I have a confession to make.
I have a crush.
Oh yes, a crush. I say this unabashedly, unashamedly, even with a a stint of pride, acknowledging that I'm still 19... my teen angst has not yet subsided and I don't have to acquire a false sense of maturity to accompany my 20's for another 3 months!
That being said...
I've had a lot of qualms about my feelings for the duration of this crush, because (here comes a shocker!) crushes are painful. And so in questioning this pain, I've constantly asked myself "Should I feel this way?" and "Am I just emotionally using him?" and chastised myself with " I don't even know him! So I better stop this silly daydreaming nonsense!!"
But this is not another "emotional chastity" post - there are plenty of those out there (believe me, I've done my research (on a side note, compulsive Type A personality, anyone?) ). No, I've gone through the guilty part of liking him, and reached a point when I had to surrender my feelings up to God*, recognizing that I cannot control my desires, but knowing that ultimately... He knows what is best and what He has in store for me is greater than my wildest dreams.
*(note: read tell God "God, I'm putting my emotions in a box, and giving that box to you and walking away"... 3 seconds later: "God, that didn't work, please let him like me too!!!! Please let me talk to him!!! Can we just be friends at least, God, please... PLEASE???!")
For now, however, I have a crush on a guy that (from what I can tell) is a strong man in Christ, intelligent, handsome (allow me to stop here and just call him a Catholic McDreamy), and my heart soars at the idea that maybe, maybe, if I work up the courage to say something... something could happen. My heart does yearn for this.
And this crush, in ways he is completely unaware of (I derive much internal amusement from this thought), has taught me some good things. It's funny how God works through people... even when they don't know it ;)
This experience with him has taught me that... a crush isn't bad. It's a reflection of a desire in our hearts. God makes attraction happen, it's part of being human. However, there is a reason for that pain that comes with the excitement, and in my case it results from a fear of taking a chance.
When you never take a chance, you instantly crush any hopes you may have had. How can you expect or even hope for good things if you do not reach for something? If you don't, you are automatically qualifying that something as unattainable. In effect, you are crushing any hope. (ouchhh...)
But why? Why the fear of taking a chance? Why the fear of even talking to him?? It all comes down to one self-belief, one I've struggled with for the majority of my 19 and 3/4 years... I'm not good enough. That internal voice emerges when the possibility (however much of a stretch it may be) of love arises and tells me Joy, you are just not smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, athletic enough, poised enough, funny enough, mature enough, holy enough. One look at you, Joy, and he will find you lacking.
And so, I look down when he passes by. I "casually" never get to shake his hand during the sign of peace during mass. I avoid chances to talk to him no matter how much I contradictorily desire those chances to arise. I am scared of vulnerability and afraid to show my brokenness, and I fear that if love were ever to arise, he (or whoever) would see me as I am and have it be too much and not enough.
Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
Amidst all this turmoil, one truth stands out. He who knows all and loves us beyond belief has already seen us. Jesus has seen the depths of our soul, He knows our hurts, our scars, our desires, our joys. He wants to heal us, and if only we have faith in Him, like the woman from the Gospel of Matthew, He will.
So what can I take away from my crush? That I should be unafraid to be seen, because Jesus, who loves me without end, has already seen me. That He knows my wounds and that I can have faith that he is healing me.
Finally, the Father desires us to be happy and experience true joy. So let's work to be confident in Him and His love, mercy, and goodness so that we may face life without fear, more open and receptive to the blessings God bestows upon us daily. Who knows, maybe a conversation with a cute Catholic guy may come out of it... ;)