My High School Crush
I never dated in high school, but I had one major crush that lasted from sophomore to senior year. Kelly had beautiful blonde hair, sparkling green eyes, and a gorgeous smile. I wanted to date Kelly more than any girl I knew. She was quiet and mysterious. She never threw herself at boys. She never brought attention to herself, but I was always paying attention to her. I wrote a love poem to her that I always kept in my back pocket, waiting for the opportunity to give it to her.
Near the middle of my senior year, I realized I was running out of opportunities to pursue Kelly. In a matter of months I was heading off to college, probably never to return…unless I had a reason to. I decided to run track in the spring because Kelly did and I wanted to be around her. I hated running so I did the pole vault. (As a side note, the pole vault is not something you just decide to do on a whim—you either end up looking stupid, getting hurt, or both. Luckily for me, I only looked stupid.) I went to track meets, tried my hardest to pole vault, and watched Kelly.
Prom time rolled around and I decided it was my last chance. I called Kelly up and asked her to the prom. She said yes! Kelly looked beautiful on prom night and I loved just being with her. On the way to our After Prom we sat silent, driving through the dark countryside. My hearting was beating straight through my chest. I realized this was the only time I would ever have Kelly’s complete attention—I had to tell her how I felt about her. Finally, I broke the silence. I tried to explain my feelings, stumbling over my words, and Kelly just sat there watching me. I bombed. We got to After Prom and things were awkward the rest of the night.
At track practice the next Monday, one of the good-looking athletes on the track team walked up to me. He said he wanted to date Kelly and asked for my permission. I was speechless. What was I going to say? No?
The next day we had a track meet and word came that they were seeing each other. On the dark bus ride home I sat in stunned silence. I pulled the love letter to Kelly out of my pocket. I stared at it for a while—then I took a bite, chewed, and swallowed. I took another bite, and then another. I bit off piece after piece, word after word, washing it all down with Powerade until the entire piece of paper was gone.
Kelly would never read my love letter.
What I Wish I Knew Then
I’ve learned a lot about girls, relationships, and myself since then. I know that sometimes you just have to learn things the hard way and even if you heard the truth you might not listen, but if I could go back in time, this is what I would tell myself:
- Crushes are disappointing, no matter what the outcome. If things go badly, you get turned down, or worse, ignored. If things go well, you may start seeing each other. But then one day it hits you—this guy or girl is nowhere near the amazing person you thought they were. Your crush isn’t always good-looking, isn’t always fun, isn’t always nice. And that happiness you thought you’d have is nowhere to be found.
- Crushes are top-heavy. Some people will say that the problem with crushes is that they aren’t real. Actually, the problem is that crushes are too real—too real for the relationship. You have so much emotion (love, desire, and longing) that the small amount of relationship you do have with your crush can’t stand the weight of it. There is no committed friendship on which to build.
- Crushes are often a mixture of love and lust. That’s why it’s often so difficult to decide if they are good or bad. You truly love your crush. You want the best for them, you pray for them, and you wish you could show them how much you care for them. But you also lust after them. Lust is simply desiring something or someone that is not yours. A crush isn’t yours to desire. That may sound unreasonable, but let me offer one reason why I think God gives this rule: Lusting after your crush will set you up for disappointment with the person God does give you, because you are desiring a perfect person you could never have. God will one day provide you with the husband or wife he has designed for you, but you will still be in the habit of looking and lusting for that unattainable crush. Who’s hurt then? Not just you, but your husband or wife as well.
Go And Crush No More
Can you hear a piece of advice from one guy who’s been there? Don’t crush. Kelly was not the girl God had for me even though I desperately wanted her to be. Yes, it’s inevitable that you’re going to like people—there’s nothing wrong with that! God designed us to be attracted to the opposite sex and to desire relationship. But focus your attention on building friendships, not fantasies. Exhibit true love, which is sacrificial action. Pray that God would make that girl or guy you like more like him, not that God would make them talk to you. Encourage all your brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t just compliment that one guy or girl on how amazingly attractive they are. I spent so much time, energy, and emotion crushing on a girl and now there’s nothing to show for it—not even a love letter.
Originally published February, 2005