“*Ate, what should you do when you have a suitor?” my cousin asks. She’s pretty and smart. She rides the rollercoaster of high school flings, which I have zero experience in. She’s only a year younger than me, but she expects me to say something wise.
All I say is something honest.
“I don’t know,” I tell her. “I’ve never had a suitor before.
*“Ate” is the Filipino word for older sister
[Why Am I Single?]
Rewind to a few years ago. I exist at 17 years of age with a definite conclusion on romance—it is nonexistent for me. No boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. No happy drama. No flings. No boys. No suitors. Nothing.
The teenage years drag on and so does my vulnerability. Young dreams implode with all the wishing and stupid feeling. Nagging holes long to be filled. A crush never returns my feelings. No guy shows interest the way they do to my friends. This sucks. I’m missing out. I crave to experience the sparks my younger cousin spoke of.
You know, sparks like romantic sparks? Things like legitimate *kilig. Sixteen and single isn’t exactly a “desperate” description…yet. But I figure that the absence of a suitor, a fling, or any form of reciprocated crush, is indeed alarming.
Maybe it’s a “girl thing”. At the core of a girl’s heart, there resides the desire to be pursued, to be wanted. A girl wants to be worth someone’s chase. But no guy on this side of the planet shows me interest, so the questions burst like annoying exclamation points:
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Why not me?”
I sulk in the bus on the way home, when the Holy Spirit speaks. His voice exudes peace, always in perfect timing. “Do you want to know why you don’t have a boyfriend yet?” He says. “It’s because you’re reserved for someone.”
“I’m reserved for someone?” I smile. I actually feel it. The *kilig.
“Kilig” is the Filipino word describing the light, giddy feelings of butterflies while being around a crush or loved one.
[Dreaming Too Much]
For the rest of the week, I am a happier person. My idealistic mind flourishes with fantasies and embellished dreaming. It gets out of hand, like a crazed bird fluttering out of a cage.
This is so cool. I’m reserved for someone.
Will he show up soon?
He must be so cute and so godly and nice.
I hope he’s a musician or an artist!
All the thoughts coalesce into the idea of the dream guy, who will someday satisfy the empty spaces. He’ll come like a hero and whisk me away to the adventure I’ve been longing for.
Unfortunately, I learn the hard way. Too much dreaming is a dangerous thing. The kilig dissipates in a week’s time, collapsing on new questions. “When? When is this guy going to show up?” I cross the hallways of the school, imagining I’d meet the guy there. I’d bump into him. He’d catch my books. We’d smile like clumsy kids, just like in the movies.
I blink and mentally face-palm myself.
Harsh reality points it out. No one is here to meet me.
I’m still dreaming. Pathetically dreaming.
[The Greatest Lover]
School ends. Summer parades in, heralding the time to sulk in its heat. I’m ready to rant about my lack of a love life when He speaks again, gently yet sternly. A love song plays on the speakers. It sounds as if He sings along.
“Do you want to know who you’re reserved for?” The words are supernatural melodies ringing against my ears. It’s never been this clear before. “You’re reserved for Me first.”
Suddenly, a deep sense of love engulfs me like an embrace. It feels like fire tracing my arms, and it throbs with jealousy and longing. Then I’m weeping, chest lurching, as if a dam broke inside.
The weight of His love overwhelms all logic. I realize for the first time that He is this personal. He is this attentive to the dreams. He understands. He cares. He cares magnificently about the little things. He knows better. The only one who could satisfy this heart is never the boyfriends nor the romance nor the flings.
I want to be pursued. Isn’t He pursuing me all along?
Haven’t I been enough for you? He sings.
[The Greatest Romance]
I looked forward to meeting a human who could “complete” me as if this person was worth all of my heart someday. I craved for “love” when the greatest lover was already here, waiting for me.
God describes himself as a jealous god (Deuteronomy 4:34). He demands exclusivity. He prohibits his people from surrendering their affections to an idol. It hits me how obsessing over the “dream guy” counts as my idolatry.
“I want to be the first to have your heart before anyone else,” He says.
Humans exist with god-sized voids they may or may not be aware of. God maintains a fierce claim on these hearts because He’s the only one who can satisfy and fill the empty spaces.
He’d rather give of Himself than allow His beloved to live unsatisfied by earthly loves. He’d rather have us delight in Him first because only He can complete us.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4)
And isn’t He worth my heart?
The Prince of Peace who rides like a brilliant hero on a white horse (Isaiah 9:6; Revelations 19: 11-16) paid the ultimate price to claim His beloved, His bride, His church (John 3:16; Revelations 19:6-9).
He saw the worth of my imperfect heart, yet paid it all in blood anyway—without the guarantee that I would love Him as much. He counts the broken gears in my heart, and loves it fully into wholeness.
No wonder why he reiterates it over and over again, like a lover admonishing His beloved: Love the Lord with all your heart. (Luke 10:27) He deserves all affection.
The romance I desired from an earthly guy is merely icing on the cake. God and His love prove to be the whole cake.
Years later, I finally have a God-given relationship with a fellow human (YAAAS, he’s a musician!). It is dazzling. It is undeniably beautiful. (The love songs are surprisingly relatable now).
But the earthly relationship still proves to be “small” compared to the surpassing satisfaction and love God sustains.
I can’t say I’ve mastered it, but I’m learning how the greater reality of Christ tears down whatever “idol” my heart is tempted by . The greater satisfaction in Christ prevails. This is what “relationshipping” with God looks like. It is the absolute surrender to His fulfilling and perfect love.
It doesn’t compare to any dream guy.
How He Loves by David Crowder Band
He is jealous for me,
Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.