Guard That Heart!

guard your heart

I read something today that really caught my attention. It said, “When your heart is hungry, it will eat just about anything.”

This made me go into Deep Thought Mode! The phrase was referring to lonely people, men and women alike, who find themselves in relationships that are unhealthy because they find it difficult to be alone. They listen to their heart instead of their head, and decide they would rather put up with a bad situation, and make excuses along the way, just to avoid lonliness.

While I have been in this situation in the past, I can say that those days are behind me. But I still struggle with one aspect of this scenerio – guarding my heart. I was brought up  with the idea that, as a Christian, we are supposed to be open and willing to give of ourselves to others, ready to love and be loved, always willing to take the chance on others because, well, that’s just how our life is supposed to be lived. It’s not about us – it’s about them.

Well, there is a minor problem with this concept, and I have been meditating on some Scriptures that refute this way of thinking.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Philippians 4:7 (NIV) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I’ve been mulling these scriptures over in my mind. The first one tells us to guard our own hearts. But the second one says that the peace of God will guard it for us.

But what about Jeremiah 17:9 that says, “The heart is deceitful above all things…” If our heart lies to us, why should we bother to guard it at all? Why does it deserve our attention?

After some thought, I think I’ve figured out why ALL THE ABOVE are necessary for us to absorb. If we are reckless and freely give away love and emotions, no matter how awesome people seem to be, then God is going to allow us to follow our free will and we will face the consequences, good or bad.

But if we actively seek His guidance in relationships and situations, ask Him for wisdom along the way, and be willing to LISTEN to His urging, His Word says the Spirit will keep us in peace and emotionally safe. (Isaiah 26:3)

I haven’t been skilled in this, but I’m working on it. It’s an ongoing process, isn’t it? We love, we fall, we pick ourselves back up, and we learn.

And the reason why we should even bother to guard our deceitful hearts is because of this – If we don’t guard it properly, our heart will not only lie to us and lead us into bad situations, but then it condemns us after we fail! The guilt and condemnation can be enough to destroy an already vulnerable person.

But I’m so thankful I can read I John 3:20 and know, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our heart, and He knows ALL THINGS.”

KNOW vs FEEL…we know things with our minds, and we feel things with our hearts. Feelings lie! But since God knows all things, He knows how much I want to please Him, even when I flub up! By believing His Word, I KNOW He will never leave nor forsake me, and I can lift my head again and keep going.

The need to guard your heart doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. I have had my heart broken over family, friends, job-related situations, church-related matters, and crushed hopes – all because I ran headlong into situations with an open and trusting heart. I didn’t bother to use wisdom or patience, or I didn’t pray about the situation first and listen for an answer.

It takes practice. But look at it this way, you’re guarding something that should belong to God. Not everybody deserves a place there. You’re His son or daughter – not a door mat!

I pray that I learn to stop, think, and use caution and wisdom when it comes to matters that involve my heart!

I pray that God heals us of our broken hearts.

I pray that we learn to guard our hearts more effectively.

I pray that the journey is more peaceful for us in the future.

The One

I recently heard a certain female Christian speaker give an inspirational testimony on how God had answered her prayer regarding specific traits that she longed for in a future husband. She spoke about how He had ultimately brought them together when she met this man who fulfilled every single one of her many criteria that she had listed to God. She then described, in detail, the 20 or so different specifications she had for her now-husband. Same faith, certain height, steady income, NFL fan, similar taste in music, etc.

Now I know her take-home-point was that God cares about the things we care about, and if we ask, He is faithful to give us the desires of our hearts. I realized, as she listed all the very specific details she wanted in a man, that God must care about her very much to have answered her prayer so precisely.

Yet I confess that I found this part of her message annoying. She had actually requested that her future husband have green eyes. When she finally met this man, he had so many of her criteria that she was thrilled, but it was a dimly lit room, and she disqualified him in her mind because she thought his eyes were brown. It wasn’t until the next day that she saw him again and realized they were indeed green that she realized that he must be her soulmate after all!

After listening to her, I felt a little irritated. I thought, “I would never dismiss somebody based upon their eye color!” Then, for some reason, I made my own list. I felt a little silly at first. I mean, to request things that I would want in a man was to admit that I actually hoped for something that I wasn’t sure I would ever find. But at the end of the night, I had done some soul searching, attempted to tap into a new area of faith, and came up with the following. I can promise you, it does not include his eye color!

If he ever comes along, he will have to meet the following criteria…

  • He will have to love God more than he loves me or anyone or anything else in his life, including himself.
  • He has to have purpose. To exist, rather than to live, is a mindset I want to stay far away from. Goals are as important in life as oxygen, to me.
  • He will see me, value me and protect me AND my emotions. No further explanation necessary…he either gets it or he doesn’t.
  • He will have to understand that I am always a mom, and I will always move heaven and earth for her.
  • He will have to understand that I love my music. He doesn’t have to love it too, but he has to have at least an appreciation for it and won’t tell me to turn it off when it’s obvious that I’m listening to it. I’m unwilling to butt heads with anyone over this.
  • He will have to value hygiene and health, and understand that self worth is mirrored in your appearance.
  • He will never have to be begged to touch, hug, or hold me.
  • He has to have a sense of humor. I need someone who understands why I laugh at the things I do, and be able to make me laugh!
  • He will never expect me to read his mind. He has to be a good communicator, and he won’t get pissy with me when I hold him to this!
  • He won’t behave in ways that he knows are hurtful to me. He will never hold my love for him hostage.
  • He will be honest.
  • He will be able to recognize his faults and actively work on them. If he is done growing as a person at any point in life, then he is not for me.
  • He will recognize when I’m working on my faults, and encourage me along the way.

Love, support, protection, and guidance would summarize My Wish List. I wouldn’t care about eye color, social standing, skin pigmentation, income, height, vehicle, or muscles. I would care about him, us, our life together. Our purpose.

If The One for me exists, I’m confident we will find each other. Or maybe he will just look over and recognize me.

Life After Disney

Life after Disney

I got this Disney Cruise Line promo in the mail today. It made me cry. Not because the idea of a magical getaway makes me sad – quite the contrary. It’s because I was transferring emotions from my life lately into this beautiful, picturesque Disney propaganda.

It seems like yesterday when I held my daughter up to see her favorite Disney characters in the parade on Main Street. It seems like last week when she carried her stuffed Simba in a baby blanket throughout the parks, or the day she was dressed as Princess Jasmine from head to toe.

But this week was quite the contrast. Two nights ago, I was awoken at 2:00 a.m. by her bursting through my front door, makeup and tears streaming down her face. She was shaking like a leaf when she told me about a strange girl who was obviously strung out on drugs, begging for help at her front door, following her into her house as my daughter tried to wake her roommate for help. “Mom, I didn’t know what to do! My phone was in the other room, she was following me through the house, and my roommate was drunk and wouldn’t wake up!” To make a long story short, she was very traumatized by the event, and has refused to go back to her house since, so she has been staying with me again.

I’m apparently not handling this stage of life very well, as I wiped away real tears tonight looking at this Disney promo. I want life to stop, or at least slow down. I want to see my daughter’s face light up with that precocious smile she had before she ate the proverbial apple and had her eyes opened to the pain and evil in life.

I want to stop being sick. I’m in my third month of virus after virus, and my immune system is shot. I want to love my job again – but burnout has hit me full force. I want to be with the people I love, and not miss them night after night.

And I really want to go on a Disney cruise.