover why high schoolers enter into relationships:
- Because I can't stand being alone
- Because it's a great status symbol.
- Because he's cute.
- Because I need a prom date.
- Because I need to feel something.
- Because I like the attention.
- Because he needs my help; I want to make him a better person.
And so many more...
Maybe there are so high schoolers who date with better intentions. But look at what dating is meant for: for the discernment of marriage. As high school students, as teenagers-- are we ready to even think about that?
I have seen far too many high schoolers become so lost in relationships that they forget who they are. High school is a time of self discovery. An exclusive dating relationship is meant for two people who know who they are, who are mature, and who love God more than each other. I don't really know any teens who meet that criteria.
A big danger of high school dating is that a person can get so lost in another person that they don't get the privilege of getting to know him-or-herself. So many friendships can be missed out on too (especially with the opposite gender). I lost one of my closest friends due to her boyfriend obsession.
Not dating in high school has helped me to better discover who I am. It's helped me stay focused on my hopes and dreams and eradicating my fears. It has helped my friendships. Ultimately, it has brought me to a deeper love and understanding of Jesus Christ.
Y'all, I want to be married so so so much. I think marriage is such a beautiful thing. Maybe it's God's will and maybe it's not...so I'm just going to keep clinging to Him and His Word. I found this particularly appropriate:
"Do not awaken love until it so desires." --Song of Songs 8:4
We don't need to run around looking for someone to like, date, or even marry. God's got it. God has a plan. Even when we mess up, He still has a plan. He has a plan for you, He has a plan for your future spouse...and guess what? He knows your heart's deepest desires and His every action is designed to satisfy your needs and true wants.
Let's stop fighting against Him and surrender anew to His will, allowing Him to work in our lives.
Let's also remember...God gave men and women to each other, but He made our hearts for His. There is nothing in the whole world that can satisfy our heart's deepest longings besides Him.
So, let us dance with God. Let us be the best person we can be for Him, for ourselves...and then, when we're ready, He'll let the person of our dreams cut in.
I am praying for you always!