Disclosure:
This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share a commission.

How many different emotions do you have every day? Dozens, scores, maybe even hundreds? Let’s just say that if the average woman was an air-traffic controller and her emotions were incoming planes, she’d have a full-time job telling them where (and where not) to land.

Some of the most persistent and challenging of all my many desires are the ones that have to do with romance. (Tell me I’m not alone in this, ladies). Now that I’m in my thirties, I’ve grown in wisdom – but the romantic thoughts and feelings keep coming just the same. And you know what? I don’t think they will ever completely stop.

In other words, there is no cure for the common crush.

I know. It’s probably not what you wanted to hear. But think about it with me: We get tired of washing dirty dishes, but they’ll be around as long as there are people to feed and food to enjoy. Sometimes we get tired of our own emotions, but I think they’ll be around as long as there are God-reflecting men – and as long as we’re blessed with eyes, a heart, and a brain.

But don’t take my word for it: Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

In Genesis, God tells Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband.” As women, we long to be seen, to be known and be cherished by a man – because that’s how He made us. The Hebrew root for this particular desire contains the concept of stretching out or even spilling out towards something, like overflowing water.

There’s another Biblical Hebrew word that appears in English as lust, as covet, or just as plain desire. At its root, it means that something that’s good and delightful to me – or even precious and greatly beloved. This desire can be good or bad, depending on whether or not the desired object (or person) is mine.

But sometimes my heart betrays me. One minute I’ve got everything under control. The next minute: Splash! My emotions have spilled over. Before I know it, I’ve jumped from simple longing to possessiveness, infatuation, and even coveting. What’s a girl to do?

Contrast the bewildering and embarrassing unpredictability of feminine feelings with this sturdy declaration: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope [or expectation] is from Him.” Here the Hebrew word for hope contains the idea of being attached by a cord. As recklessly as my emotions may speed ahead, my hope is firmly anchored in the character of God.

I believe that managing my emotions is simply part of becoming a mature woman. If I’m faithful in caring for my own internal world, I’ll be ready to go on to care for others as well. Perhaps a husband, a household, and children. Or whatever constitutes my assignment in God’s kingdom.

In the end, it comes down to stewardship. Like money, my feelings can be invested for great good or squandered on something that causes great harm – or thoughtlessly frittered away on meaningless bits and bobs.  The choice is mine.

Six principles have helped me stay steady, to grow, and to invest in God’s Kingdom – despite my fickle feelings. They are: Pray, tell yourself the truth, choose confidants wisely, wait and see, steer well, and take cover.

Pray

In her book Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?, Carolyn McCulley says we know our desire for a good thing has gone wrong when we feel threatened by God’s will for us. I think this is the crux of the matter. The children of Israel asked for a very tiny thing (meat to eat), but it came from a selfish, demanding heart. Jesus could ask for whatever He wanted, no matter how audacious it might sound, because He wanted to do His Father’s will.

It’s possible to pray possessively, assuming or even demanding that the man in question will someday be my husband. It’s also possible to pray humbly and unselfishly, releasing him to God’s plan. If my heart is wrong, then the very best thing I can do is come to Him just as I am (inordinate desires and all). After all, when approached honestly, prayer is a two-way conversation — one in which the Holy Spirit adjusts my attitude and purifies my heart.

Prayer may change my circumstances. It will probably benefit the guy I’ve got a crush on. But it always changes me.

Tell Yourself the Truth

I’ve learned that as a follower of Jesus, telling myself the truth is my full-time responsibility. And very often that truth-telling means confronting my own thinking about a guy.

Is he mine? Well, no. Is he God’s? Oh, yes. And whose is your heart? That belongs to God too.

This coincidence must mean something. In a Victorian novel, it would. But I’m not a character in a book; I’m a child of the God who is writing my life story. Sometimes coincidences are part of His signature. And sometimes they’re just coincidences.

But he likes me. Perhaps. Or perhaps I’m misreading his behavior. It’s best to assume a man has no intentions to pursue me unless he actually says so.

But I’m in love. Am I sure? In his book The Four Loves, CS Lewis describes agape, affection, and friendship, as well as romance. While the other three can be good soil for the marrying kind of love, warm feelings don’t always equal romance.

Yes, I’m sure. Then what a treasure I have to invest for my Jesus! Falling in love is a powerful, transforming experience. This is God’s gift, designed to catapult me joyfully into huge life changes. Sometimes that change is marriage. And sometimes it simply digs deeper channels for love and trust in my heart.

Choose Confidants Wisely

The more powerful our feelings, the more we need someone else to help evaluate them. But beware! The feelings you talk about tend to grow, so choose your confidants well.  Avoid friends who only feed your wishful thinking, and seek out just a few trusted mentors who will tell it like it is. Before you discuss your love life with someone, ask yourself these questions: Do her comments encourage you to be selfish and impulsive? Can she help you wisely evaluate a person who shows interest in you, or whom you are interested in? Does she help you check your motives and expectations and turn your trust towards God?

Wait and See

I’ve seen many possibilities come and go on my marriage horizon, and listened in on many a real-life love story. My conclusion? Before you get too emotionally invested in your own opinion, just wait and see.

Convinced he’s perfect for you? It might be a good idea, but is it God’s idea for your future?

Certain that though he’s indifferent now, he’ll find hidden treasure in you someday? Love may grow, it’s true. But then again – it might not.

Sure you could never see yourself with him? Maybe not. Or maybe he’ll turn out to be an unexpected treasure for you.

Bottom line: don’t jump to conclusions. Not about your own feelings, about the guy’s feelings, or about God’s plan.

Your feelings are a lot like the weather...

Steer Well

You can’t fully control which feelings or temptations come your way. But you are responsible for how you respond to them, and which ones you feed. And this responsibility is a serious one, because your imagination functions as the steering wheel of your heart. Don’t dwell on something you can’t honestly have. Whether it’s thoughts of kissing the guy in the next pew, or going to bed with your boyfriend, pretend you’re at the wheel of a car and there’s a cliff ahead.

Move decisively away.

Now.

And steer your imagination somewhere safe instead. Many women have found themselves in places they never expected because they didn’t take this steering wheel more seriously.

Take Cover

Your feelings are a lot like the weather.  You will be much happier if you don’t let them dictate your life. But at the same time, they are real and they affect you. It’s just as unwise to pretend they’re not there, as it would be to pretend you don’t need a coat in Antarctica.

Like the weather, your emotional and physical desires are normal. They don’t surprise nor shock your Heavenly Father. He designed you to want these things; it’s His job to help you wisely manage your emotions. So when you’re caught in a tempest of temptation, call out to Him: You created me. You called me to be pure. So help me! Hide in Him until the storm passes by.

Listen, girls: Guarding your heart does not mean living a life of fear or guilt. It can be one of your life’s greatest adventures. Think of taming a horse, or riding a wave: It’s bewildering and wild – and full of joy. In this adventure, you always have an Ally, Counselor, and Friend.

He will guard and guide and bring you safely home.

Photography: JenniMarie Photography

40 Comments

  1. Thank you so much! This really helps. I’m encouraged by your words and you’re such a woman of God! Thanks for being a role model! x

  2. Thank-you for your awesome blog post about crushes! I came to Jesus later in life (age 38) and now at 41, I’m navigating through a crush and turning towards Christ to figure it out the way I wish I had when I was 18. I’m so encouraged and excited to be supported in my journey to get truly ready for marriage when God feels the timing is right. I just need to make it through this crush, and whatever ones may follow, and stick to the Godly plan. Thanks again 🙂

    1. Michele, I’m encouraged to hear your faith-filled, forward-looking response to God’s plan for your life.

    2. Thanks for this Elizabeth. I was embarrassed at being over 30 and still suffering the agony of a crush. Agonising because it’s one sided, all in my head. I read too much out of a simple gesture and then I prolong the agony by thinking, “see, he asked for my number (albeit for work) so he must like me too”.

      The whole thing is tiring and distracting from more important things I should give my focus.

      I’ll follow your advice: Pray, tell yourself the truth, choose confidants wisely, wait and see, steer well, and take cover.

      I sometimes can’t hear God when I pray because I’m so excited by my own ideas and imaginations of being Mrs So-and-so with three kids. But I ask for his will, not mine, to be done.

      So I need to talk to other people. Godly women I trust. I’m usually so embarrassed that I don’t tell anyone. Then I drive myself crazy with a lot of what-ifs.

      In Christ, I am more than a conqueror. He who the Son sets free, is free indeed. I don’t want to be controlled by my emotions. I want to be free to worship God.

      1. Aw, amen, Aisha! I continue to sorely need the advice in this post myself, so I hope you’ll feel enCOURAGEd (that is, filled with courage) to ask for support. Praying you find the listening ear — and the freedom — you’re seeking! God is so, so faithful, and I’ve seen it even in painful and embarrassing crushes.

  3. hi miss Elisabeth! do you believe that God can give the desires of your heart as long as your motive is to honor and glorify God? =)

    1. Hi Djunessa! Yes, I do believe that God can give me the desires of my heart. And I believe that He wants to, and that He will, when I delight myself in Him. (Psalm 37:4) However, I think it’s very important to remember that often we don’t know what we truly want — what will truly make us joyful. That’s why it’s so important to ask God for just what we feel we want — and then let Him choose for us.

      Many times, I have been surprised by God’s answers to my prayers.Sometimes I am disappointed at first, until I understand why He answered differently than I expected. And sometimes I *still* don’t understand. That’s when I need to trust Him. That’s what faith is for, right? We won’t stop walking by faith until we get to heaven.

      But all the things I DO know about Him say that He IS trustworthy! I think He only says “No” to what I think I want so He can say “Yes!” to something much, much better.

      So I don’t stop asking Him for the desires of my heart. And I don’t stop trusting Him to choose the way He answers me.

      Make sense? :O)

  4. i’m so blessed!!! i remember the passage from the Bible. it says that, “above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” -proverbs 4:23 =)

  5. jane bronce says:

    hi elisabeth, im jane..
    so blessed in your sharing…
    🙂

    1. Hi Jane! No, no Part 3, but I’d love to hear any questions you might like to ask!

  6. The Other Elisabeth says:

    “Falling in love is a powerful, transforming experience. This is God’s gift, designed to catapult me joyfully into huge life changes. Sometimes that change is marriage. And sometimes it simply digs deeper channels for love and trust in my heart.” So true, my friend, and so beautiful. I wish I’d known this at 18. Thank you for reminding me (just) before 28.

    1. Yes, that bit surprised me as I wrote. I love how the Holy Spirit brings things to mind that I didn’t know so clearly when I sat down to write.

    2. That was my favorite line and struck me the most as well! Digging some deeper channels right now 🙂

      1. Oh Katie, this makes me want to hug you! Also…I’m so grateful you ladies are underlining this particular quote because I think I need to pay more attention to it myself.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. It took me quite awhile the my near constant emotional state was not unique to me.

    Yes be careful who you tell. I by nature do not confide easily, but when I finally told me roommate of my crush she teased me often about him and it didn’t help matters at all.

    After reading your words I have an renewed vigor to pray and to stay strong in Him.

    1. You are so welcome, Beth. I’m glad you were encouraged — God is a great reason to BE encouraged! 🙂

  8. Wise advice, Nyasha! When I was a teenager, I found out the hard way that older mentors often make better confidants than peers do. I’m so sorry your story turned out the way it did. I hope the awkward feelings don’t last long!

    1. I agree with you. Older mentors… way better than peers! They’ll usually have good advice and a listening ear too.

      1. Yes, Samantha. 🙂 Now that I’m older, I do talk to some wise peers, but I know that I need the perspective of more experienced folks as well.

  9. On finding a good confidant-be very careful on who you choose. I told a then friend about a crush and she went and told the guy.that was quite catastrophic 4 me especialy since he never did ask me out and now has a girlfriend and i bump into him regularly-i feel like burying myself at such times

  10. This just keeps getting better and better! Thanks:)

  11. Such encouraging words!
    I liked the analogy in Part 1 of the woman as a terrible air-traffic controller of emotions.
    I’m one of those frequent victims of the common crush, and it’s good to be reminded how I should face those feeling as a daughter of the King.

    1. So glad you were encouraged, A. J. And you know, you don’t have to be a terrible air traffic controller. But (chuckling here) being a girl does seem to keep us busy!

  12. Excellent advice, Elisabeth.
    Loved the title– yes, we need to be truthful with ourselves most of all!
    Nothing wrong with seeking others advice…what do they see in that person?
    and nothing wrong with waiting to see either.
    I re-shared it on my blog. 🙂

    1. Sometimes titles are the most fun part about writing. Well, that and the delightful feedback. Thanks, Samantha! 🙂

  13. I totally agree with Tanya, this is exactly what I was feeling yesterday…I can’t beleive how God works in such amazing ways…now waiting for part 2! 🙂

  14. Wow. Thank you! I love that visually image of being “tied with a cord” to God through hope. Hope on, sisters! Our Lord is faithful.

    1. Oh, yes, and YES. He is. Hoping in Him brings surprises, but He never disappoints. 🙂

  15. Elisabeth, thank you as always for writing so candidly! It’s so true how our emotions change minute by minute but God Is showing me his don’t! (Yeah!!!) your friendship means so much to me!

  16. I like how you worded that- managing your emotions. It’s something women struggle with but it’s oh so necessary!!

    1. Yes, it is, Samantha. And it’s comforting to me to see that God is using my hard-worn lessons to encourage somebody else!

  17. Alright now, somebody confess. Who from YLCF has been listening in on my prayers recently? =) I’ve been laughing pretty often lately when I read posts here. It’s a little unnerving(In a really funny cool way) how they’re like, exactly what I’m thinking about that day. Thanks girls. =)

    1. Your comment made me chuckle! So glad this met a need for you, Tanya.

  18. I am liking this…so honest n needed…when do we get part two coming…waiting…The prayer indeed may help the man but more so the Holy Spirit works in me…keep writing..

  19. Great post! 😀 Thank you Elisabeth!! And, yes, you’re definitely not alone in this! 😉 Looking forward to reading more, hopefully soon. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *