When you have a Crush

I have been tossing and turning on my bed for the 3rd consecutive night. I would wake in the middle of the night, involuntarily. Thinking of this person makes it hard for me to fall asleep.

What is a crush? A crush refers to being attracted to someone. It is a strong attraction and an intense admiration for someone. It can escalate into a deeper friendship or it can be short-lived and temporary.

The cycle of crush i went through:

Butterflies in the stomach

In crushes, love hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine play a part. When I see this person, my heart races and I was in a good mood—initially. 

Distracted and moody

Is having a crush a distraction? Oh, definitely! I found myself day-dreaming about this person. Even when I was with my friends, I was feeling restless.  

Really nervous!

When I see the crush, I was really nervous! My tongue was tied. My brain was jammed — I couldn’t think properly. I became clumsy. I couldn’t even move as my normal self and I was slow in my reactions.

All of us have experience crushes before. Having crushes is not a sinful thing. However, it is the extent of our obsession and how it interrupts our daily lives that may cause us to fall into sins. The most important thing to do is to, “guard our hearts” (Proverbs 4:23). We guard it because it is the wellspring of our life (Proverbs 4:23). Build a guard around our thoughts about this person.   

What does the Bible say we should do about our crush/infatuation?

  1. Focus on Jesus (John 10:10)

Crushing on someone/infatuation can send us through turbulent emotions. May we have peace in Christ Jesus. May He open our eyes to the wonders of the world around us. Having a crush can easily made this person the center of our lives (our hearts and universe!) but let us not lose ourselves in the process.      

  • Guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23)

The heart is a well-spring of life. Feelings and emotions that come from infatuation may cloud our minds and make us do things before we think them through. Guard our hearts so that our actions will not cause hurts to others and to ourselves.

Let us guard our hearts and minds so that we will not be overly obsessed with this person.

  • Guard our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5)

If our thoughts are only consumed with that person, it is not healthy. Let’s think of things that are pure and lovely. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)    

  • Guard our relationships with others (Psalm 16:6)

Some of us may be single by choice or we are single for a season. Let us also remember to set healthy boundaries in our relationships with others. 2 Tim 2:22 reminds us the importance of purity in whatever we do. We are to pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace in all that we do. Don’t lose what is most precious to you in a moment of strong desire.

  • Trust in God (Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 27:14)

Let us not be preoccupied in making things happen our way. Or to use unrighteous means to seduce someone we are interested in. God knows what we are going through. We can tell Him what is in our hearts. He is not tired of hearing the same thing again because He cares for us. Let us take all our thoughts to God. What we share with Him can be a spiritual exercise for us to explore our human condition, with its many complicated emotions. Take captive of our thoughts and give them over to God (2 Corinthians 10:5).   

Having a crush on someone means we are only human —we can be attracted to people and admire them. However, how we deal with our crush is another matter. It will be unhealthy for ourselves and others if we fail to guard our hearts, minds and emotions. Let’s ask for the grace of God as we navigate through experiencing infatuation.  

Guarding our Tongue

‘Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless’ (James 1:26).

In the letter of James, the tongue seems to be a problem (James 1:19; 2:12; 3:1-3, 14-18; 4:11-12). The words we use are a testimony that we are or are not followers of Jesus (Mark 7:15-23).

Whether our religion is true or not depends on what comes out of our mouths. The words “tight rein” here refer to those of a horse’s. During James’ time, much like today, the horse is used for transportation and also for labour work. To be able to ride a horse and to use it effectively, we have to be able to control it, or else it will go in different directions than where we intended. To control it, the rider keeps a tight rein on the horse. The reins is attached to the head of the horse, if we hold on to the rein tightly, we can control where it goes. Likewise, we need a tight rein to guard over our mouth.

What are the words we choose to use? What words come out of our mouths when we are frustrated? When we are angry? Our tongues can do great damages if we do not put a rein over it. I have seen the damages the tongue can do to the community of faith when people are not careful with their words. Once careless words are spoken in anger, whether in anger or without thinking, it will hurt others, and sometimes a relationship can not be repaired to how it used to be.  

Jesus Christ also said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Matthew 12:34). What comes out of our mouth is an indication what is in our hearts.

In this coming week, let us listen for words that tears down, belittle others or are hurtful. May be you can spot them in conversations on the television or even in our conversations with friends and family. May we be careful with the choice of words we use. We can either build up or tear down. Let us also consider it as a part of our spiritual discipline to watch over our tongues. 

Let Every Dog (or Strays) Be Loved

I have 3 dogs, out of which 2 were strays. I strongly see the importance of rescuing or adopting abandoned dogs/cats. Here are why:

1. Giving them a second chance in life

The strays will be put to sleep eventually when there are too many of them. Adopting is giving them another chance to live, literally. 

2. The local dogs are just as lovable

The local breed are just as lovely and adorable, not just the pedigrees. Just because they are not pedigrees does not mean that they are less adorable.

Bonus point is that they know they have been rescued and therefore, they tend to be grateful. The rescued dogs in my house? They come to me for cuddles every day and I can tell from their eyes how grateful they are to have a new home. They are now such a big part of my life. We are best buddies.

3. They have prior training

If you are adopting older dogs, chances are they have lived with an owner or a family before and therefore are more likely to be trained, at least in the basic. 

I was surprised how many things my older dog already knows within the first few days in my house. He is about 3 years old when I took him home. He is really well behaved. It makes my job of training him much easier.

4.  Let us not support puppy mills

Some breeders can be so focused on making profits that they neglect on the health and wellbeing of the female dogs. Let us not support such breeders who bend to inhuman acts.

 There are so many stray dogs in our city waiting to be adopted by individuals/families who love them. The reward of giving them a loving and safe home is countless.

Pastor and Mental Health

As a pastor, I am learning to prioritise my mental health. A lot will be at stake if I the pastor – the leader of the church, is not doing well mentally and emotionally. It will do damages to the church.  

Pastoral ministry can be stressful: we deal with the needs of the people on a day to day basis. The pastor is playing the care-giving role: we give a lot of ourselves, our time, our energy to minister to people’s needs. There are texts to reply, phone calls to comfort someone, emails to reply, administration instructions to be sent out. Despite all these, there are many other things that need to be done within a limited time frame: Bible classes and sermons to prepare, visits to the unwell, attend meetings and the list goes on. We too are contemplating with the issues in the community, the society and the world as a whole.

Sometimes we can be feel overwhelmed emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually. Here are my reflections on caring for our mental health:

Christ with us

Jesus set the example for us. People from all walks of life came to Him, asking for healing, testing Him with questions, asking to be His disciple, or to hear Him preach but Jesus was not overwhelmed by these demands. It was because He was deeply connected to His heavenly Father, who was His source of strength and wisdom. Jesus spent a lot of time in prayers where He was refreshed by God’s presence. Today, we can be intentional in spending more time with God. Although he had an active preaching schedule, John Wesley spent 4 hours every day in prayers. Bishop Andrewes spent the best 5 hours of his day in prayers every day. William Bramwell was known among the Methodists for his personal holiness and for his preaching. He was also a man of God who would spend 4 hours in prayers. Today, we may not be able to spend hours in prayers but we can do so when we are on a spiritual retreat. We can also use pockets of the day whereby we can spend a few minutes in prayers.

The more overwhelmed we are, the more it is a reminder for us to go to God’s throne of mercy and grace and ask for strength and wisdom for the day. He is the One who will give us rest.

Boundaries and Priorities

With the advancement of technology, anyone can reach out to us at their convenience. I am learning to prioritise when it comes to responding to texts or even to invitations for meals.

The thin line is that discipleship is done only when we are with people. In a way, I prioritise who I want to intentionally disciple. This way, I can go deeper with the mentee and walk closer with her on her life journey.  

I have the duty to set my own boundaries. If I do not set my boundaries and protect it, no one will do it for me.

Misconception of Servanthood

Pastors have answered God’s call to serve Him full-time. But this does not mean we should serve others while neglecting our own needs. Too often, the congregation expect the pastors to be on call 24/7. In the past, I felt guilty for taking some time for myself but gradually, I realised I have to take care of my needs first, not to the extent of being self-centred or lazy in serving, but so that I can be a healthy pastor who thrives in ministry.   

Unwind

Hobbies help me to unwind and take my mind off ministry. Sometimes I can be walking under a cloud of gloom when worrying too much about ministry-related issues.

Ministry is hard work but I don’t think God has intended ministry to be stressful and joyless. Ministry should be joyful and fruitful because we are partnering with the God of the universe! Ministry is hard work but there should be joy in ministry because the God that we worship is a joyful God (Nehemiah 8:10). ‘Joy’ is also one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).   

We need to find a balance in our ministry so that we will be able to serve with joy. May God be glorified in our lives and in our ministry.  

Pilgrimage

For centuries, people have been going for pilgrimages for religious purposes. They would go to holy sites to deepen their relationship with God, to learn more about the history of the religion, to connect with other believers in the community, to experience the historical sites and some may even seek healing at the historical sites.  

We can go on a pilgrimage without leaving our country. People who are unwell, the elderly, those limited by physical abilities may not be able to travel to the holy sites to see the historical architectures or experience the surroundings as encountered by the saints. However, taking a pilgrimage is to seek a deeper connection with God — it is our journey with God.

When our heart yearns for Him, He speaks to us through His Word, even if we are in an armchair at home. He speaks to us through the community of faith around us. He speaks to us when we are silent and seek His face intentionally.   

Every Christian is on a pilgrimage. We move from ourselves and journey towards God, knowing Him, conversing with Him and walking with Him. It all starts from opening our hearts to His movements in our life.  

Rejoice in the Lord

Our human nature tends to be anxious and we are weigh us down with worries. It can be hard to stop our worrying about the many things in life.

In Philippians 4:4, Paul gives us the antidote to worrying. It is, to “rejoice in the Lord always”. Rejoicing in the Lord is not enough. We are to rejoice not just once but “always”. It means rejoicing should be a part of our lifestyle as Christians. 

Not only that, Paul said, “I will say it again: Rejoice!”. It is a repeated command that we should rejoice. 

Why should we rejoice? 

1. God is sovereign.

He has everything in control. We may not feel it at the moment but God’s timing is the best (Psalm 121:2)

2. God is faithful

He never leaves us or forsakes us (Deuteronomy 7:9-11). We are not in need or in wants. He is with us through the though times and the good times (Psalm 23).

3. God sent His Son

Through the works of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are free from shame and guilt (Galatians 5:1; Isaiah 42:6-7). We have forgiveness from God. We no longer live in shame but we have God’s forgiveness and power. We are now living in freedom through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What does rejoicing in the Lord look like to you? 

They Belong to the Ocean

Recently, I watched a documentary called, “Blackfish” on Netflix. It is called Blackfish because the people of the First Nations called orcas that. They believed orcas are spiritual creatures. Orcas are such beautiful and majestic animals! It is such a shame that we human beings take them away from their families and keep them in tiny concrete pools for our own entertainment. 

This documentary is about the orca named Tilikum. He was taken away from his mother when he was just 2 years old. He was sent to SeaWorld, forced to learn tricks to entertain crowds. When he failed to learn a trick, he would be refused food, and his partners would also be denied food. They would get frustrated with him, ganged up on him and raked him. For animals this size, these orcas were locked up in a pool of 20 feet wide and 30 feet deep at night. What an inhuman thing to do! 

The theme park brought in different orcas from various waterparks to try to simulate the community living of whales but these whales came from different backgrounds. They had different culture subsets, different genes, different languages. Hyper-aggressions often happened. It was reported that there were more orcas dying in captivity due to aggressions than in the wild. 

After watching this documentary, I feel strongly that orcas belong to the ocean. They shouldn’t be kept in tanks as a means for profits or entertainment. Taking them away from their natural habitats and families damage them psychologically and emotionally. It also put the animal trainers at risks. This documentary is a must watch, especially if you love wild animals. It will further provoke what we should do to keep wild animals safe. God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, has given human being dominion over all creatures, and this is not an excuse to exploit them for our own gain. 

The documentary, ‘Blackfish’

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength

This verse, “the joy of the Lord is my strength” is found in Nehemiah 8:10. The descendants of the Israelites had returned to Jerusalem from the exile in Babylon. Ezra, the servant of God, read the law of the Lord to them. They were overcome with grief and they wept. They realised how they far they had drifted away from God. But God was merciful and loving. Through the grace of God, He reconciled us to Himself.

“The joy of the Lord is our strength”. This strength means God’s grace. In times when we are weak and frail, God’s grace will strengthen us. Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38). When we first and foremost put God first in our life, and love Him, we will experience radiating joy that comes only from Him.   

As children of God, we have the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the Giver of Joy. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Even in trying and difficult times, we can experience the joy of God because of His grace and His love that never leaves us or forsake us. God’s grace and love give us strength to face the day.