Three months ago, I met, for the first time, Joseph*, the eighteen year old son of my mum’s youth group and long-term friends. We spent much time talking about relationships, love, and obeying God in singleness.
I had fallen away from the Lord a few years ago, and during those years I had viewed love and relationships very differently. God finally got ahold of my heart after three long, dark years, and one of the first things He changed in me was my perspective on love.
Make no mistake: I had a lot of stumbling and tripping along the way. There were guys named Matt and Jake (haha I apologize for all the extra links, but they are good context!), among others, that tempted me so badly to forsake the new Godly love/courtship approach that I had resolved in my heart to follow and obey.
At one point, after I had shared with Joseph my struggles about a certain someone and how I kept on trying to surrender him to the Lord, he strongly encouraged me to write about “how to not fall with feelings.” I agreed that it was a great topic to write about, not because I felt that I had authority to write about it, but because I would have a chance to look at it more deeply.
Once I started thinking of writing about it, however, I realized that I wasn’t exactly sure what my friend meant by his topic suggestion. So I dissected the phrase structure, and came up with three different interpretations. Yay.
Note: This took about a month of thinking and writing and non-writing and rewriting, because it was very difficult to make the ideas concrete and separate in my head.
Here we go.
1. “How does one not fall with feelings?”
How does one not fall in love with feelings?
I had that problem when I was a teenager: I fell in love with feelings. I fell in love with the feeling of being in love, with the idea of being in love, with the thrill of having someone in love with me, with the knowledge that someone was in love with me. I fell in love with having a relationship. There were a few times at least that I would make some extra effort to make sure that a guy was still continually in love with me, even though I cared nothing about him, just because I wanted the feeling of being cared about!
This is probably one of the reasons why I was never really truly just single my whole teenage life, even after I got saved. I had always had suitors–guys who were just always there. I let them stay, because I liked the feelings, the importance, and the attention that their presence, words, and actions brought me.
That is a problem, was a problem. If you feel this way, it is a problem that needs fixing. If you don’t think this is you, then stop and think: when was the last time you were not consumed by the thoughts of a specific someone (or someoneS) being your boyfriend/girlfriend?
To me personally, it was a problem of self-identity, self-assurance, self-confidence, value, and self-worth. Yes, I already was a Christian, but traveling from the point of my salvation, to living almost-in-reach-of-the-Lord-but-not-quite, to finally reaching the point where I wanted to find my identity and assurance in Christ took many years. I was a stubborn one, especially when it came to my love life.
Suggested course of action:
Don’t. Or, Stop. But if you do, or if you continue, I’m gonna tell you where you’re headed: your heart will shatter into a million tiny pieces on the floor. You will hurt a lot of people, and as a consequence, you will also get hurt real real bad. The stubborn-er get hit harder–that’s how God’s law of reaping and sowing works.
2. “How does one not fall with feelings?”
I understand this as “How do you fall for someone without your feelings? How do you start liking someone without getting your fragile emotions involved? How do you keep your feelings calm and unaffected even if you’re really attracted to someone?”
The answer is that you cannot. You can deny it, but even the very denial of the feelings that you are feeling for that person (hahaha redundant) will only fan the flames in your heart. Trying to deny it and smother it can sometimes even make it more intense because you’re keeping it all inside, letting it stir and simmer. One day, like a ticking time bomb, you will explode, and let’s just say that what will end up happening will not be pretty.
Suggested course of action:
2 Corinthians 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Read that verse one more time, slowly. Your imaginations and daydreams are taking over your thoughts, and they are exalting themselves above your knowledge of Who God is. You’re not supposed to be thinking of it or him or her more than you’re supposed to be dwelling on thoughts of your God.
I would also suggest that you talk to a friend, a sibling, a parent, or a Godly counselor about that particular person. Make sure that the person you will be speaking to is also truly seeking Christ. This ensures that he/she won’t be encouraging you in the wrong things or teasing you; won’t be helping you fan some flames of nothingness; will be rebuking you and bringing you back to earth when your head is way beyond the clouds; and encouraging you to bring everything to God in prayer. Trust me, the worst thing that could happen is that the person you end up talking to starts spinning theories in your brain which makes you hope more when you shouldn’t.
More than talking to other people, I suggest you talk to God about that person. Tell Him everything you’re feeling: He already knows anyway, but it’s a great outlet for you to rant to Someone (Someone Who you’re sure won’t be telling anyone else), and God loves hearing you speak to Him. Win-win.
When you’re finally ready to listen or when you’ve gotten tired of talking and hearing every human being’s opinion, ask God to speak to you through His Word. I’ve found that more than other people’s advice, God’s opinion mattered more to me and was easier to follow because I acknowledged His authority over everyone else’s, and I had gotten sick of people giving me their opinions.
3. “How does one not fall with feelings?”
How does one live a life of continuous not-falling, and be happy about it? How does one avoid falling in love so quickly, and passionately pursue the not-falling-in-love path?
Can one be truly happy and content just being single? Can there ever be a time that one is so happy being single that he/she does not even have anyone at all consuming his thoughts?
The answer is yes, and yes. I remember a huge chunk of my year last year (2015) when, though I was praying for a guy because I greatly admired him, I wasn’t really bothered. I was in love with my Saviour and it was honestly enough for me. If he had started courting other girls last year I wouldn’t even have batted an eyelid, and I would have been very happy for them. I would say that those months were some of the best that I have ever had in my life.
So what happened to me? Why did those months end? Simple: God wanted that season of my life to end. I couldn’t see it like that at the time, though, don’t get me wrong. I got pretty upset that God brought some guys into my life that tackled me away from my blissful blindness.
God was probably was saying to me, “Ok, girl, now you’ve had your rest and fun just looking at Me during the calm. Will that joy you’ve got now last if I bring you some storms? Do you think that the “contentment” you think you’ve mastered is steady enough? I shall open your eyes to storms raging about you: take a big breath, and open your eyes–oh, look here! I’ve got a few guys coming all at once. You think you’re strong enough, huh? You need to realize that you will never be strong enough.”
LOL. God taught me in unconventional ways because the ordinary did nothing to break my stubbornness.
Suggested course of action:
It’s all in the mind. It’s a battle of the will. Is your will and your mind strong enough? Of course not. This is why it is important to change your perspective first.
Are you sick and tired of falling for girls or guys too quickly, or in succession, only to have your hopes dashed later on when that guy starts courting another girl, or that girl decides she no longer likes you back? If you’re not yet tired or sick of yourself being in that situation over and over again, then I’m sorry, you won’t want to listen to what I have to say.
You see, only those who admit they are sick will be determined to get better. And only once you get so angry at yourself will you be desperate to get better. And once you are desperate enough, you will realize that you are desperate because you know you cannot change yourself or help yourself. Once you get to that point will you only look for the only Person Who can help you: the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has freed us from the stronghold of sin.
“Beggars can’t be choosers,” they say. In the same way, the desperate will grab any help given him. I pray then, dear reader, that God would bring some great storm or circumstance into your life that would push you down onto your knees, shattered, broken, and desperate, so that you would understand–truly understand–when I say that God is all you will ever need.
Over this post we have discussed three different levels of not falling with feelings. Ultimately, it is your heart that needs to be changed, and friend, I am telling you that you are weak, and you can never do it on your own.
Godspeed on your journey to not falling with feelings.
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”