We met on Instagram.
He had adorable dimples, hair any woman would be jealous of, wore edgy leather jackets, and was a Christian.
I got a notification that he was following me, so I followed him back. Sometimes we’d like and comment on each other’s photos.
Then we began messaging. We had mutual friends but had never met, so we asked get-to-know-you questions.
It made wonder what it was like to date in the 1980s — if a guy liked a girl he had to ask her out on a date. Now it’s complicated:
He started following me on Instagram
He commented on a few of my pictures
He friended me on Facebook and replayed my snap
Maybe he’ll start to text me
My mom always says if a guy is really interested he will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Is this still true today? Or do we entertain online flings to make ourselves momentarily feel better. Little quick hits that make us feel less lonely—when in reality there is not enough in a ‘like’ to make something tangible happen?
One day he said he was coming to NYC, to which I responded that we should hang out in real life.
And that’s where the communication stopped. A few days later I messaged him again, but still nothing.
Did I do something wrong? Did I misinterpret our interactions?
I felt silly for having thought it might be more. And I felt rejected. Was it a game to him — to text me with no intention of ever going on a real life date? A few weeks later he unfollowed me. I never heard him from him again.
And then I did what a lot of us do: I checked my Instagram a thousand times a day to see if he re-followed me or if by some chance I missed a message from him.
I became so focused on him wanting me that I never asked how I felt about him. What I really wanted was to be wanted. I wasn’t interested in him as much as I was interested in what I was hoping to get from him. He was cool, charismatic, and attractive. People liked him. At a core level I was hoping this guy could affirm something in me. I wanted to know that I was special, worthy of being wanted and pursued. If a guy like that wanted me, it must mean that I’m something special.
I slowly realized there was something far bigger going on for me. If I just worked hard enough, said the right thing, I’d finally get the answer I was looking for. All my striving was exhausting, and it wasn’t working. More importantly, I was missing out on opportunities to truly see and know other people because I was so focused on what they could do for me—and on who they could tell me I was.
For years I’ve known I have a tendency to go to guys to validate my worth. I believe God often heals us progressively. And He has slowly been healing me in this area, knowing how much I can handle and when.
This was a tangible reminder that there is more healing to be had. I wasn’t back at square one; it was just time to dive a little deeper. It was another invitation to shift from a way of living that says my worth comes from the outside.
Maybe his lack of a response was a gift. How kind of God to not let a man validate my worth—even if that meant I felt temporarily rejected. Because no man or woman can tell me that I matter.
It didn’t feel good to have this guy follow and unfollow, comment, message, and then drop off inexplicably. But I, too, was at fault. My affection for him was based on how he could make me feel. I was hoping he would tell me I was worthy. That’s not fair, and to be honest it’s selfish. It made me wonder if he was looking for some answers, too.
I want to love earnestly, not with underlying motives of what the other person can do for me. That’s not love; it’s manipulation. If I want a healthy relationship I first must know that a man cannot define my value, nor I his.
Before the earth was formed and before a hair was on head, I mattered, and was loved by God. With God I don’t have to strive, and when I let Him answer my questions of worthiness then I am able to freely love others.
All of my questions have already been answered: I am worthy. I am loved. I am enough.