Responding to the Distraction of Attraction
Over the past fifteen years, Iʼve had the privilege of counseling hundreds of young women in the area of romance and relationships. And I cannot even count the number of young women who have come to me with scenarios that begin with the words, “So, thereʼs this guy…”
There is nothing more potentially distracting to a young womanʼs spiritual and emotional life than meeting a guy sheʼs attracted to. You may have been thriving in your relationship with Christ, fully satisfied in pouring your life out for others and then you meet an amazing, godly man and, wham! Suddenly, all your thoughts, attention, and focus become centered around one thing – that guy.
Being attracted to a guy isnʼt wrong in itself; itʼs a natural part of the way God made us. But if we donʼt handle attraction correctly, it can also become one of the most dangerous stumbling blocks to our spiritual walk. If you allow attraction toward a guy to overtake your thoughts and emotions, it can easily become an idol in your life that is taking your focus off Christ. Attraction can quickly morph into an unhealthy emotional obsession with someone – clouding your relationship with your King and dishonoring your relationship with your future husband.
But if you handle attraction right from the beginning, it doesnʼt need to become a stumbling block to your inner purity and set-apartness for Christ. Here are some practical suggestions for dealing with feelings of attraction toward “that guy”:
Give It to God
The best thing you can do when you feel attracted to a guy is to immediately give your feelings to God: Lord, thank you for the qualities I see in this guy. Please take my emotions and guard them. Enable me to keep my heart protected for my future husband. If it is Your desire that I enter a relationship with this guy, then I leave the details in Your hands. May I not manipulate or grow impatient, but allow You to remain in complete control. You will be faithful. You care more about this area of my life than even I do. The guy you are attracted to might seem like the only warrior poet in existence, and you might not be able to imagine living life without him. But the reality is that if he is not the one God wants you to marry, then the guy He has chosen for you will fit your life even more perfectly, and what you esteem in him will be even more than what you see in this guy. Donʼt allow your emotions to lead the way – take a step back and surrender them afresh to your loving Father. When your heart is fully yielded to Christ, you will be far more able to discern between His voice and the voice of your own desires.
Guard Your Thought Life
Many young women struggle with keeping their thoughts upon Christ – especially when there is a guy in their life whom they are attracted to. When you see an attractive and Christ-like guy, itʼs tempting to let your mind continually dwell upon him and get carried away with imaginations, desires, and fantasies about him. Even a Christ-built warrior poet can claim an unhealthy hold upon your thought life if you are not guarded and purposeful about “taking every thought captive.” Itʼs not wrong to notice or think about a guyʼs good qualities, but to continually dwell upon him day and night is not Godʼs best for your mind, heart, or emotions. Ask God to enable you to keep your thoughts upon Jesus Christ – not upon a guy. If you continually struggle with an “onslaught” of distracting thoughts about a guy, you can take some proactive steps to shift the pattern. First, the moment the thoughts come in, immediately start praying. Yes, you can briefly pray for the guy you are thinking about, but itʼs better to pray for someone else so that your prayers donʼt become another catalyst for obsessive thoughts. Pick someone in your life that needs the love of Christ, and aggressively pray for that personʼs soul. Whenever the enemy tries to distract you, you can “hit back” by praying intensely for an unsaved person. Itʼs one of the best strategies against spiritual attack – the enemy will back off when he realizes that it only turns you into a prayer warrior for the Kingdom of God.
Memorizing and meditating upon Scripture is another excellent way to center your thoughts upon Jesus Christ. Remember, Christ is the “Word of God made flesh,” so when you dwell upon Scripture, you are dwelling upon Him. At first, it might feel mechanical to memorize verses and recite them in your mind to ward-off distracting thoughts about a guy. However, you will find that after you get into the habit of doing it, it becomes life-giving and refreshing. When Truth is in the forefront of your mind, you are far less likely to allow your emotions to carry you away into a path of error.
Don’t Act Differently Around Him
When you are attracted to a guy, itʼs easy to allow your emotions to change the way you act around him. Whether you go out of your way to be around him, ignore other people in order to talk to him, or change your behavior to get him to notice you – attraction can quickly morph into manipulation. Rather than trusting God to open up a relationship if and when He desires, you might feel an urgent need to take the situation into your own hands and “make something happen.” A great promise to remember during times like this is Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (NASB). Your faithful King knows every longing, dream, and desire within your heart. If you leave the pen in His hands, He will be more than faithful to script the story in His own perfect way – not only meeting the desires of your heart, but going exceedingly, abundantly beyond all you could ask or think. Taking matters into your own hands will only diminish the beautiful work of God in your life. Ask Him for the grace to remain trusting and yielded – no matter how strong your feelings toward a guy might be. Let the Spirit of God guide your actions and convict you of any change in behavior that youʼve allowed in because of your own impatience or fear that you might “miss your chance.” He will be more than faithful, if you simply give Him the chance to be who He says He is. As David the Psalmist declares: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:8-10).
These are not just poetic words – they are the very words of God to you, His precious daughter. Ask Him for the grace to trust Him with all your heart, especially in this area of your life, and you will not be disappointed. He is faithful!
Make Christ Your First Love
So many of us, though we claim to know Jesus Christ, are still longing for our deepest desires to be fulfilled by someone else. We frantically seek the man of our dreams, giving ourselves completely to one relationship after the next, hoping that when we finally find the right guy our romantic fantasies will become reality.
“Jesus Christ is your true Prince,” I often say to young women, “the One who gave His very life just to be with you, the One who can rescue you from the dungeon you are in, the One who can transform you into a radiant princess, the One who can carry you away to His beautiful land to cherish you forever. He is the only One who can meet your deepest longings; He is the only One worthy of your entire heart, life, soul, and body – all you are and all you have. Jesus Christ is the Prince you should passionately pursue with all your heart.”
“Yeah, sure, okay, whatever,” is the typical response, followed by, “but thereʼs this guy I met…” Many of us donʼt ever realize that Jesus Christ is not a flimsy flannel board figure from a Sunday school lesson; that He is not a stern dictator looking down on us from heaven to make sure we obey His rules; that He is not a distant being who is too busy running the world to care about the details of our day-to-day lives; and that He is so much more than someone we say we believe in to keep ourselves out of hell when we die.
He is the Lover of our soul. Our true Prince. The One we have been longing for, searching for, and dreaming of since childhood. The One who will love us the way no one else can love us; the One who will cherish us forever; the One who will transform us from a hopeless girl in rags into a beautiful, confident, radiant princess. He is the One who makes us ready for true, lasting, human love. And He is the One who meets our deepest needs when human love falls short.
No matter how attracted you may feel toward someone, remember that he could never compare to your true Bridegroom, the Lover of your soul. Find your satisfaction in Jesus Christ alone, no matter how great or godly a man He brings into your life.
Psalm 107:9 says, “…He satisfies the longing soul…” If you are finding your deepest fulfillment in Him alone, all your needs, wants, dreams, and desires will be fully met – no matter what happens with “this guy.” This guy is nothing compared to your true Prince. There is no greater lover than the King of all kings! And He will be more than faithful to fulfill His loving purposes for your life, if you put Him first.*