Wednesday, July 5, 2017

When You Like a Guy

Recently, a reader asked me what she should do when she is interested in a guy. Before I dive into this subject, I want to be clear on something: I do not feel qualified to answer this question. This is something I tend to wonder about myself. I still struggle with liking guys and wondering what to do about it. I still do not handle my crushes well, leaping from different extremes on a daily basis. Because of that, my answers are purely based on my limited twenty-three years of experience, and mostly the wisdom I have received from my smart mother and multiple biblical books that have helped me navigate my singleness. My answers are also just my opinion and how I would handle the situation. I don't think there is necessarily one biblical way to handle it or dating in general, so I'm not trying to be the dating police here.

 That being said, I have been here many times. I'm at school or church, or some event where there is a handsome guy and it's obvious he is a Christian. I may see him every Tuesday and Thursday in class, I may see him every Sunday at Church, or his face could keep popping up on Facebook. We could be friends, random students sitting next to each other in a boring class, or I could be admiring him from afar. Either way, it is hard to get him out of my head. 

So what do we do?

 Well, on a big picture level, nothing. 

 As a young woman who has liked many guys at times for years without them ever noticing me as more than that random classmate or friend, this is hard to write. I want to do something! I want to tell him how I feel. (Well, maybe not. I am afraid of rejection.) But I certainly don't want to just wait and see if he ever likes me. Frankly, I've done this many times, and it's hard. But I believe that the guy needs to initiate a relationship as a potential future husband and leader of his family.

 In "Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?", Carolyn McCulley writes, "When is a man interested? When he says so and his actions back up his words. Anything less is at best merely friendly and possibly even uncertain or inconsiderate. If he's a noble man who's made noble plans, one of his noble deeds is letting you know about it!" (90).  

 I confess that I was disappointed when I first read this. I'm not sure what I thought the author would say. Honestly, I would have preferred something more like, "Five Sure Signs Your Crush is Totally Into You", or "How To Get A Guy to Initiate A Relationship". Because really, that is the direction I want to go and it would involve me actively pursuing that goal.

  But in reality, McCulley's words provide the right answer. And the answer is no. In this situation, he doesn't like me because he hasn't told me he does. 

 That isn't to say that nothing will never happen in the future. I also think that as women we can always initiate friendships with men. But as far as my heart and romantic interest is concerned, I must proceed with my life facing the truth that he does not like me. 

 But of course, we don't sit in a corner of our room just waiting for Prince Charming! So in the small details of everyday life, this is what we do when there is a guy we like:

1. Pray, Pray, and Pray Some More

  I can't stress this enough. Jesus commanded us to pray, and it is such a privilege that we can come before our Heavenly Father. " not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7, ESV).   We need to bring everything in our lives before God in prayer, and the guy we're currently crushing on is no exception. 

 There have been several guys I have prayed about in the past, and my prayers usually went something like this: God, there's this guy I really like. He seems like a great guy who loves you, who is active in his church, who has a great personality, and is good looking. God, I pray he will notice me and like me, too. But I pray that You will help me get to know him more, that You will show me whether or not this guy is for me someday. And I pray for Your will to be done.

 Looking back on my years in college, I can see the Lord's faithfulness to me and how he answered my prayers about the guys I liked. My freshman year I began to pray more boldly. I asked God to truly show me whether or not each guy I liked was for me. I asked for Him to change my heart and feelings toward the guy, or show me in a tangible way if the answer was yes or no. And God answered my prayers.

 My heart changed toward the first guy. One day he did something I thought was inappropriate. Though it wasn't a horrible sin or a deal breaker by any means, my heart changed. After that day, I no longer liked him. And God answered my prayer.

 The second guy I saw picking up a young lady for church literally a day after I began praying about him. A few weeks later, they started dating. And God answered my prayer.

 God did not provide a quick and easy answer for the last guy I liked in college. This guy was different because I thought that maybe he liked me back. But I didn't know for sure. He had said nothing to me. So I said nothing to him and just tried to get to know him casually and be his friend. And I prayed. But it seemed like God wasn't answering my prayer for Him to show me the answer. It took two years, but over time, after observing several things about this man, I realized that though he was a great guy and a strong believer, I couldn't respect him in several areas. And how could I even date a guy I couldn't fully respect? And God answered my prayer.

 Though each answer was painful, I learned so much about prayer and God's faithfulness and His timing.

2. Observe this man. 

 How is he with kids? What is he like angry? What is he like sad? What is he like when he's happy? How does he treat his mother? What kind of things does he like to do? Is he a hard worker? Is he willing to help out in any way that he can, or is he picky in how he serves? Do you get along with his family? What are his views on everything from the Trinity and salvation to how he feels about tattoos and alcohol?

 I'm not saying you have to know the answers to all of those questions before you potentially started dating, but they are still good to know, especially during this time when he's not necessarily trying to impress you and only show his good sides.

3. Pursue growth in yourself.

 This is where I start to fail. I forget that while I am looking around me for good, strong men who might make a good husband someday, that there are good, strong men looking for a wonderful potential wife. Would I make a good wife? In some areas, I would have to say no, from heart attitudes, my selfish nature, and not being super proficient in the kitchen. So these are areas that I work on.

 Even if I never get married someday, the skills and quality traits I am trying to grow in will never be wasted, either. For our ultimate purpose in life is to glorify God, and when we grow in the fruit of the spirit, we glorify Him.

4. Trust in God.

  Remember how my prayer ended in, "Thy will be done"? Well, that's the hardest thing to say, but the most important thing to say. I'm preaching to myself here. When I like a guy, I am convinced that he is the one for me and I can become obsessed. 

 But I need to trust the One who made me and who delivered me from my sin by dying on the cruel cross. If Jesus did that for me, can't I trust Him with my love life, or even lack of a love life? God may or may not have a husband in my future. It may or may not be my current crush. But either way I am spending eternity with Jesus!