“He’s just a friend.” Well, something like that . . . and a lot more.
I’ve used this excuse before and man, I couldn’t count the number of times I had to lie and convince myself that he really was just—a friend. But deep within my heart, I know that he’s so much more than what I brand him for. But I had to deny . . . because I also knew that despite of the fact that I’ve grown feelings for him, he wasn’t just God’s plan.
Sure, he made me happy. He kind of made me feel special and loved, somehow. He was a shoulder to cry on, the secret-keeper kind of person and the man I thought I want to end up with. But the amount of happiness he gave was nothing compared to the pain he gave when he acted like he just doesn’t care—that I didn’t matter. That he can just hurt me all over again because he knows that when he comes back, I’ll be there waiting for him. He hid too many secrets, but most of them were about me—us, if there was such a thing. Sometimes, he tells me that he likes me. The next day, he’s into someone else. And it broke my heart to see myself begging for love, attention and validation from someone who clearly doesn’t see my worth. I got tired fighting for a battle that I shouldn’t have entered in the first place.
Unrequited love, in real life, isn’t romantic at all. It wounds and scars hearts, in the most traumatic way possible.
I prayed about him, though. But for most of those times, I was bargaining with God. That maybe He could work things out for the both of us. Maybe one day, that guy is going to encounter Jesus and I want to be there for him. I was willing to wait until that time comes because I’ve already invested too many emotions and I can’t just let go anymore. So, I begged God. Cried out to Him and even told Him that He was so unfair because He couldn’t make things easier for us. I started questioning His faithfulness in my life . . . but I realized that God wasn’t the problem. My heart was.
I allowed my heart to deceive me. I put my guards down and made too many little compromises. Until I fell hard enough for me not to be able to get back up. Hard enough to break my heart and cry myself to sleep at night. And it was so painful. So painful that even the thought of waking up the next morning only to feel the hurt disgusts me.
But God met me at the midst of my brokenness. He picked up all the broken pieces of my soul and placed them into His hands. He wiped the tears I thought were endless. He mended my contrite spirit and helped me get up on my knees.
At the feet of the Almighty, I surrendered all the pain, hurt, insecurities, and feeling of unworthiness. And I’ve never felt so broken yet loved and healed at the same time. God had been the only comfort I needed during that time. Truly, His love heals. His love restores and brings hope. His love causes us to forgive others for treating us badly and forgive ourselves for all the wrong things we’ve done. His love brings new beginnings and His grace is enough.
Slowly, the miracle of His love became more tangible. Because of the renewed heart that He has given, I was able to move forward from that season—taking all the lessons learned, charged to experience.
And I had to learn the hard way that:
1. You can’t be Jesus to people. By this, I mean, you can’t save them. Some Christians who have relationship with non-Christians often hope for the day to come that that person might come to the saving knowledge of Christ. Sure, that time may come and we’re not discounting the fact that God can make miracles. However, that person may also not encounter Jesus no matter how much you preach the gospel to him and drag him to church.
If the latter happens, the question is—are you sure you want to invest your time, emotion and attention into someone who doesn’t pursue Jesus as much you do? Are you sure that it’s worth it to be yoked with someone who doesn’t have the same convictions as you do? Are you sure you want to be with someone who doesn’t love and follow Jesus?
Think again and reconsider. This is not about religion. This is about having a personal relationship with Christ and making Him as the Lord over our lives. And if the both of you are not on the same page, you’ll be surprised to know that you’re probably not reading the same book. And that in itself, is a scary thought.
2. We should be careful where we invest our emotions. The pain I’ve experienced didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t just wake up with all those compromises served on my plate all at once. No. It was because of those unwise decisions I made. I thought those “hang outs”, “late night conversations”, “teasing”, “one-on-one getting to knows” and constantly thinking about and talking about him wouldn’t be a big deal. The truth is, these are not sin. However, they are unwise decisions. Too many times, we fall hard because of those little steps we take further away from God.
Falling in love is a choice. Because it’s up to you whether or not you’ll entertain that thought of you ending up together. You will decide whether or not you will reply to their cunning messages. It’s your choice to make whether you’ll accept or decline that seemingly “friendly hang out.” The people you choose to spend your time with completely depend on you. You are the one responsible for making a decision to invest your emotions in someone who doesn’t intend to pursue you in a long-term commitment.
It’s always our choice. And we need to be careful because what we choose, we nurture.
3. We need to guard our hearts. We live in a world where they say that we should follow what our hearts say. However, most of the times, it leads us to one thing—sin.
Guarding our heart is not just a mantra. It’s a commitment to pursue the purity of our heart. We’re not saying that it’s wrong to be friends with the opposite gender. No. But, please. Stop treating someone as an emotional dumpster. Stop defrauding each other’s feelings. Stop manipulating things and performing actions that confuse the other person. Be careful and watch over what you do and what you say that they may not stir up unnecessary emotions. Define friendship and be genuine about it. And please, no strings attached. Don’t try to make someone feel special if you don’t intend to commit to that person. Don’t give someone false hopes that you can’t both work out. Do not arouse love until it so desires.
We’re called to love in a manner that God did, not to connive so that we can get what we want and be selfish about it. That is not serving. That is not love.
Guarding our heart is a decision—one that we should commit to pursue every single day.
4. We should set our standards and know our worth in Christ. We don’t set our standards because we look down on people or because we think we’re better than them. No. It’s just that we believe and wait for God’s best because we are not called to compromise. We wait and don’t settle for any less because we know that God is a promise-keeping God and that He never holds back anything good for His children. We wait and we do it with a patient and expectant heart.
But while waiting, we serve. We serve and protect other people’s potential wife or husband by not defrauding their feelings. Of course, we don’t want to become emotionally and spiritually intimate with someone knowing that it is very much possible that we will not end up with that person. Also, we serve and protect our future spouse by guarding our hearts now. Let’s save up those emotions so that when the man/woman that God has destined for us comes, we can love them wholly, not by fractions. Not just with what’s left of us by those who have become our almost.
We are called to be loved deeply and served genuinely. So, pray and wait for that someone who will pursue Jesus with you, who will respect and honor you, who will commit to guard your heart and who will show you how to love and be loved like Christ does.
But until then, guard your heart faithfully.