I promised to give you the secret to admiring without desiring, so let’s dig in, shall we? It begins with a verse you’re probably familiar with:
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. . . . Then the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9).
Yeah, I know—Paul doesn’t mention anything about guys or crushes in this verse, but he does give us one HUGE principle: We feel what we think. In these verses, Paul says that feelings of peace come after we think right thoughts. In the realm of guys and girls, romance, six-packs and oh-so-cute youth group worship leaders, whether we feel admiration or desire depends on the thoughts we think too.
Taming the Wilds of Your Thought Life
Are you wondering how this might play out in real life?
Let’s say you show up to church and there’s this really cute new guy in the front row, and he’s praising God like he means it. He also looks like a cross between Harry Styles and a young Adam Levine.
If you think . . .
- Who’s THAT? My goodness. He’s like perfection incarnate.
- He’s so spiritual. He’d make a great boyfriend!
- I can just imagine us together. We’d be like . . . the PERFECT couple.
Then you’re going to feel . . .
- More desire
- Even more desire
Yeah. If you let your mind think thoughts like those? You’re going to be fighting off butterflies for the rest of youth group, that’s what. And you might faint dead away if he actually talks to you. Not exactly a great first impression.
If instead you think . . .
- He’s a good looking guy.
- I think I’d like to wait for a guy who loves God enough to worship Him no matter who’s watching.
- God, help me become the kind of girl who will make a good partner for a godly guy someday.
Then you’re going to feel . . .
- Hope for the future
- Trust in God
Do you see the difference? It might not seem like much, but little thoughts have big power to steer our emotions! We have a choice whether we’ll take Philippians 4:8-9 to heart and keep the wilds of our thought life under control.
You have the power to control your feelings, because—with practice, and the help of God’s Spirit—you can control what you think.
You have the power to control your feelings, because—with practice, and the help of God’s Spirit—you can control what you think! And that’s really good news, because if you do find a great guy someday and the two of you get married, there’s no off switch to that admiration you’ll have for masculinity. You don’t just wake up one morning as a newlywed and find you no longer admire masculine qualities like broad shoulders, confidence, and strength. Hence my “thing” for Brad Pitt, right? Thankfully, it’s possible to admire without full-blown desire, whether you’re a single teen or a slightly older married gal (just slightly, people).
Let me wrap up by saying that not all desire is bad! There is a time and a place for appropriate desire, and I for one praise the Lord for passion, butterflies, and the kind of kisses that send electricity down to my toes. Yes please. But if we’re honest, we girls often jump to desire for a guy way before we know his true character, his intentions, or whether God wants us to consider a relationship with him. So let’s work on taming the wilds of our thought life and work on admiring without desiring. You with me? And once we have that down, then we can, in fact, think a guy is hot (or nice, or cool) without feeling guilty about it.
PS: If you’re still wondering whether your desire for a particular guy (a.k.a., crush) is okay, check out Erin’s post “Are Crushes Okay?”
I want to know: Do you think it’s possible to change your feelings simply by changing your thoughts? Is there an area in your life—whether guys or something else—where you can practice changing your thoughts this week?