Have you ever missed your boyfriend so much that it almost physically hurt? The distance between you gnaws until you ache.
But there’s another nag, too. In the back of your mind, you worry that letting another person affect your emotions this much is not good.
When we were dating, I wondered if it was possible to miss my long-distance boyfriend too much.
I knew that I wanted to “count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8). But I wasn’t sure if that was actually happening.
If you struggle with that tension, too, I want to encourage you that “too much” may not be the right way to think about it.
You Can’t Love Too Much
In his book Strangely Bright: Can You Love God and Enjoy the World? Joe Rigney writes,
“Idolatry isn’t loving something too much. It’s loving something in place of God. You only love wrongly when you separate the gift from the giver and love the gift instead of God.”
Let that sink in. The command to love God more than anything or anyone does not mean we become apathetic toward everything and everyone.
In fact, if we are receiving God’s gifts with gratitude, we will receive His gifts with joy.
Consider if your boyfriend sent you roses for Valentine’s Day. You’d probably put them in a vase and smile every time you walk by them. You’d think about how thoughtful your boyfriend was, even though he’s far away.
The roses don’t make you smile just because they’re beautiful. The roses make you smile because of who gave them to you.
In the same way, caring deeply for your boyfriend is right when you remember that God is the one who put him in your life.
You don’t need to try to stuff your emotions away. You just need to make sure they’re in the right place.
If you love your boyfriend in place of God — worshipping him rather than your Creator (Romans 1:25) — you will stray into sin. But if you love your boyfriend and worship God for bringing him into your life, you will be receiving God’s gifts with praise (1 Timothy 4:4).
But Can You Miss Too Much?
But just as the Lord gives, He also takes away (Job 1:21).
When we lose someone we love — temporarily or permanently — we often get a better look at whether we’re loving them in place of God. Our response to pain reveals the inclination of our hearts.
Is the sharp pang of longing for your boyfriend a sin, then?
I don’t think so. The fact that Jesus wept at Lazarus’ funeral (John 11:35) shows us that grief is a righteous response when you lose someone you love.
And, since we know that Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead, we also know that grief is a righteous response when you’ve temporarily lost someone you love.
It’s okay to feel sad and miss your boyfriend. It’s okay to grieve the lost time.
But just like Job, we must grieve and worship. “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head fand fell on the ground and worshiped” (Job 1:20).
It’s possible to worship God in the midst of grief. It’s possible to praise God while you’re overwhelmed by the pain of missing your boyfriend.
Worship is not about fluttery feelings. Worship is about showing how much God is worth to you and acknowledging that he is truly worthy.
It’s being able to pray, “God, my boyfriend is worth a lot to me, and I know that’s a good thing. But when all else is taken away, Lord, you are worth more to me.”
When You Miss Your Long-Distance Boyfriend A Lot
God gave you a full range of emotions with which you can praise him. From the heights of joy to the depths of despair, we can proclaim that God is of unimaginable worth to us.
So, I’m not sure it’s possible to miss your boyfriend “too much” — as in too deeply — as long as your emotional intimacy is not outpacing other areas of your relationship.
You may be missing your boyfriend too often, though, if you’re constantly sad and unable to be consoled. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there’s “a time to weep and a time to laugh.” Both are important.
If you struggle (as many of us do) with worshipping God even when you miss your boyfriend a lot, I recommend praying. These three example prayers can be heartfelt cries to God during the pain of a long-distance relationship.