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.

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.

Men, You Are God’s Gift to Women.

I’m not talking about the guy who arrogantly flaunts and flirts and personally tags himself as God’s gift to women.

(Hi. If that’s you, I’m telling you straight up: you’re probably not, actually. Sorry).

I’m talking about you who care so much about Biblical manhood that you’d invest time and money into learning how you can better serve others by being the best you could be. I’m talking to you who wouldn’t subscribe to the stereotypical basis of what a man looks like and would rather break the standards by following His standard.

I’ve told you before how much we needed more men like you, but have I ever mentioned how much we appreciated you?

When you lead and not dictate,
When you are tested yet stay committed,
When you graciously listen and communicate,
When you have vision and take action,
When you pray and obey,
When you take responsibility and not make excuses,
When you rise up and take initiative,
When you give and don’t require,
When you respect and don’t expect,
When you are passionate and compassionate,
When you affirm and correct,
When you protect and pursue,
When you fight for the wronged,
When you forgive what is wrong,

When you refuse to be passive and jump right in,
When you step back and choose to be patient,
When you go out of your way,
When you show up,
When you don’t leave,

You are God’s gift to women.

When your heart is in the right place,
When your eyes are fixed on His face,
When you seek Him always,

You are God’s gift to women.

Please, never, ever stop making an effort. Never, ever stop stepping into all that He has for you. Never, ever stop fighting for the calling He has placed upon you.

Even when it’s difficult, even when it’s tiring, even when it takes so much of you: keep at it. Never, ever stop using the gifts He has given you. Never, ever stop being the gift He has called you to become.

For when you humbly admit that you aren’t there yet, but you want to be,
When you deliberately take steps, no matter how slowly,

You already are God’s gift to women.

Thank you for all that you are,
And thank you for all that you will be.

Rape, Catcalling, and Abuse: This Is My 20 Minutes Of Action

I honestly don’t know how to begin writing this. More than a year has passed since the Stanford rape happened yet it has only been days since the issue blew up when the verdict was passed, and since then I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It wasn’t just that the rapist got a light sentence, it wasn’t just that this case is high profile although I have always had great interest in those. It was the fact that the father of this boy went ahead and downplayed the crime that his son did – and they both went as far as hiring professional witnesses, manipulating statements after finding out that the victim couldn’t remember anything, and re-victimizing the lady just so they can find something to use against her.

I have been looking for a way to participate in actions against the sentence from this side of the world, only to find out a couple of hours ago that amidst the public outcry, his 6-month sentence might even be cut in half as stated by county sheriff. And so resigned, I decided that the best form of action I have is to speak up and address something else; something that goes beyond speaking out about faulty justice systems, entitled schoolboys, and rape culture because there are already so much of that (although I have also done quite that on my Facebook page 🙈).

Our sexually-stimulated culture has been desensitized to both men and women being objectified. Ogling someone of the opposite gender can be done blatantly with no repercussions; catcalls and hot stares follow the footsteps of almost every person who ever dare walk the streets alone; fear and anxiety prickle through the body whenever the darkness of the night begins to hide the light.

Low whistles, undressing gazes, and “accidental” brushes have marked my almost every turn since I was 11, a mere freshman in high school. I have had guys who appeared well-mannered approach me in places I deemed safe, proving my first impression wrong when they start crossing personal boundaries. It didn’t matter if I was wearing my school uniform, loose sweater and jeans, or a tight-fitting top and short shorts – they were relentless. At first, I was a fireball – snapping and angrily staring back at whoever dares to hoot at me, only realizing afterwards that the aggressiveness arouses boys even more and so I have learned to keep my mouth shut. I have learned that should I make the wrong move, I would be accused for “stimulating” these boys by the way I dress, the way I move, or the way I speak. I have learned that maybe the best way to stay safe was to keep quiet. I have learned to ignore the stares, brush off the suggestive words, shake away the lingering hands, and quickly walk straight ahead with my head steely held high – barely batting an eyelash while my friends and siblings get riled up and angry for my sake. Each and every time they do, I tell them not to, acting like I was okay even when my heart and body were rigid. I tell them to shake it off, always pretending that being near strange males did not make me feel paralyzed and paranoid, never sharing how many times I only pretend to be brave. I don’t tell them of how often I have to convince myself to give guys I don’t know the benefit of the doubt still; of how hard I have to fight my defensive stance in desire to be gracious and not be judgmental. I tell them to let it be because getting upset won’t change a thing and having accepted that fact, I have gotten used to it. 

When was it ever okay for human beings to get used to this – being treated like an animal displayed in a zoo? When was it ever okay to steal a person’s dignity with a single look, a single word, a single touch; with 20 minutes of action?

The image of the Creator sketched into the face of the beloved – vandalized. The worth the Savior has declared when He died so humanity can live – denied.

How can we go back to the design of the Father, leading children in the way that they should go – mothers raising kids who know the value of women, fathers raising children with strength that serves others? How can we not be like Adam and Eve who looked for someone to blame, and instead learn to be accountable for our actions, humbly accepting the mistakes we have made and the consequences that come with them?

People, the decisions we make when we are “provoked” only speak of what is truly in our hearts. An attractive person passed out drunk isn’t “asking for it.” A woman dressed provocatively or a man walking around topless doesn’t mean they want to be jumped by a breathing organism who can’t keep hormones under control. Act like you are of honor because you are, no matter what the circumstance. Your actions are completely your own. Take responsibility for your body so precious that it had to be paid for in blood.

Because men, this is how God loves women: that when He chose to enter the world, He chose to do so by entrusting Himself to a woman. He believed in her strength to stand with her head held high amidst rumors and scandals. He hid Himself inside her womb and allowed Himself to be cared for by her love and gentleness. When a scandalous woman laid at His feet and His disciples were outraged, He defended her, protected her, and lifted her high in spite of her reputation. He never would have leered at her or made sexual insinuations. When He rose again, He decided to reveal Himself first to women, commissioning them to testify even when no man would believe in a woman’s testimony at the time. He made them heroes and gave them regard in a time when culture wouldn’t. He saw them for who they are – human beings of respect and value completely in their own right. Who are we to not do the same?

And women, this is how God loves men: that He chose to reveal Himself in masculine form. He entrusted to man the task and authority to rule over His crearion. Time and time again He had believed in a seemingly ordinary man’s ability and proceeded to use this man to bring change that impacted peoples and nations. The Bible has acknowledged good-looking men several times and yet aside from fleeting mentions of that fact, they were ultimately upheld for their accomplishments, their character, and their integrity. He Himself walked the streets of earth as a man with no impressive physical acclaim, wanting to be known not for how He looks but how He loves. Men have failed Him over and over again yet He continues to trust in their strength amidst weakness. He taught them how to be men, He never gave them an excuse to not be men, He never robbed them of being men. Who are we to not do the same?

This is the truth – that every crevisce of every being to walk this planet was carefully crafted by God; that Christ’s body was battered and His blood flowed out in torrents just so His love can be felt by every soul. And as a people, let us not allow the world to destroy what He built. Let us make our voices heard. Let us make our lives speak. In a world where only 3 out of every hundred rapists are arrested, let us fight for justice. In a nation where 1 out of 4 experience physical or sexual violence, let us fight to speak up. In a city where we have to keep looking over our shoulder in fear, let us be unmoved in courage. In a generation that pushes obscenity and vulgarism, let us be undeterred in purity and respect. In a culture where everyone bends, let us stand. Because this, this is the heart of a true Father.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
-Micah 6:8

For everyone interested in this particular Stanford case, you can sign a petition ousting the judge through the White Houses’s WeThePeople here or through change.org here. If you live in the United States, you can file for a recall by mailing a complaint. Please send me an email or a message through the contact box placed somewhere on the right of this webpage and I will send you the format and the details. I know it may not seem like much but at this point, this is the most action we can do and it matters. Thank you!

Featured image from The Guardian article, photo by Tessa Ormenyi. Note that I wrote this in such a way to acknowledge that both men and women experience rape and abuse. I understand rape culture and its bias against women but I chose to state things in a way that highlights value and respect on both accounts.

Dear Men: We Need You

Disclaimer: I am not generalizing that all males are boys, for I personally know godly, amazing men who lead and take on the things God have set before them. I also know of situations where it is the woman who messed up while it is the man who stayed and came through. So no, this is not a generalization. Rather, this is an appeal to the males of this generation.

Dear Men,

I was looking through thoughtcatalog and got so struck by how much boys out there are parading to be men that I had to write this. I had to. I am so sick of guys determining their manliness by how many women they’ve dated or how good they are in bed. I am tired of reading articles and watching movies telling guys that it’s okay to be passive, it’s okay to be irresponsible.

I am writing this as a lady of this generation crying out in frustration and despair: man up.

No, I’m not talking about buffing up or beefing up. I’m talking about stepping into the mantle God placed upon you. I’m talking about not making excuses and not running away; I’m talking about taking on the responsibility that should have always been carried by the supposed head of the household.

I have read enough books about manhood to have an idea about how difficult it is for you, how scary it is for you to do something you’re not sure you’ll succeed at. I know you’re scared of messing up. I know you have injuries about your past and doubts about your manhood. I get that, I do.

But we have become a culture where boys are encouraged to stay boys for as long as they can by being addicted to partying, womanizing, and video games, while we have forced girls to take on big responsibilities at a young age and have taught them to shut their hearts away because boys will take advantage of such emotional vulnerabilities.

I’m sorry to say, males want the rights and rewards of being a man while taking on only the responsibilities of a boy.

The media clearly portrays how husbands act incompetent thus leaving the responsibilities to their wives and getting disrespected by their kids. We have got to stop emasculating men, and I dearly apologize on behalf of all women who have. Ladies, open your eyes. It never works to our good. Why fight for similar roles when we have been created for completely different purposes? We shouldn’t be surprised if there is a lack of real men out there – we give them an excuse to be passive anyway by how we fight for control. The fault isn’t all on them. And so I pray that as they step into manhood, we ladies are also backing them up and believing in them.

Because, all feminism aside, women need men to come through for us too.

And so guys, I am appealing to you to fight past your fears and move past your doubts. I am telling you step up and step out. I am humbly asking you to allow the pain of molding and allow God to do His work in you so He can work through you.

There are countless of households out there with absent fathers – drowning themselves in their careers or spending their time in the arms of another woman or in front of the television. Wives are abandoned, children are neglected. And so even at an early age, young girls have come to learn to guard themselves from men and to be aggressive, for no one of that gender ever comes through for them anyway. Teenagers now flirt unapologetically and dress immodestly, giving away their hearts and bodies and going through such crazy lengths to garner attention from guys they hardly even know simply because no attention was ever given to them by the man they need it most from.

I was watching a movie recently where a father was so desperately trying to be cool that he would use cuss words and encourage his son to have sex. My jaw hit the floor. Like seriously, is this what the world perceives manhood to be now? Having the most number of sexual conquests? Getting to lose your virginity before 18? Consuming the most amount of alcohol? And to think that his father of all people would support that. The word father means leader, chief. A son looks to his father for his definition of manhood. So is this worldly standard what fathers have been leading their sons to and not the standard of God? Is this the legacy you would want to leave? Womanizing, conquests, and alcoholism?

NO.

We need husbands who commit themselves to loving and fighting for one woman for the rest of their lives, not boys who think they are men by turning to pornography and “collecting” the most number of ladies as possible. We need fathers who know their priorities and are willing to take the time necessary to build intimacy within the family, not boys who hide beneath paperwork and focus so much on building a career that they risk losing their families for the sake of a promotion. We need sons who honor and respect their parents, not boys who rebel and answer back. We need brothers who set examples and embrace the responsibilities placed upon them, not boys who make up excuses and don’t take accountability of their actions. We need boyfriends who protect women emotionally and physically until they say “I do”, not boys who exploit emotions to get what they want. We need suitors who step out of their comfort zones to pursue and take risks, not boys who play it safe and wait for a door to magically open. We need friends who lead their loved ones closer to God no matter what, not boys who conform to the world to seem cool. We need students who are excellent and take leadership, not boys who copy off someone else’s work and cut class. We need workers who fight for integrity even if it means standing up to their boss, not boys who can’t say no. We need members of the community who protect, love, and serve others, not boys who think only about self-gain and pride. We need fighters who stand up for what is right even if it costs them their lives, not boys who hide behind their mommies once conflict comes up. We need Christians who lead humble, Christlike lives and are driven by God, not ego.

We need men whose lives are not defined by society, appearance, money, career, or women. We need men who allow their lives to be defined by God.

We don’t just need good men, we need godly men.

Stop looking to Barney Stinson and his playbook or Iron Man and his suits for definitions of manhood. We don’t need more boys who objectify women or boys who focus so much on their goals that they neglect their loved ones (movie reference: Age of Ultron). Instead, look to Christ: someone not only willing to fight for what is right and to die for who He loves, but someone who was willing to walk in humility and endure embarrassment, who was ready to give up everything that He is for the sake of pleasing God.

I know it’s a high standard to reach, but it’s better that you take the risk and at least try being a man rather than remain passive and thereby making sure you will never get to be one. I understand that this is unpopular opinion and some of you might already be cringing in their seats reading this. But we, as Christians, have got to stop going with the flow of culture. Look at where culture has brought us anyway, we have so many worries about the seeming loss of humanity in this generation. Instead of worrying, why don’t we do something about? Stop being complacent and start storming the gates of hell. Break the pattern. Go against the culture. Be a world changer.

It begins with you.

And don’t worry, God’s ready to guide you. He has called you. He has qualified you. He will equip you. His grace is there to catch you and to empower you. For no matter what the world has told you, you are a warrior. You are fierce. You are noble. You are worthy.

It doesn’t matter what you have been through, God can use that for good. Just let Him. Allow Him to draw you deeper and develop your character, so He can use you greater.

Fight for your destiny. Be bold. Be courageous.

I believe in you. God believes in you.

So step out in faith. The world is waiting for you.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
-‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:11‬

For material by men for men about being a man, I suggest Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, Act Like a Man by Dennis Sy, The Resolution for Men by Steve and Alex Kendrick, and books by Steve Farrar.