I have always valued transparency, honesty, loving deeply, and caring deeply. These are such wonderful qualities! But, truly, everything has its place and time and proper relationship. The Lord has taught me so much in guarding my heart…and I know it isn’t a subject typically covered…because it is quite personal, but I’d like to divulge a little bit on it…because I think it is such an important topic. The Lord has taught me much…and it has been heavily on my mind for quite some time now. So here goes 😉
There are so many ways we can guard our hearts. Here is the precious verse in Scripture, and is a wonderful aid in teaching us how to guard our hearts:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
From verse 23 to verse 27, it talks about how to do this. It talks about several things. Here are some of them:
1) Guarding your speech (‘putting away corrupt talk from our mouths’)
2) “Letting your eyes fix straight ahead (fix your gaze directly before you).”
3) “Make level paths for your feet, take only ways that are firm.”
4) “Do not swerve to the right or left, keep your foot from evil.”
As I have reflected on these verses and prayed for understanding, God has shown me several ways that I can be obedient to these verses:
1) Watch my thoughts—only think things that are glorifying and pleasing to the Lord. (‘Take each thought captive and make it obedient to Christ’.) As my thoughts swerve, so do my feet…and words…and a little swerve leads to a big swerve…this is the biggest factor I think. I often take my thoughts to the Lord and ask Him to help me see if they are pleasing to Him. Often they aren’t even when I think they are. So I rely on Him a lot for this.
2) Watch what I say to others. This is a big one. This is where we want to be transparent and honest..and to love deeply and care deeply….but there are so many other factors that come into play. This is the controversial topic….I think…at this stage in my life…this means being honest, but protective of my heart and considerate of others. I am transparent before God. But, I don’t think I meant to be transparent to others, unless God calls me out to share carefully with someone for the glory of His kingdom. It is not a prideful thing, trying to portray perfection…and this is the catch I think….we show humility through everything we say and do…but that doesn’t mean we have to share our struggles. God wants us to share for His glory…so that is where we have to search our hearts and see what our purposes are for saying things to others. Will this bring Him glory? Have I allowed Him to heal my heart first? Am I trusting in Him to redeem this situation? Am I turning to others instead of God first for comfort? Am I in a stage that is so vulnerable that what other people say might really hurt? Is what I say going to be beneficial or encouraging to others? Is God consistently prodding me to share this? Am I sharing this for attention, pity, praise, etc? It really comes down to asking God for the words and if it is the right time and person. This takes time to discern. Really, there are so many considerations in what we say to others…that we really need to pray that prayer in Psalms for God to set a gate over our mouths! Often, the less I say is better. And the most important time to guard our hearts…is when we are hurting. Our hearts are the wellspring of life and what we share influences what other people say and do and how they view us…and it can really quelch the life in us when people respond in a way that hurts. So guard your hearts carefully 🙂 I am sure there is so much more to say on this topic…
What I am focusing on here is more about guarding our hearts and being careful what we share…rather than what we say about other people. That is another topic for another day. And in that case, the sweeter, the more private and general, the more considerate and nonjudgmental, the more encouraging and loving, the better 🙂 Less is always better.
3) Keeping level paths: Guarding what I hear or see (Oh be careful little eyes what you see…). Focusing my eyes directly before me. This helps me in not looking at all the stuff I shouldn’t be looking at (magazines in the grocery stores that have terrible false things written on them about other people) and not placing myself in situations that present moral hindrances. If I find myself in one, I look for a door opening to leave. This is where we need to have level paths. If it is creating tension…it probably isn’t a level path. If it is causing sin…in any way…it isn’t a level path. This also helps me when I am out and about with the kids and sometimes having trouble focusing on them..and am looking at other people or things…I hear God telling me…keep your gaze directly before you and watch your littles first and I will give you time to process, think, relax, talk to others, etc…when all is well and things are flowing smoothly. I pray for a presence of mind and for him to help me focus my gaze directly before me (and wait for that opportunity to relax or talk to others). It helps with a lot of things really!
So these are the basic ones…watching our thoughts (keeping our feet from swerving), watching what we say to others about ourselves and what we say about others, watching what we see and hear–keeping level paths free of moral hindrances. This is God’s desire for guarding our hearts. If you find yourself in a situation that is continually hurting your heart…and are finding tension, regret, pain, or temptation to sin, etc…it is best to pray to God for how to guard your heart to protect your wellspring of life. God is a God of healthy boundaries. He has many boundaries with us and He wants us to do the same with others. Boundaries free our hearts up to LOVE others more fully….
No matter how much God has taught me in this area, I am continually learning more ways to guard my heart…and protect that wellspring of life…so that I can love more fully. And this is what Jesus wants us to do….love and care so deeply.