I read an article you put on your blog where you answered a girl’s question about her crushes. I understand her dilemma as I struggle with the same issue. I feel like I’m cheating on God by placing my passion and desire into idealizing others and daydreaming more often then I live. Could you speak more on the cause of this as I am trying to understand how to overcome this. (p.s. my father has always been in my life so I don’t believe that’s a factor, just saying.)
There’s an old saying I’m sure you’ve heard before. It goes something like, “If it wasn’t ____, it would be ____.” If it wasn’t drugs, it would be drinking. If it wasn’t this boyfriend, it would be the next one. If it wasn’t porn, it would be Call of Duty all night using a soup can for urine.
Everyone has a different inclination for self-seeking pleasure. What you shouldn’t think is that there’s something damaged about you, because if it wasn’t fantasies, it would be fill-in-the-blank. Let’s get that out of the way, because right out the gate you’re being a bit hard on yourself saying, “I’m cheating on God.” If that’s the language we’re using, then welcome to the human race: we ALL do that, one way or another.
With any addiction like this, whether you have a viral crush on every new face, you’re up all night on porn, you like celebrity gossip, or you can’t get away from the touchscreen, we’re basically short-cutting our soul’s operational method of getting pleasure from God. It’s like bending backwards on how we were created: there’s nothing wrong with pleasure because God Himself made it, but we seek in it in illegitimate forms of instant gratification and halfway shallowness.
There are understandable reasons for it. Stuff is tangible; God doesn’t seem so. Stuff is easy; intimacy with God (and real people) is not always so. Having a crush all day and holding up an idealized hologram of somebody is much easier than approaching actual flawed dirty people and experiencing the highs and lows of human relationships. That’s why porn/fantasies/video games are so appealing.
I’ll be real here: I’ve had the crush-on-everyone problem for years. A hot girl would walk in the room and my soul would stretch towards her. I hated that and I liked it, too. I’d pray more for her than other people and treat her nicer, in hopes that — well, maybe I’d get to sleep with her or something. Honest, yes? But because of that I was never free, my mind was enslaved, I would create a path of havoc, I would have to run from baggage everywhere. God has grace for that too, but it was a painful process. I had to man up and quit living in my own head for my own selfish ego.
All that to say, getting out of this Easy Fallback Mode requires a purposeful rewiring. It’s an active, constant, all-out process that will need your full attention. The good news here is that your passion can be just as simply redirected towards God to care about the things He cares about. The way you feel wired for other stuff is exactly how you’re wired for God.
I know this will NOT be easy, but if you can intentionally, patiently, persistently rest in God’s absolute love for you, then you can start to de-pedestal other things in your life. You’ll be freed from them and actually enjoy them the way they were meant to be: not as overlords but as reflecting gifts from God. Over a lifetime, this de-idolizing becomes a reflex. Don’t worry if it’s not overnight; the Christian life is your whole life.
It’s also never about Stuff Vs. God (like most pastors will preach) — but rather this is prioritizing God over Stuff, so that things in the world will have their rightful place. Sometimes we hyper-spiritualize by asking God for a singular burning passionate desire for YOU ONLY, but that doesn’t mean monk-like detachment from everything. That doesn’t work anyway. God gave you a way to have ownership over feelings that might otherwise enslave you and to truly appreciate people in a way where you do not fear them or fall under their control, but instead to get into the mess of human intimacy. This is a lifelong process that will take crazy discipline, but that’s where our full dependence on God comes into play.
Again, it will be difficult. You might still get those heart-racing crushes, and no one can really control feelings. But you can still control where you go, what you do, and how you respond. God has grace ready for you and He understands that mental struggle. Rest knowing that He knows what you’re going through, it’s not surprising to Him, and He’ll strengthen you through that constant active renewal of your heart.