#Singlelife Series: Dealing with Crushes

5 signs you’re crushing way too hard:

1) You spend hours crafting the perfect text like:

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2) And when he finally texts you back, you’re like:

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3) But when he texts back “K”, you sit for hours analyzing the text like:

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4) You stalk his Facebook like:

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5) And when you discover that he’s’ liked’ one too many photos of a pretty girl, you angrily go to your old texts and messages like:

delete!

(And then later you try to figure out how to restore all of those messages)

 As a woman who is no stranger to crushes (I’m defining a crush as an intense infatuation with someone you are not in a relationship with), I feel your pain. Crushes are so exciting in the beginning, and they can begin from innocent admiration of a guy for all the right reasons: his dedication to Christ, his ability to lead, or even his God-given beauty. But if you’re like me, your admiration can take a dramatic turn in a painful direction when the object of your admiration starts to preoccupy an unjustifiable amount of your time and emotions.

While I don’t believe crushes are inherently sinful — they involve natural feelings God designed us to have towards the opposite sex — I do believe it is important to guard your heart before your crush advances into unhealthy and idolatrous territory.  If you’re able to identify with any of the points in my list above, you’re probably prone to crushing way too hard like me, and I encourage you to consider the following ways to deal with your crush so that it becomes less overwhelming.

Don’t read into every single thing he does.

This is good practical advice I too often ignored because I wanted to make my desires reality. Consequently I’ve learned the hard way that every sweet gesture, kind word or encouraging text does not include a hidden expression of love meant for you to decode. Oftentimes the guy is just being nice. This is especially true with Christian guys who are seeking to serve you by helping you grow closer to The Lord. We should not confuse guys doing their brotherly duties with our romantic intentions. Alternatively, if your crush is giving you no signs to work with, you shouldn’t try to find meaning in what’s not there. I’ve also learned nothing good comes of over thinking a guy’s actions when his intentions are unclear. In the wise words of my mother:  When a guy likes you, you’ll know, and any guy worth fighting for will also fight for you.

Don’t allow yourself to over-fantasize about your crush.

 I’m going to embarrass my 13-year old self, and share an excerpt from an old diary I stumbled upon recently:

“I wish I could date Alex. He is the cutest thing I’ll ever know; he’s cuter than all the boys I’ve ever liked.  Sometimes I daydream about him asking me out. We walk in the hallways arm-and arm with each other, and he tells everyone I’m his girlfriend. And I am so happy. Sigh,  I’m gonna marry him one day.”

I wish I could say I left such daydreams behind once I graduated from middle school, but those kind of thoughts only evolved into more complicated jumbles of emotion for other guys.

Even as a Christian, I entertained such fantasies to the point of idolatry. Instead of turning to God for comfort, I sought comfort in unrealistic dreams with guys who didn’t like me as much as I liked them. Instead of focusing on drawing closer to God, I was dreaming of ways to draw my crush closer to me. And that was a dangerous mental space, particularly since I was not in a well-defined relationship with the guys I thought about. I learned indulging in romantic fantasies can too easily open the gateway to sins like idolatry, ingratitude, and lust.

In order to stop myself from fantasizing about crushes, I had to exercise self-discipline with my thoughts and not allow my mind to wander so easily into ‘crush fantasy land’. The easiest way to do this was being honest with myself and coming to terms with reality. One verse that provided a necessary reality check was Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Although this verse isn’t typically applied to the very specific topic of crushes, it does describe the kind of godly standards Christians should develop for our thoughts. Thus, it was helpful for me to break down some of the qualities listed in this verse and apply it to my thoughts about my crushes.

True (Greek: aléthés): in accordance with fact or reality

Did the fantasies I entertained about my crushes correspond with reality? Not one bit. In fact, they were typically in direct opposition to reality, in which I did not have the level of emotional intimacy I sought from the person I admired.

Honorable (Greek: semnos): venerable, grave, serious, dignified

This was a sobering word to research. Once I learned the meaning of the original Greek word used in this verse, I had to ask myself a difficult question: How much time do I spend considering dignified and serious matters of true importance compared to the amount of time I invest in frivolous thoughts about my crush?

Pure (Greek: hagnos): chaste, undefined from sin

Were the thoughts about my crushes from a place of pure admiration, or were they motivated by covetousness and lust? When I was honest with myself, I recognized that I indulged in such fantasies because I wanted relationships I couldn’t have in reality, and too often seemingly innocent thoughts about my crushes led to fantasies about physical intimacy.

Judging the quality of my thoughts against the standards set in scripture helped me recognize how fruitless it was for me to spend so much time daydreaming about various guys I liked. However it wasn’t enough for me to simply to stop thinking about these guys — I had to refocus my thoughts in a more productive direction, which leads me to my third point.

Preoccupy yourself with spiritual and personal development.

 All the precious time we waste thinking about crushes would be better spent pursuing spiritual development and personal goals so we can be better versions of ourselves if/when God blesses us with the special men with whom we will spend eternity.

However setting and pursuing such goals can be a daunting task, and it’s one that requires structure and planning. I’m a list person, so I always suggest making lists. Rather than make a mental list of the million things you like about your crush, make an itemized list of the goals you have for spiritual and personal growth. Be sure to include specific and realistic goals that you can actually figure out how to complete, not lofty, unclear goals like “read the Bible more.” A great starting point for me was re-reading the description of the Proverbs 31 woman. Whenever I do a thorough review of this passage, I’m left with a sobering list of ways I can grow to be a better servant of God and future wife.

Recently a good friend of mine pointed out a detail in the description of the Proverbs 31 woman that I overlooked the first few times I read it:

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:12 ESV)

She didn’t start working on her spiritual and personal goals when she got married and had kids, she worked on them all the days of her life. We can do our future husbands a lot of good by focusing on growing closer to God and developing certain skills now.

Maybe you need to work on diligently studying the Bible every day. Maybe you need to work on the consistency of your prayers. Maybe you need to perfect your cooking and baking skills. Maybe you need to work on anger management. Maybe you want to perfect skills related to your career. Whatever your goals are, focus on them now while you’re single and have ample time.

Seek God’s will through prayer — then wait patiently.

I saved the most crucial advice for last. Although crushes seem so trivial in retrospect, getting over a crush that has gone too far can be a mental battle that is overwhelming for you to handle by yourself. What a great blessing it is that we serve a God to whom we can carry all of our troubles through prayer — even boy troubles. However, instead of simply praying for God to give you the guy you want, pray for God’s will and timing for both you and the boy you like — even if that means the two of you don’t end up together. Ask for God to help you control your thoughts so that you can focus on serving Christ and building His kingdom. Ask for God’s help in fulfilling the spiritual and personal goals you outlined. Pray with complete faith that God will grant you the wisdom you need to grow and will answers your prayers in the way He knows is best.

After praying comes the most difficult action: waiting. When you have overwhelming feelings for a guy and you are ready to commit because you just know he is the right one for you, it can be so difficult to wait to see how God will answer your prayers. Fortunately we have so many reminders in scripture about the importance of waiting:

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14 ESV)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (Psalm 37:7 ESV)

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:25 ESV)

One result of patiently waiting on God’s timing, is that you won’t try to take matters into your own hands and chase the guy you like. There is the aggressive chase, when you tell a guy how you feel and force him to disclose whether he shares mutual feelings; and then there’s the passive aggressive chase, when you do everything in your power to be around the guy and encourage him to notice you. I’m not convinced either methods are wise, and I think both are motivated by selfish and impatient motives that ultimately point to a lack of faith.

Even when you do have faith in God and his wise and holy plans in this area of your life, waiting is hard. But we have to remain confident that the waiting will be worth it. Thinking back on all the guys I prayed for since I was teenager, I thank God he did didn’t let me end up with them. I wouldn’t have been a good spiritual companion for them, and 98% of them wouldn’t have been good spiritual companions for me.

I hope this is useful advice for my fellow single Christian women who develop serious crushes on guys. As I stated before, I’m not condemning the feelings that motivate crushes. However, we should be cautious of how we invest our feelings in guys with whom we do not have well-defined relationships, and to not get so lost in our feelings that we over-fantasize. When we realize those feelings are getting out of control and turning into fantasies, it’s our responsibility to pray about them, consciously divest our feelings, and move on.

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The Comments

  • Avatar
    Elizabeth
    10/20

    Great post! I definitely think this can be a problem for girls, myself included! Thanks for being transparent about your own struggles!

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Elizabeth
      10/20

      Thank you, Elizabeth! You actually got the sneak peek of that post; I prematurely published it. *slaps head* I’m glad you read and enjoyed — that’s what encourages me to be transparent!

  • Avatar
    Hannah Roy
    10/21

    We all need to hear this!
    I actually remember being at a bible study at Sherman around 2009, where Tim was teaching on psalm 63. Verse 6 is where David tells God how he basically lays awake at night thinking about Him. It was so convicting. Because we all realized, what we lay awake thinking about is our crushes a lot of time. I’ve never forgotten that lesson! Thanks for your post, super real and practical.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Hannah Roy
      10/21

      Wow, that is an enlightening lesson. I’m going to bookmark that verse. Thank you for sharing!

  • Avatar
    Jillienne
    10/22

    Its like you’re inside my head or something…weird. 😉
    I loved this. It’s so encouraging to read such a crisp and clear message about a subject a lot of is would rather avoid talking to each other about. Thanks for this, Liz! SO sharing this!

    xo

  • Avatar
    AMEH SILAS OJOAROME
    03/01

    Beautiful peace… though a guy I was blessed by your post ma… Especially, giving credence to the fact that you were succinctly sincere and open to the truth! The Lord bless you ma. I’ve already shared it with my friends. Trusting God it will bless them.

  • Avatar
    AMEH SILAS OJOAROME
    03/01

    Beautiful piece rather… thanks

  • Avatar
    Clara
    06/02

    this is gold!!!! thank you so much for this wise, godly prospective. <3