When Romance Became My Idol

When Romance Became My Idol

Written by: Amanda Teo (Photo by: Ronald Lim)

I fell in love with love

Caught up in the whirlwind of pursuing my fleshly desires, romance became an idol in my life. I found myself so deeply in love with love that I became unknowingly trapped in the pit of self-centred fantasy. This trap is subtle — we might even take some time before realising that it has captured our hearts.

I was in a fully-committed, one-sided relationship with a guy for seven years; it was a relationship that existed only in my head. Day and night, I would think of him: analysing, observing, and rationalising why it would work out for us; building air castles of what life would be like as a couple. Through those years, I gave myself every reason to hold on to him, drawing signs and conclusions from thin air that we were meant to be, even when I felt the Lord graciously nudging my heart to surrender this desire to Him.

I would constantly ask God if this was the man for me, but all I heard was “Amanda, surrender your heart to Me.” But I could not do it. It was too difficult to surrender a part of my heart that I held so dear and I did not want to let him go.

This went on until the Lord’s whisper thundered through my heart one rainy night, “He has become an idol in your life; romance has become your god.” My heart wrestled in futile disagreement: “What, that’s not possible. I’ve prayed, surrendered, and committed my heart to You so many times; what do You mean that he is an idol, that romance is my god?” But the Lord knew that I had not yielded my heart to Him.

As soon as I allowed the weight of His words to sink into my heart, I knew that He was right. I had not intended for this, but I’d allowed my heart to be so obsessed with being in a relationship with a guy, that the idolatry of romance ruled my heart. Romance became my god.

Intentions

There is nothing wrong with liking a guy…and there was nothing wrong with the guy I liked. In fact, he is a Godly man who loves the Word and has a strong relationship with the Father.

The intentions of my heart was what went wrong. I was far more interested in expediting and writing my own love story, than being fully surrendered to the Lord. I wanted to take control of my situation, and was self-reliant in my pursuit of love that I had grown deaf towards the voice of God. The more I pursued love on my own terms, the more frustrated and insecure I grew as I did not get what my heart desired.

I was in a deep and dark place, and I knew that I needed to let go of him completely. I needed God to be God and to let Him write my love story.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, and My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

My heart began to soften to the Lord’s leading, and He brought me on a wonderful path of laying down my desire for a relationship. I memorised Matthew 5:4 (MSG) and meditated upon it as if it were medicine to my hurting soul: “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

In my brokenness and strife for romance, I needed to be reminded of the One who is dearest to me — my first Love, my God. The seven years of empty longing soon gave way to a hopeful joy in the Lord. I found a new strength rising in my heart, as I learnt to trust in His intentions, timing, and promises.

Identity

A very precious and personal lesson emerged from this journey: Marriage is never the goal in this life; His kingdom is.

When romance becomes an idol, it torments us with the thought that we need a partner to feel whole, that we must get married for our lives to be complete. We may know our identity as children of God in our heads, but when romance reigns supreme, we find that the siren calls of romance roar louder than the voice of the Lord, causing us to find our identity in a person rather than in God.

We are complete and whole, even when without a relationship or marriage. I came to realise that if anything at all, marriage is a calling from the Lord to fulfil His purposes in my life and my partner’s life. It was in such a season, that Matthew 6:33 rang true, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Letting go of him felt like I was losing a huge part of who I am. Having given my heart over to a guy for seven years, I had grown accustomed to pining for him and loving on him. But as the Holy Spirit walked with me through this journey of complete surrender, I found my heart being made whole in Christ.

Every brokenness and pain were washed away by the redemptive love of the Father. I felt completely restored in my identity in the Father, such that I was able to tell my dad this: “Papa, I think I am really okay living as a single my whole life; I do not need a marriage for my life to be complete. I can live and serve the Lord with all my heart as a single.”

I found myself thriving in a season of sweet singlehood, as I found my heart wholly devoted to my one Love and my first Love. It was in this season that I vowed to myself, “Amanda, never let any lover become more important than your First Love.”

Intimacy

When romance becomes an idol, it is easy to be swept away by the sweet nothings from a man. But when God is the God of your romance, it will be His truths that will be an anchor in your relationship. His Word and promises must always stand stronger and resonate louder than any word or promise from a man.

When I laid the idolatry of romance down at the feet of Jesus, I was finally able to say with conviction that I can love a man because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our love is not from ourselves or for ourselves, but it is truly from Him and for Him.

As we lay down our desires, hopes, and fears before the Lord, trust that our God is the master story teller, and His intentions are to write a beautiful love story out of our lives. May we stand firm in our identities as children of God instead of finding our security in another person. Let us never waver in our first love with Jesus, because intimacy begins with Him.

 

AMANDA is an introverted extrovert who enjoys writing poetry with a chai tea latté at hand. She loves running at Pasir Ris Park in the morning, and exercising at daybreak is the only reason why she showers in the morning. Catch her if you can at @amandagraceteo.

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