Wrestling with the “Not Now”

Back in December 2017, when I was just mildly crushing on a certain guy, I had an inner prompting that there was a very high likelihood that we’d end up together. It was weird at the time ’cause it was–again–just a light and fun liking, and there wasn’t even any inkling that he’d end up crushing on me too. Yet, as a hopeless romantic and mainly because I was so scared and kabado that it was really God speaking to me, I prayed for it daily. It was part of my everyday quiet time to ask for His guidance with my lovelife and to direct my love story with this boy. I’d always ask for Him for confirmation about that inner voice. We were good friends, after all, and don’t want to mess up stuff anymore with my friends.

After a few weeks, God gave me an answer. He made it VERY VERY VERY clear to me that it wasn’t a YES and it wasn’t a NO. His answer was “NOT NOW”. If I could only wait a little and trust that no matter what the present circumstance looks like (e.g. kahit mukhang ‘di niya ako gusto, or if he ends up with another girl), God has something beautiful in store for us. Never in the past has something been as clear as that message. As an impatient person though, I felt like that was the worst answer I could get. It was promising, but it required time–which I honestly felt I didn’t have much of anymore given that I’m already in my late 20’s (huhu). My prayer shifted from “Your will be done” to “Please give me a clear YES or NO now”. I practically begged God to make the guy like me back already if it’s meant to be that way anyway, or for God to remove whatever I was feeling if it was not meant to be.

It got a bit more challenging since my crushing deepened over the next few weeks when we started talking frequently, and even had a chance to go out. My mind went on hyperdrive — could this be it?!?! Could there be a very very very slight chance that I was able to change God’s mind about His timing? I was 100% convinced that God listened to me and thought that I was kinda wise anyway and deserved a quicker answer.

Well that was until a few weeks later when the conversations died down, and what I thought was a blatant YES looked like it was a NO. I was so devastated — especially since I did not expect that the guy could just randomly change his mind about me. When close friends asked, I’d insist that I was hurt because I expected him to be more cautious with me ’cause we were good friends. It was true, but simply put, I was really just heartbroken. I was tampo with the Lord for giving me a “foretaste” of the kilig then just quickly taking it away.

I was grieving and moving on for a month or two, but of course, go-getter me wouldn’t allow myself to be defeated. If God would be so “cruel” to play with my heart, then maybe I should put matters into my own hands. I played a few of my pawns to get us back on track, and sure enough, I was back to my daily talks with the guy. I was sure that I wasn’t “in love” but I enjoyed the company and the conversations. It was nice to have a source of kilig and attention. We’d go out one-on-one and talk often, but I wasn’t sure if it he was just like that with all of his friends, or if he was doing it with everyone else.

Thus came the more intense wrestling with the Lord. I was going insane with the “NOT NOW” that I had to get an answer ASAP. I can imagine God just being so irritated with me and permissively allowing a premature YES because sure enough, after ~3 months of confusion, I found out that he was crushing on me. It was light and fun liking–nothing romantic–but to me, it was the YES that I needed from God.

The funny thing is that we were both clear that we weren’t ready to commit. I was open to dating ‘exclusively’ (which is a different thing from being a couple for me) but he was more hesitant to having labels. We liked going out and having fun without having to define what we were (even if churchmates kept on asking). We acknowledged though that our set-up wasn’t really ideal. We were basically having boyfriend/girlfriend perks, but were not committed to each other. There were a few weeks of being in a limbo between (1) the desire to stick with the status quo and keep the kilig, and (2) having the wisdom to dial down our growing closeness especially since we had unclear intentions. While most wise people would lean towards #2, I was still in utmost rebellion with God’s “NOT NOW” and decided for myself that #1 was the way to go. We pushed it further for a few more weeks, caught up with the emotions and the attraction, yet all along aware that about the wrong timing.

And like fruits that we pick when they aren’t ripe yet, things have started to go sour. Now came the consequence: Resentment and disappointment. Unmet expectations. Regrets. And here I am, wishing that I didn’t rush God too much to give me the YES that I was waiting for. I’m starting to understand why it was a “NOT NOW” from the Lord. Do you have moments when you’re rushing out of the house and end up leaving stuff behind because you couldn’t take a close look and pay attention? There’s still so much growth as individuals that we needed to have that I could not see since I was driven by the “rush” of our process.

When I stare at the roof at night before I go to sleep, I get inis at myself because I feel like what we had could have blossomed into a good thing had I learned to respect God’s “NOT NOW”. The lesson then is simple and clear:

We can spoil a good thing when we rush.

Now, I don’t really know if God will still eventually bless me with that “something beautiful” that was supposed to be in store for me + this guy. All I know is that I treasure our friendship enough and value him as a brother in Christ. Rebelling against God’s “NOT NOW” becomes a disservice to this friend and brother whom I am supposed to love with God’s love. More than that, I really should just trust God more ’cause He knows what is best for us even if we are 120% sure that we can manage on our own.

It’s a really really tough season to be in right now, especially with everything else going on in my life, but I accept the discipline and the correction. The awesome thing about God is that He still loves us despite our faults. I remember this line from a Rob Bell clip that says: “Nothing you can do can make Him love you less.” I gain so much comfort in the thought that God still loves me despite my shortcomings, and that He can turn this rough circumstance I am in into something that will be for my good.

Now, I ask myself: Will I be able to recover from my current feelings? I have a feeling that the answer is “NOT NOW” (HAHA!) because really, I have to go through and process these emotions so I can learn from them. But, I’m sure it will eventually be a YES.

Good Conversations

During a recent trip, I got connected (thanks to a mutual friend) to a new person and it was nice how natural our conversation flowed from the first moment that we met. I hate having to try so hard to think of a topic to talk about, so it is refreshing when there’s an organic feeding-off of each other’s energy.

When a photo of us was posted, a friend of mine dropped me a PM to tell me that she has had a crush on this said person since way back. “Gwapo ‘no?”, she asked rhetorically, and I assume to kinda get more details about the guy. I pondered a bit and realized that I did not have much to say about his looks. “Pweds naman,” I answered without much emotion while I was typing, as if my response was boilerplate language. It wasn’t that he isn’t good-looking. He is, but that really wasn’t what stuck with me. I continued and shared my more relevant feedback by saying, “Okay siya kausap. Very kulit pero sensible.”

I realized after the exchange that the guy made a mark on me after just 3 hours of continuous discussion & daldalan. He is now part of my list of “favorite people” (which is getting longer and longer, tbh) and I’ll probably tag him as a good conversationalist & continue speaking good things about him (kahit walang nagtatanong) even if we don’t ever talk or see each other again.

You see, I have somehow grown to be drawn to certain people–whether it be in a platonic, romantic, or professional way–based on mainly that: conversation.

In a world that has ironically become more disconnected, it feels like magic when we are able to find people who are of the “same wavelength” and who don’t make speaking and listening feel like a chore. Nowadays, nothing excites me more than having discussions that are:

  • meaningful,
  • intellectually stimulating,
  • of my kind of humor (not too crass, not too slapstick, not too hilarious; more…self-incriminating),
  • challenging (with the person not agreeing with me too much or even patronizing me as I like respectful differences in opinion), and
  • so enjoyable that I do not bother checking my phone or checking the time.

Over the past few years, I’ve started using conversations (especially initial conversations) as my “do I like this person” gauge for all types of relationships. It’s usually hit-or-miss (rarely is someone in the gray area), and it’s not a perfect system (I’ve been proven wrong by some people) but it’s more often than not correct.

Assessing people’s “conversationalist charm” has given me the most awkward acquaintances, but it has also given me my richest relationships. I could even say that my most treasured memories with friends, loved ones, and romantic interests all involve a conversation of some sort and the details are something I’d usually be able to recall even years after. There are also a few people who were definite hits and whom I have placed on a pedestal after just one evening’s worth of meaningful talk.

As a result of this ‘filtering process’, I think my relationships have had more meaning in the past few years. I’ve lost some ‘friends’ but I’ve kept a lot of those who I can converse with (no matter if it’s just once in a blue moon, or as often as everyday). My relational life, I can say, now has more depth and flavor, more sense and genuineness, more connection. It’s such a treasure to find that in this world of superficiality.

As a quote that I’ve found on Twitter says:

Be a love at first insight person in this love at first sight world.

So true. It feels so good to not be mababaw anymore.

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