When I Say I’m Praying for [him]

I say a prayer every time I think of you. Every. Single. Time.

I pray that you’re allowing what the Lord is doing in you during this season.

That you are completely yielded to the Holy Spirit and where He is leading you.

That you are fruitful and growing in wherever you are, whatever you are doing.

I pray for you.

I don’t pray about us.

I do tell the Lord about what I feel for you and openly express my desire to be with you, but I do not want to nag heaven with cries and petitions of what I want and how I want you.

Not that doing so is wrong, but then is it really right? Am I even truly praying for you if my intentions revolve around me?

I refuse to highlight what I want and how I feel, no matter how incredibly tempting it is for me to do so. The last thing I want is to make this journey of praying for you about me.

If I’m going to passionately bombard heaven with relentless prayers about you, I might as well make them into prayers that are actually, well, for you.

For your benefit and for your good and for His glory in your story.

Whether that story includes me or not begs to be seen, but that doesn’t change a thing.

I choose to pray not with palms clasped tight but with arms open wide.

More than anything else, I pray for His will to come to pass in every area of your life.

I pray to see His glory shine ever brighter in and through who you are and who He is making you to be.

I pray that you live a life of His best; even if that means it’s a life that does not include me.

I don’t pray that you’ll be mine. Just that you’d be His.

Dear Mr. Right: I Can’t Love You That Way Anymore

Dear Mr. Right,

Just a heads up: this might not make you feel butterflies or see hearts.

I’m assuming you’ve read the thousand of books and posts out there on the qualities “God’s Perfect Choice” should have. Of course you have, you’re a godly man. The truth is, I have always wanted you to be the epitome of what everyone would call “The One”. You know how some people say that from the very first time you lay your eyes on that one person, you just know? Well, I have a type. And this entire time, I have waited for that leap of recognition when I look at faces that pass this physical standard. I have held a list up to every guy who dares to get close to me, trying to see how many qualities on my list he lives up to, trying to rate and trying to see if he is you.

But maybe it won’t be that way for us. Maybe you look nothing like how I want you to. And so let me look for you not through the lens of this world and its superficial standards. Let me recognize you through your bubbling laughter and sparkling eyes, through your kind soul and compassionate smile. Let me see not how many barbells you lift at the gym, but how you arms are outstretched to those in need. Let me see not the brand of shoes you wear, but how your feet are willing to go wherever the Lord says so. Let me hear not how deep and melodic your voice is, but how you speak life, grace, and truth. Let me notice not how high you hold your head up, but how low you kneel before His Throne.

One of the main reasons I will love you so much is because you look like Christ. 

Yet amidst all these expectations and requirements, I realized that while having standards is most certainly not wrong, I was teaching myself to only love good people. I was conditioning myself to love you conditionally, and that the moment you start messing up, I can no longer consider you as God’s best. And I can’t love you that way anymore. I’m done claiming to be ready to love you when it’s actually on the basis of my preferences and comforts and pretensions. 

How can I expect you to never make a mistake when I constantly make mistakes too? How can I expect you to be forgiving and understanding of my issues when I refuse to even give any guy the time of the day because he has struggles? How can I say that I love you when it has become all about my standards and my happiness? 

I sincerely apologize for having diminished your worth to a formula; for thinking that your value is rooted in how convenient it would be to love you. I don’t want you to be a checklist I get to tick off. I want you to be real.

So know that I will also love you in the moments that you fall short.

I never want you to feel as if I would judge you just because you lost control over your anger or had a murky past. I never want you to think that you have to be the poster boy for Prince Charming to gain my affection. All I expect of you is that you love God above everything and anything else; I expect you to revere Him and adore Him and live out your life in light of who He is.

Still even then, I know there will still be mess-ups. You’re going to make mistakes and so am I. We’re going to hurt and we’re going to fight because fairy tales and chick flicks are just that – fiction. But what we have is better. What we have is not a story of pretend written by human hands, we have one written by the Author of the Universe – full of plot twists and conflicts for we are to be refined all through out this journey called life. I doubt that it’s going to be easy, walking on this path together, but there will be no balking the moment things get tough and there will be no running away. There will be love, there will be understanding, and there will be repentance and forgiveness.

See, I don’t want us to be like couples who claim to have missed out on “The One” and that they married the wrong person. My love, to me, you don’t become “The One” when you have fulfilled my preferences; you become The One the moment we say, “I do” – that’s why the path to you must be filled with reason and guidance. You remain to be The One even when you fail and even when times get rough. And though you will change through the years, that wouldn’t change a thing because I know that I would have married a person, dynamic and changing, not a list.

To be honest, I’m writing this more for my sake than yours. I have always been obsessed with getting things right, but I am done having criteria that are selfish and are driven by my individual desires. I’m doing this to remind myself that The One I’m waiting for is also a human being – and I wouldn’t have him any other way.

And so tell me, tell me about the universe hidden inside of you, show me the darkness, and let me point out all the stars I see. Let me commit to you not with knowledge of my ideals, but with knowledge of your faults and your weaknesses. Let me love you not only because, let me love you in spite of.

For while the process of choosing you would mean the need for wisdom on the basis of clear thinking, being in a relationship with you would be driven by wisdom on the basis of God’s unconditional love. And so when I dive into this adventure with you, it means witnessing both wonders and horrors; it means embracing the beauty of mystery and uncertainty.

When I love you, I love you completely – past, present, and future; mess and all. When I choose you, I don’t choose by formula, I choose by faith.

And it is with faith that is neither blind nor naïve, with eyes fixed on The One who first loved, that we’ll get this right.

Dear Millenials: How Do You Love?

Dear Generation Y,

Hear me out. In this world of modernization, we claim to know love by insisting on “marriage equality” all the while pushing for divorce and pre-nuptial agreements. We stay in a relationship until someone more interesting comes along. We think that sex before marriage is completely normal because, hello, we have to check the sexual compatibility.

Let me stop you right there. What’s your definition of love in the first place? I find it sad that so many people in relationships cry out, “understand me” “listen to me” “give me this” “pleasure me”, me me me me me. People these days enter a relationship based on what they can get – on how much the other puts out sexually, on how rich the person is, on how much fun they’ll experience while it lasts. We don’t look for partners who will walk out the rest of our lives with us, we look for people who set our hearts ablaze until the fire runs out. We ride along until the bursts of adventure turn into comfortable moments of mundane, then we go along looking for another person to give us the thrill yet again. 

We enter relationships founded on chemistry, not trust. We enter relationships based on “similar interests”, not mutual beliefs and values. We want someone cool who’s good-looking and dresses well, not a beautiful soul who inspires us to be a better person. We want someone easy, not someone who knows her worth. We want someone perfect, not someone we can grow with. We want someone right now, not someone who is worth the wait. We want someone who’s “modern”, who believes in open relationships and one night stands and understands that there are other fish in the sea, not someone who believes in loyalty and building a life together.

Instead, the talk of commitment makes people balk. We laugh at couples who “take things too seriously” in their 20s. We tell children to “explore, but don’t invest too much because you’ll break up eventually.” We romanticize people who leave their homes so they can spend their life wandering from one place to another. We don’t believe in settling down. We believe in “options.” We believe in being “explorers.”

We have wider social circles than people ever did in any other generation. Yet we have less meaningful relationships than people did in any other generation as well. We know people based on their facebook wall and instagram account, not their history and personality. We think that a person’s value is dependent on how many friends they have and how many likes they get, not their identity.

We’re run by logic, you see. We’re practical. Getting to know another person’s depths is just too time-consuming and takes too much effort. We have to save the energy for our school and work. Relationships can take the back-burner because we have a career ladder to climb. Long-distance is just too difficult so we’d rather break up. We want what we want so we refuse to meet halfway and swallow our pride.The people we have relationships with should fit our schedule, anything less convenient and we cut them off. Apparently, material things and temporary gratifications matter more than people these days.

And you’re surprised the relationship didn’t work out? Love, to its core, has been about giving, never about receiving. Love is a commitment, a decision, not a fading emotion.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
-C.S. Lewis

We love movies where the girl comes up to the boy whose heart she has broken a million times over before, asking him to love her. We adore TV shows where the guy runs to the airport and while the girl turns him away, he is undeterred as he promises to still wait, to still hold on. We like stories where the guy is edgy yet respectful -a gentleman in all the right ways. We watch them over and over, wishing that that was our story.

But wait a second, are you sure you can have that as your story? Are you ready to love someone that much? Can you risk leaving your life behind and move to another continent to chase after the one you love? Are you willing to ignore other people vying for your attention as you wait 7 years for the one person you truly want? Do you believe in abstaining from physical intimacy so that the body you’ll give on your honeymoon night would have only been one with your spouse’s? Are you willing to give up certain goals you have for yourself because you know that you can build a better life together with the person you love? Can you open your heart like that and be completely vulnerable as you lay your love down for another person?

No. Because we’re too scared. We’re too guarded. We’re too selfish. We’re too embarassed by the thought of putting ourselves out there and getting turned down. We don’t want others to think of us as “old-fashioned” or “whipped.” But then, that just shows how we’re thinking of ourselves. 

“Fear is always a killer. It doesn’t always look like ugly cowardly fear. Sometimes it looks like unforgiveness – when we don’t want to forgive because it may just happen again. Sometimes it looks like entitlement – when we want to hold back for ourselves just in case. Sometimes it looks like pride – when we think we’re better off.

Whatever it is, fear and love are like oil and water. If you want to hold on to your fears you’ll end up with your fears. If you want love, you have to be brave.”
-David Bonifacio

There’s no such thing as loving with half of your heart, as the John Mayer song goes. No, love is all-in. I noticed that most regrets stem from the fact that one played things too safe, and so I have come to find that the greatest risk is not taking risks at all. At the end of my life, I’d rather have the ones I love beside me instead of newspaper clippings of me and stacks of money that won’t matter when I’m gone. 

So I plead to you, don’t run and don’t hide your heart away. Love the way Christ loved you – wholeheartedly, patiently, deliberately, unconditionally. Love because you want to give, not because there’s something you want to receive. Love purely. Love no matter what it costs. Love until your graffitied walls have been peeled and the hidden canvas underneath has been uncovered. Love in a way that commits your entire life to one plan and one plan only – laying yourself down for this person. Love to the point that the word love feels insufficient anymore.

Love like it’s already the last chapter. Love like you’re sealing the letter.

Because that is the only way worth loving; that is the only way worth living.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-8‬ (emphasis mine)‭

P.S. Please be secure of your identity in Christ first. Know who you are and who you commit to because loving selflessly even when it hurts and when it’s hard is different from being a masochist and a pushover; from giving yourself away because you’re insecure. Love because you’re filled with God’s unconditional love; anything less, you’ll lose yourself and you’ll run out eventually.

Loving a Cheater

Your eyes hardened in defensiveness as I confronted you with your mistake. I could hear the way your pride is telling you to just leave, just walk away, to go with who you cheated on me with.

You know, someone once tempted me to stray from my love, too.

The only difference is, I chose love.

I chose you.

Even if it meant waiting for years.
Even if it meant chasing after you repeatedly as you reject me.
Even if it meant being taken for granted as you choose other things that capture your fancy.

You see, I knew your issues even before we entered this relationship.

I knew how easy it was for your heart to be captured by another one’s shallow, sugar-coated words.
I knew how you had the tendency to look for loopholes so you could justify your sins.
I knew how you succumb to moments of pleasure with another only to run back apologetically into my arms.

I knew exactly what I was walking into.

My love is not blind.
I see you exactly as you are.
My love just doesn’t change its mind.

I’m rightfully jealous, I’m rightfully angered. But my heart holds no hatred for you as I wait for you to decide.

You act
As if you’re the victim
As if I’m still just an option
As if your betrayal could be justified.

I’m nailed to a cross
My arms wide open,
My head hung down,
My blood pouring out from my side.

Oh sweetheart, remember.

I chose you.

It cost me everything, but I chose you.

And I still choose you.

So please. Choose me, too.

And this time, please give me all of you.

I wrote this as I was thinking about how vulnerable God can be to us, how we actually have the capacity to bring Him pleasure or pain. I remember a time when I fell into sin and I felt the Holy Spirit grieve. In the moment, I felt my heart shatter as I cried in remorse. I couldn’t believe I offended God that way, and as I thought of all the times I have sinned (which I couldn’t count because there are so many times!!), I was startled with the realization that that was how I break His heart each and every time I lie or gossip or choose my will over His. Every time I sin, I say that the God who formed the universe and breathed life into me is less important than my temporary gratification. Yet in His love, I feel Him accept my heartfelt repentance as He wrapped me in His arms and He sung innocence over me. It changed me forever.

I just want you to know, everyone has fallen short of His glory. Every. One. But none are too far from His grace. Don’t be afraid to approach Him as you do so with a heart that is fully repentant. He’s waiting for you with arms wide open, He’s waiting for you with a heart full of love and forgiveness. Just take that first step and trust me, He’ll meet you where you’re at. Then allow His love to change you radically from the inside out. 

And so my prayer is that you realize that all sin is equally serious, no matter how seemingly big or small, and it is all an act of rebellion against God that can never be justified. I pray that you will be more concerned about how sin grieves the heart of God rather than just gaining personal victory, and so you will cultivate a heart that is pure and pleasing in the sight of Him who sits on the throne. I pray that you will open your heart to all the grace that He has poured out for us so you can be free from the chains and bondages of sin. And I pray that you will remember what it cost Him to love you, and that you will love Him at whatever cost too.