How To Know If He’s In Love With You

As a business graduate, there’s one rule I got out of my accounting classes that I continue to live by today: never assume unless otherwise stated. Being such a stickler for rules, I made sure to adhere to this one. Apparently, that one went down for better and for worse. I literally never assumed – even if my discernment already told me otherwise and even if I no longer needed discernment because the man’s intentions were already so blatantly obvious.

The good thing is that through the muddy process, I learned that more than holding on to that rule, it was even better to hold on to wisdom.

And it was wisdom that taught me when to confront and when to step back. It was wisdom that taught me when to put up walls and when it’s okay to keep them down.

I’ve noticed that females have this reputation for being assuming. I will in no way defend that because I have been so deliberate to not turn out like that, but I also want to say that to a degree, I get why most girls assume. We live in a world where muscles and ego have been given a premium over humility and where ladies are frequently treated like a commodity (cat-callers, anyone?). It shouldn’t come to us as a surprise that when someone acts like a gentleman, the receiving end can turn it into something more than it actually is. It has become difficult for us to believe that someone can actually take us home and feed us good food without requiring anything more than friendship in return. And since we have a culture that glorifies casual relationships and blurred lines, the difficulty in identifying when a gesture means something and when it doesn’t becomes even more intensified.

But beloved, none of these actually justify anything. I am here to tell you a simple truth: if a guy truly likes you, he wouldn’t lead you on. A guy who has it in his heart to serve you will let you know very clearly what he wants. Furthermore, he won’t just tell you or show you he likes you, he should then proceed to pursue a relationship with you.

I vividly recall writing a blog post on how relationships shouldn’t be tied down to a formula, because they truly shouldn’t be. There is no one formula. But when it comes to this part of the relationship, a man’s pursuit, there’s really no way around it: a man in love with you will love you.

Love does not dishonor you nor does he defraud you.

Love is not self-seeking. Love does not go beating around the bush because he might get rejected. Love lays itself on the line because he would rather get hurt now than hurt the beloved in the long run.

Love rejoices with the truth. Love is intentional, clear, and does not attempt to confuse.

Love always protects. Love guards your heart and does not force his way in. Love guards the eyes of others because he does not want to taint your reputation nor your testimony.

Love perseveres. Love pursues.

Love does not tell you he loves you just so he can get it off his chest, knowing that it might confuse you. Love does not show you he loves you if he’s not ready to back it up with clarity and commitment.

I’ve been in both the situations I just stated above. Men have told me they loved me just so I knew, without any intention to do anything about what they said they felt. Whether I was interested or whether I was not, it always ended up one way: me cutting the guy off for a season. Why?

Here’s the thing: if a guy really wants to be with you, then it wouldn’t have mattered if you lived halfway across the world, he would still commit himself to you. The fact that someone would tell you that he has feelings for you without any plan of action shows that he’s not ready to take responsibility for his emotions. As women, we can make as much excuses as we want regarding why he just can’t commit right now, but those are just mere facades to cover up the truth you don’t want to admit to yourself.

Don’t allow yourself to be kept on the hook. You wouldn’t want to spend your life waiting on a man who claims he loves you but has no guts to actually ask you out.

On the other hand, men have tried to “make paramdam” (drop hints) without actually giving clarity as to why they do what they do. Now please, make no mistake in this and don’t assume the guy is dropping hints about liking you when he’s actually just being nice to you.

But since you’re already on the fence about it, the best thing to do either way is to ignore. If you’re sure that a guy is trying to “damoves” and he’s not offering a shred of explanation, then ignore him and don’t give him the time of the day. Just stop entertaining him. If you think that a guy is trying to “damoves” but you’re not sure if he actually is, then ignore the thought and don’t give it the time of the day. Don’t dwell on it until he actually goes and says something to you. The last thing you want to do is taint a caring friendship that was offered to you in purity.

If this guy is a part of your spiritual community, it’s best if you get to talk to his leader or mentor about it just so he can be guided accordingly. You would want to serve him as a sister. I also highly encourage you to talk to your leader or mentor to give you another perspective because you wouldn’t want to cut off someone who has been nothing but an honest-to-goodness brother to you.

At the end of the day, you draw your line. Confront when you feel like it’s already necessary to. If he won’t be clear, then you be clear about where you stand – and make sure you both know it.

When It’s Hard to Let Go

“Why did you even let the relationship go on for as long as it did?”

I looked my friend right in the eye and refused to budge my line of questioning. Here was a man who fell in love with a lady he knew from the beginning wasn’t the one God had for him. He dove headfirst into the relationship, ignoring what he told me were frequent nudges from God telling him to let it go.

With a shrug, he met my gaze and said as frankly as he could, “I just gave in to my desires and before I knew it, I was in too deep.”

Just several weeks ago, I talked to a woman who knew she had to get out of a relationship and yet she couldn’t quite bring herself to. My heart broke for her because I knew exactly what it felt like to be in that position. Sure, this is a story I’ve heard from plenty of other people time and time again, but this is also a story I myself knew very well. I’m well acquainted with the turmoil that comes with knowing you need to let someone go and yet not wanting to.

I remember coming to the Lord and telling Him,

“I can handle breaking my heart over this. What I can’t handle is breaking his heart.”

The reply came immediately, quiet but certain.

“Would you rather break My heart then?”

So I chose to break his heart since what I truly can’t handle is breaking His heart. But while people at the time were highlighting the strength to obey as swiftly as I did, they didn’t see the plethora of emotions surrounding that decision nor did they witness the horrid mess that I was afterward.

The Lord had to deal with several fears in my heart, fears that may be hindering you from letting go of the person you know you’re supposed to as well:

1. Fear of hurting the other person

When you really care for someone, this fear supersedes your fear of hurting yourself. I know people who end up staying in a relationship for many months more simply because of this reason and while it may seem like a compassionate move, it always ends up hurting the other party even more in the end because he would have invested more time and emotion by then.

Let’s be completely honest here: there’s no way to break up with someone that will make him feel happy and fuzzy about it. It’s always going to hurt. So when you know it has to be done, just do it. You’re also robbing him of the opportunity of meeting the person you know is the one for him. This may be hard to stomach in the moment, but if your hesitations are really out of love for him, then you would want to serve him better by letting him go. It may be that the most loving thing you can do for him is to break up with him.

The world may have taught us that love means grasping on to something as tight as we can, but we have now found a love who would hold on to us. We can let it go.

2. “I won’t find someone like him again. I’ll never love anyone else the way I loved him.”

It sounds a tad melodramatic typed out like that, but this is a thought that is very common and very real. In actuality though, this is just an emotion that says it is the first time you’ve been this attached to a person. It doesn’t mean it will be the last nor does it mean you won’t find something deeper than that.

If I were being transparent, I would admit that it took me years to stop subconsciously comparing the men I meet with him. But eventually, I did. And I realized that I would never find someone like him because there is only one him and I don’t really want another him because there’s a reason the relationship didn’t work out in the first place. Now, I get to be found by Someone whom I love so much more.

3. Fear of being alone

The transition between talking to someone every single day to not talking at all is always very abrupt and it takes quite a while to get used to. The loneliness that hits afterward is understandable, but we don’t have to stay there.

The good thing is that more than having a good support system walk with you through it, the Lord doesn’t have qualms in proving that He is close to the broken-hearted. The intimacy I had with Him during that season of my life tasted much sweeter than the seasons before. In fact, sometimes I go back and revel in all the memories wherein He made sure that I never felt alone.

You may fear of losing the feeling of being loved but you are never not loved, not for a single second. And it is when you let that relationship go that you will experience a Love far greater than anything else you have ever known.

4. Fear of regret

Regret is such a tricky thing to deal with. See, there are two regrets that frequently arise from this kind of situation: regret of letting him go or regret of dating him in the first place.

There is always the could-haves and should-haves haunting us down and leaving us sleepless at nights. But reality is, things are as they are now. There is nothing we can do to change what we have done and the only way now is to move forward.

If you’ve made mistakes in the relationship before, then begin by doing what is right. If you’ve crossed physical lines, take action to be pure. If the relationship dishonors your parents, then make the decision to honor them. If there has been lies and deceit, then come clean.

God works for the good of those who love Him and we know that those who love Him follow His will. Trust that as you go with His plan for your life, God will be the One to work the story out into a testimony that brings Him glory.

Now, how do you know if the relationship is something that you should let go? I can’t quite give you a rundown of how to know. The truth is that you just know, but if I may kindly point out: the lack of peace in your heart should already be a tell-tale sign. Abuse, unhealthy patterns, and toxicity are also dead giveaways.

You may start to go on about making it work, and I am all about commitment, but here’s the thing: beloved, if the relationship is not of God, then it has already failed before it even got to begin. You don’t want to fight for something Jesus didn’t die for – and He died so you can have life to the full. Don’t be so consumed with holding on to what you think is good that you miss out on what God knows is best.

And when you do finally decide to let that person go, you need to stick with that decision. They do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and the first few months truly are the hardest. You would probably be tempted to go running back to him, but stop yourself. Surround yourself with people who will not let you to second-guess yourself. You missing him and thinking about him does not mean you need to be with him. It’s an indication of the past, not the future.

If he does go chasing you around and continues to contact you, then draw the line. Don’t feed off the attention he is showering you. Him missing you does not mean he is the one for you.

I say this with utmost care and concern. The longer you leave yourself out of God’s will, the more consequences there will be. Let’s be frank here. You may be happy with him and he may emotionally satisfy you temporarily, but to your core you know that something’s missing. You can try to convince yourself that everything’s great, but you know something’s not right. Your relationship with God most probably took a hit as well because you can barely face Him anymore, knowing what He will say.

Do you really want to spend more time stuck in that limbo? Paul reminds us to throw off everything that hinders and to run with perseverance. That means determination to push through even when it hurts and even if it feels like you’re crashing to the ground.

I cannot promise you that you won’t hit rock bottom, but if you do, know that He is right there with you – He is the Cornerstone after all. Rock bottom can even turn out to be the foundation on which you are rebuilt and remade.

The best thing to do is to lift it all up to God in prayer. And I don’t mean the “God-please-let-us-end-back-together-after-we-grow-separately” type of prayer. I mean the prayer that acknowledges His will; the prayer that asks for His will be done no matter what that may look like. It is when you consistently place yourself in a posture of surrender that the regret about the past and the anxiety about the future become pretty much non-existent.

You may want to stay within what is familiar and hesitate at the thought of an infinite amount of paths sprawling out in every direction; you may balk at the picture of a future without the one person you thought was sure to be there no matter what road you take. But my dear, when doubt keeps us safe where we are, faith brings us to the pinnacle of living.

Let your faith become really real during this season of your life. Faith without action is dead and letting go may be the action step you need to take. God promises that the future He has for us is full of hope and while all may seem bleak in the midst of the turmoil, we have to be certain of what we do not see. We may not be able to peer into the fullness of the future but we have the only Light we need.

Oh, and my story?

Well I lived to tell the tale.

How to Pursue Your Boaz (Like Ruth Did!)

Is there anyone here not familiar with the story of Ruth? So often cited in Christian circles as justification why women can make the first move, we look at her story with profound interest. I’ve always been intrigued by the lives of the women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus and every time, I find myself thoroughly enjoying the way they were, in their own ways, rather scandalous.

Every year starting December 1, I re-visit the stories of the people part of Jesus’ ancestry and so once again dwelled on the story of Ruth. I thought of her as scandalous in the sense that she went and “made the first move”, which I figured was acceptable in their context and culture, but I came to see that things went much deeper than that.

The overarching theme of Ruth was Naomi’s bitterness turning into joy as she saw God redeem her and her family. Ruth’s story is that of an outsider being taken in and shown love and mercy. It’s much more of a testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness than anything else.

Don’t we all want our love stories to look like that? Here’s how Ruth got it right.

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
-Ruth 1:16-18

Upon closer inspection, we could see that Ruth was anything but the take-control, aggressive woman we made her out to be. All throughout her book, we could only see one thing she was determined about: going where Naomi would go. In fact, it was when she was eligible to get married to younger, richer men that she decided to leave everything behind and follow wherever the Lord, through Naomi, would lead her and call her to. She basically gave up her right to live her life the way she wanted to.

Forgive me for saying this, but we have become a culture so obsessed with self. Instead of looking at our singlehood as an opportunity to serve, we see it as a time to focus on self.

I’m not saying that self-development and discovery is wrong in any way, but while we’re busy bemoaning our relationship status, complaining about the lack of available men, and scrolling through social media sites, children out there are dying of starvation, women are being sold and prostituted, and families are broken apart by sickness and poverty. We are present at every singles get-together and retreat, yet we wouldn’t even sacrifice a couple of hours to be of service to other people.

And then we have Ruth, who laid all of her to serve the person entrusted to her.

She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.” She gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied.
–Ruth 2:7, 17-18

From the very beginning, her intention and her service was for her mother-in-law. Every decision that she made from the time her husband died was not to her own advantage. In fact, she basically shunned the thought of marriage and prioritized working and providing for Naomi. Her desire was not for herself. Naomi then had to be the one to convince her to get back in the game again.

And even then Ruth in her humility responded,

“All that you say I will do” (Ruth 3:5).

I think one thing a lot of us overlook is that when Ruth approached Boaz, she didn’t do so because he was the one she desired or because he paid attention to her. She did so because he was her kinsman and culturally, one of the few people who can redeem her family lineage and legacy. She did not do so out of her own volition, she did so out of submission.

Her act of going to Boaz did not speak “I like you Boaz so please marry me” as most of us would interpret it. What she was truly saying was, “In order to redeem the family name of Naomi, I am willing to be a living sacrifice and thus offer myself as your wife.”

Ladies, let’s be completely honest here. We all want to be in a relationship, but how many of us are ready to offer ourselves like that? And if we wouldn’t even let God refine our hearts to get to that point, then why bother magnifying your desire for a guy in the first place?

At one point or another, you have probably come across a Jim/Elisabeth Elliot quote, but I love this one certain line from a letter before they got married:

“Let not our longing slay our appetite for living.”

We’re all always longing for something. Love. Relationships. Family. Peace. Provision. Security. Health. Beauty. Purpose. We’re all longing – each and every one of us. Yet all of these must not in any way hinder us from living; from embracing and thriving where we are now, with what we have now.

I’ve talked to countless women who said they were praying to end up with a godly guy, only to find out 5 sentences later that they’re doing so in the throng of bars, speed-dating, and matchmaking sites. I’ve had single women older than me come up to me and ask me to write about how we live in a generation where men are afraid of commitment and pursuit, more so than any other generation before.

And I’m not going to deny the statistics. The trend goes far beyond the romance department. Working for the ministry, high on the list of our greatest, most pressing needs are male missionaries who would be willing to go places and spearhead certain pursuits. We have a huge pool of women volunteering themselves to go to the most dangerous of places because there is such a lack of men willing to rise up. (While I would love to discuss that in length, this isn’t quite the place or post to do so).

Either way, I believe that this does not at all hinder God’s stories for His children. Our frustration does not in any way give us the right to grab the pen from God’s hands and try to overwrite what He has already spoken. The fact that the cute office-mate you have is brave enough to pursue you does not change the fact that he’s not a follower of Christ. You being convinced that it’s your season to be in a relationship does not mean that you’re right.

If God wanted you married by now, then He would have found a way to bring a man into your life by now. It would certainly entail obedience from both sides, but He is more than capable of using the most unlikely of circumstances to, at the very least, get things moving. He managed to bring Eve to Adam when Adam didn’t even know someone like her existed after all.

The thing about the book of Ruth was that there was no angel visitation or apparent supernatural manifestation but her seemingly ordinary life was marked with divine orchestration – all started by her humble act of submission and catapulted by her obedience. Ruth did not just happen to end up in Boaz’s field, where he took notice of her, and it was no coincidence that he was her kinsman redeemer. It was all God, moving behind the scenes all along.

God writes the best stories, but only if you allow Him to hold the pen.

So if you really want to pattern out the way you approach your love life according to Ruth, then here’s how you can start:

Yield. Surrender. Obey.

Bro, Don’t Me.

Based on a thousand true stories of malilinaw na malabong usapan, though not one of them mine. Rather, these are the collective thoughts of males and females alike who are close to me and have been in such circumstances before. 

Let’s make it clear before this gets too far. Like a puppet-master with a string, you have always known how to pull me to you. But today, I might have to cut the ties.

The Greek have said that emotion must warm reason, but reason must rule emotion. I confess, I can love you in spite of everything. I can give up my “rights” and what I “deserve.” However, I choose not to, not because I choose in selfishness but because I choose in wisdom. I apologize for not standing my ground sooner yet I will not apologize for this, now.

I refuse to allow you to keep waging active warfare against my heart.

Stop messaging me audaciously on Facebook if you can’t even face me properly in person. Stop flirting with my emotions if you can’t take responsibility. Stop strategizing and teasing, drawing me near the boundary lines, tempting me to compromise.

Stop making me forget my worth and who I am in Christ.

I am not a secret kept in the dark; I am to be loved in the light. I am not a trophy to be won; I am to be treasured like the jewel in your crown. I am not a toy to be played around with; I am to be treated as I am – created in the image of Maker, bought by the life of the Savior.

They say boys will be boys, but I refuse to accept that. I don’t want to forget your mantle and who God created you to be, too.

You are not a boy, weak and unsure; you are to be a man, ready to lead and take risks. You are not a slave to your emotions and desires; you are to be a warrior fighting for what is right and true. You are not a player; you are to be who you are – entrusted by the Maker to care for His creation, marked by the love of the Savior.

I will not take the easiest route with you, not if it means settling for less than the quality of relationship God might have for us. I don’t want to keep each other stuck like this. The stakes are simply too high. I deserve better. You deserve better. I refuse to rob you and your future wife of your time and affection, so please don’t rob me and my future husband of mine.

If you’re going to pursue me, then do so the way Christ would want you to pursue me.

Love me with clarity.

How would you feel if your sister is being treated the way you treat me?

Love me with purity.

Brother, a man who looks to Jesus would know how to treat a woman.

A woman’s insecurity is never an excuse for a man’s irresponsibility. And as you do your job, I promise I will do mine.

Man up. Please, don’t me.

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.

Let’s Take It Slow

Let’s take it slow

Not because I’m playing it safe, but because I’m not
Truth be told, you’re the surest thing I’ve got
And so I want to hold on to this feeling and stretch it out
I want to know everything that makes you laugh, cry, and pout

Let’s take it slow

Because I want to explore every nook and cranny of your soul
I want to know what tears you apart and makes you whole
I want you to be a part of every page of my book
I want to capture and memorize every whisper and stolen look

Let’s take it slow

Not because I don’t want to make mistakes, but because I do
And I want to see every flaw that there is about you
Not to judge you or to deem you unworthy
But for you to know that I’m beside you even when you feel lowly

Let’s take it slow

Because I want to make sure these minutes turn into hours
And I want to spend my nights with you talking under the stars
Because being with you, the hours feel like minutes
And I want to make sure that our love won’t feel pressured by limits

Let’s take it slow

Not because I’m not ready, but because I am
And we need to let this unfold as in God’s plan
Together, we will have a love that lives and dreams
Yet we have to acknowledge that love takes time; it’s not as easy as it seems

Let’s take it slow

Because yes, you’ve been running through my thoughts all day
But I do believe it is wisdom that we don’t immediately follow what our hearts say
So let’s wait a while, there’s only now to lose and a lifetime to gain
For you’re all my dreams come true and I’ve never been more certain

Let’s take it slow

Not because we’re bound by rules, but because I want to honor God
And you know, you really have to go through my dad 😂
Because relationships aren’t a formula of one plus one equals two
It’s a different story for each, but I hope this one leads to “I do”

Let’s take it slow

Because in you, I’ve found something good and I’m not letting go
But to reach the end, we wait and keep it down low
For God’s still molding me, like He is doing with you
And we’ve got to be aligned to Him to have a love that is true

So let’s take it slow