I’ve had a lot of crushes in my life. Like A LOT. Most of them were fleeting; a momentary interest in their appearance, mind, hobbies, humor, etc. Some of them lasted longer than others, and maybe the guy in question even noticed I existed. I’m embarrassed to admit this publicly, but I’ve spent a substantial amount of time pining away for guys who didn’t even know my name. I’ve planned my days around where I thought they would be, tried to insinuate myself into their group of friends, or stalked them on social media. I’ve even baked things for guys I had crushes on. I did learn my lesson about baking, however, when I made a cake for an acquaintance and wrote a frosting request for him to be my date to the end-of-year banquet. He promptly gave the cake back to me, saying he couldn’t go and didn’t want to give me the impression that he liked me. I went home and cried whilst consuming that entire cake.
In middle school, my crush was a boyishly handsome, red-headed eighth grader. I was a year younger than him and spent most of the fall semester eyeing him in the hall between classes. Whenever, we passed each other, I would give him what I thought was a cute over the shoulder glance. I’m not sure if it was that cute though, as I was at least four inches taller than most of the boys, had braces and glasses, and hadn’t yet learned that blue eye shadow was to be used sparingly. Much to my agony, the only time he ever looked my way was when I accidentally ran into a locker.
In high school, I liked a guy with whom I had some mutual friends. I tried everything to get his attention. Nothing worked, so I decided to just straight up tell him I liked him. When he told me he didn’t like me back, I said that it was an April Fools joke. We’re not friends anymore and I wish that story were an April Fool’s joke…
Now, before you think that I’m an awkward person (I am) with the inability to express romantic interest (still correct), let me say that I now know you should NOT tell someone April Fool’s after saying you like them… no matter what their response is.
It’s fun to remember some of these stories and laugh at my decisions. I still often find myself in the midst of weird situations because of my dramatic and impulsive side, but things have changed between then and now. In the last year, God has literally been transforming and rebuilding my ideas of love, relationships, and even crushes. And in the midst of that rebuilding, I’ve had some realizations about how God feels toward me; realizations that have made me rethink how I interact with Him.
I didn’t share those stories with you just so you could laugh at, or commiserate with, the ridiculous places in which I found myself due to unrequited love. I shared them with you so we can remember what it feels like to notice someone as soon as they come in the room, to hope that they will text you, or to tell them how you feel… only to be either ignored or rejected. Imagine that feeling, except it’s not something you can get over. I’ve moved on from even the most devastating crushes. I’ve traded one infatuation for another when my feelings weren’t reciprocated. But God doesn’t have a fleeting crush on us, and He doesn’t trade up to get over us when we reject and ignore Him.
Recently, I heard someone say that God waits for us to wake up in the morning. He waits for us, longs for us to acknowledge His existence, and hopes that we will wake up in the morning thinking of Him. He shows us His love in sunsets, in friendships, and in music. He watches us lovingly as we go about our days, just waiting for us to remember Him. But He doesn’t just sit back waiting for us either. He straight up told us how He feels, and He didn’t say April Fools afterward.
Here are a few of my favorite examples of God telling us how much He loves us:
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
All of scripture – in fact all of creation – is filled with His love for and infatuation with us. He has never stopped trying to catch our eye and is always hoping we will notice Him. God is much better at that than I am. He isn’t an awkward middle-schooler with poorly applied eye shadow or a desperate high-schooler just looking for someone to validate them. Also, His motives are different than mine were. Not once did I have a crush on someone because I wanted them to feel loved or valued. Them feeling that way may have been an outcome but, at the end of the day, it was always about my need to feel loved. Conversely, God is fully secure and complete in Himself; but He seeks us out, woos us, and waits for us because He wants us to feel loved and, ultimately, so He can save us and so we can have a relationship with Him. As that reality sinks in, I realize I need to change some things about how I respond to God’s love and how I love the people around me.