Claire M. Burnett
The Flirt isn’t the Problem.
Updated: Oct 3, 2018
Your idea of them is.
My name is Claire, I have a new life in Christ, and I’m a recovering fantasizer with a fear of rejection. Whew. It’s about to get real in these streets!
Fantasizing is my coping mechanism. From a very young age, I learned to master and mask the reality of my physical circumstances by simply escaping from them in my head. It helped me rewire my body to feel pleasure instead of pain.
Now before you hit me with a “dang girl,” let’s address a fact: the average person day dreams pretty regularly, if not multiple times a day. It can even be good for you. This sort of “zoning out” can be completely innocent and about anything! But typically, it will reveal your heart’s deepest desires… if you pay attention.
I had no clue how natural an occurrence it was until I started confessing how I’d taken it over to “the dark side.” And per usual, when you bring things to the light, something beautiful happens.
I started to discover that y’all are just as wonky.
There is one discovery however that I just have to speak truth into, and if you’re tracking with me, I’m just as insanely uncomfortable writing about this as you may be reading it. But if you know anything about me, I will speak up even if my voice shakes. Not an inch of me is capable of pretending and even when I’m not speaking a word, my entire presence is speaking for me. So let’s go there.
Let’s talk about your imaginary relationship. Because it’s ruining your real one before it ever even starts.
Now you can sit back and pretend like you’ve never had one or aren’t currently in one. You can tell yourself you’ve never taken it that far, and if that’s the case, bless your genetic predisposition to not be tempted by the opposite sex.
In the last couple of months, I’ve heard one too many stories where folks were hurt by relationships that never actually existed. After a few probing questions, the eloquent verbiage of “well, I just like the idea of him/her” usually rears it’s ugly head.
::PUMP THE BREAKS:: To that I fiercely say: “Bye Felicia.” Your “idea” is about to have you looking and feeling like “Boo-Boo the Fool.”
But let’s not be too harsh…there has to be some sort of trigger, right?! Not always — some of our imaginations are wildly overactive, however usually. Speaking for myself, my trigger is attention. ::cough, it’s the same for most of you too, cough:: But, here’s the deal:
A man or woman’s attention is not an invitation to fall for your “idea” of what things could be.
OUCH! Brutal honesty brought to you by Claire in .5 seconds. Yup…we’re going there. And the meme’s on social media are simply confirming my theory. (I know, real credible!) But it’s time to dump your idea, aka your imaginary relationship.
Attention is an indicator of interest, not a dictator of intent.
Attention is not a date. It is not someone telling you they like you. Attention is not an invitation to assume y’all are “a thing.” Mmk?
Recently, I’ve heard about three, THREE, girls who were apparently dating/talking to a guy that had never asked them out. You know what’s worse, they had to get over a relationship that never actually happened and are praying they don’t treat buddy like the spawn of satan. Now…when I state it that flatly, it sounds a bit ridiculous right? What exactly do these girls have to get over!?
Oh boy, it’s real easy. Now, I personally haven’t said out loud that I was “talking to/dating” someone because there are enough people in my life to check the literal hell out of me, but I’ve absolutely fallen for the sexy trap of attention. They’re batting their eyes at you. Checking you out. Liking your posts. Smiling that smile. And your flesh is just like “I see you looking at me, looking at you.”
And while yes, they’re certainly part of the problem, here is yours:
You don’t shut (shh)it down!
Personally, less than 15 minutes later I’m capable of thinking about “be fruitful and multiply” and what those tiny little multiplications would look like. With NO VALID REASON to do so other than “well we were in the same proximity of each other and obviously exchanged pheromones so…it might as well be a thing…”
Yes, there we have it. Pheromones are the scientific evidence that my craziness is warranted. See 1 Corinthians 10:13 immediately.
Ladies and Gents: We have got to stop playing with the inner cray cray and start protecting our precious little hearts.
Now, I’m not trying to say “the flirt” is completely innocent here. We all war with the flesh and our bodies were designed to react! However, we live in a broken world where we now have the ability to react to things that were never originally intended for us.
While we cannot control the actions of someone else, we can control ourselves and here are some practical reasons why dumping your “idea” is doing yourself a solid:
It’s not fair to the other person. It’s not loving for you to create an entire narrative behind their behavior never having received any sort of verbal confirmation.
You will crush your future significant other/spouse with undue expectation. Do I really need to elaborate on this? Unreasonable expectations are the bedrocks of disappointment.
You’re setting yourself up for something that may never happen. Thank God he doesn’t fulfill every one of your fantasies. But your poor little heart is exhausted from all of your self-inflicted wounds.
Most of you are dating your “ideas” because they give you hope.
Sorry, not sorry for the stinger, but you have a largely misplaced thirst for God. And here’s another bang: if you’re not doing it with a physical person, you’re maybe doing it with your super model version of Mother Teresa, or your holy and sanctified “Jon Snow.” (You my friend, will become more committed to your dream girl/guy, than you ever will a real person. STAHP!)
Majority of us struggle with what theologians call, over-realized eschatology. We expect heaven-on-earth now, at the cost of traumatizing ourselves. But God is a better storyteller than Disney, and dang sure a better author than you!
So what do we do with that flirt!? Sometimes you’re on a diet and Susan decides to bring freaking donuts to the office. What then?!
“If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” | 1 Timothy 4:6–10.
Here’s the TRUTH: Susan may have brought donuts on purpose. Susan also may have just brought donuts to be nice! And maybe just maybe, Susan doesn’t know her donuts are your trigger. You can always politely ask Susan why she brought the donuts, and share with Susan how you feel about donuts. But you don’t have to eat Susan’s donuts no matter how good they look. Susan can’t force you to chew and swallow.
You’ve got to start saying “no” to your assumptions, and yes to your truth.
YOU, sweet friend, have a choice! You can choose to believe that the reality of today is God’s best for you. Or you can run off to la-la land with the lame stories you create from your super limited perspective and be ferociously awkward about it. Either way, let’s stop making “the flirt” the problem, and let’s start making our response the solution.
And to you “flirts,” myself included, every one doesn’t deserve your donuts! ;)