I’m not even going to deny it. Yesterday we were rocking out in the car to One Direction—the boy band that I dislike in theory, but whose songs are ridiculously winsome in reality. The song playing was “What Makes You Beautiful,” the most snicker-worthy of the songs I’ve heard on the radio. Every time I hear it, I think sarcastically: I want to overwhelm someone with the way I flip my hair. Because REALLY?!?! Who writes this stuff? (And who flips their hair besides Elle in Legally Blonde?)
The phrase takes me back to junior high, when I dreamed up ways to overwhelm a boy. (Using different terms, for sure.) I wanted to be noticed. To be liked, maybe loved. I wanted to be pursued. I watched the couples walking hand-in-sweaty-hand through the halls and knew that I had to DO something if I wanted to be sought after. So I went about becoming desired in the following ways:
-taping a poster of Christian Slater to my ceiling
-copying outfits I’d seen in Sassy magazine (PS- I miss Sassy magazine)
-crying over sad love songs and sad sappy movies
-playing M.A.S.H. with friends
-roller skating in my basement to routines that went with Annie Lennox songs
-dreaming of being a professional roller skater who would be discovered in my basement by scouts watching through the windows
-writing stories on my electric typewriter about girls who were cute and funny and popular (and who got discovered roller skating in their driveways)
-attempting to flirt (which mostly ended up with guys looking at me like I was crazy)
-wearing only Guess jeans, pinch-rolled of course
-keeping a list of my top ten crushes per day (PER DAY, PEOPLE) in a diary
-throwing ice at a boy I liked when he talked to another girl at a dance
Clearly, I knew just how to go about getting guys to pursue me. (And how to get my roller skating career started.) I hope I’m not alone in silly attempts and dreams of pursuit. I wanted love, or at least like. Something akin to what I saw in the movies and read about in books. TELL ME I’M NOT ALONE. Tell me you were dumb about your hopes to win over a guy or a girl. To have your Jake Ryan show up on the doorstep with a birthday cake that would magically NOT set you on fire when you kissed leaning over its sixteen candles.
While I remained mostly unlucky in getting guys to chase after me, I was actually being chased after the whole time. I can see it now, these years later as I look back, though often at the time it remained hidden, a story written in whispers and through circumstances.
I was pursued as a friend invited me to her youth group where I heard about God’s love for me. (Even though I didn’t buy it at first.)
Pursued as I received a scholarship I didn’t apply for to a christian camp I’d never heard of where I saw people who got up BEFORE the morning bell to spend time with God. (Whatever that meant.)
Pursued through the words of an ancient book that drew me in. (Despite the fact I didn’t understand most of them.)
Pursued through whispers that told me that life meant something more. (Though I didn’t know what.)
Pursued as my heart raced when I heard people speak of Jesus like they knew him. (But how can you know a dead guy?)
Though most of the guys scrawled into my top ten lists didn’t know my name, the God who spoke “Let there be” and created everything— HE knew my name. More than that, he knew my heart and my longings to be pursued and the emptiness I sometimes felt (even at 13) when I thought about my life. I didn’t find Jesus; Jesus found me. He wooed and chased and whispered and caught me in a love very different from that of the movies.
It is a love made possible by blood shed. It is a love never-ending. A love that at first, is unrequited and always, is undeserved. A love that does not wax and wane through the seasons. It is without physical touch, without audible voice, without a reasonable explanation. It requires sacrifice and faith and sometimes hard work. It doesn’t always feel like what we think love should feel like.
But it is more real than anything we can see or touch.
Yes, I really did think about all this while listening to One Direction the other day. (A sign of a brilliant or crazy mind?) Because I think we are all longing to be pursued. We long for pursuit from people around us, but there is a greater yearning in us that we try to ignore. It sounds like fear to us at first. It whispers, This world is not enough. That love is not enough. Your successes are not enough. Something is missing.
But it never whispers, You are not enough. That is the voice of an enemy, not the voice of a God who came down as a man and died on a cross to make you his own. You are enough to motivate the greatest love and greatest sacrifice of all time and history. You didn’t earn it and you don’t deserve it, but YOU ARE ENOUGH. (Click to Tweet)
You are pursued by God.
You are loved with a deeper love than you can understand this side of heaven.
I’m not sure if you see this in your life, but I can tell you looking back at my own, I can see the ways God pursued me, like mile markers and beacons set up along a winding road. Here, here, and here. While I was busy flipping my hair to overwhelm some silly boy, God was calling my name through circumstances and people who spoke of him and the Bible and even through soft whisper-thoughts.
Do you see it? Are you looking?
Do you know that you are enough? Even if you never DO anything to deserve being pursued by God (spoiler alert: we won’t ever do anything that deserves his love), you are ENOUGH?
I hope you know this. I hope the next time you hear some silly love song (hopefully by a better band than One Direction), you will think of this pursuit and you might hear the whispers and be reminded of mile markers or maybe see them for the first time. We have a God who pursues his people. We are sought after. We are LOVED.