What’s in your heart?
I used to think that guarding my heart meant protecting my heart. Protection from hurt. Protection from people. Protection from pain. For years I was under the assumption that I needed to build a wall so that I wouldn't feel pain so deeply. The only problem is, I am terrible at building walls. When I love someone I love whole heartedly. When I serve I am all in. I feel things intensely - that is who I am. If I change that then I change my DNA, and no matter how hard I try to be different, I am who I am. God made me a very sensitive person. One of the pros of that is I am tender hearted towards people. One of the cons is that I can get hurt easily.
I look back at past years of ministry and I often ask myself what I should have or could have done differently. Sometimes I wish I had been more removed from ministry so that when we went through church hurt and separation it would not have been so painful. Sometimes I wish I loved more and spent more time with people because I didn’t know our time with them would be cut short and I would never see most of them again. Sometimes I wish I gave more and worked harder serving. Sometimes I wish I held my kids back from being so involved and just spent more time with them. Seeing them deal with the loss and pain has been truly depressing. I have learned that all of the what if and should haves in the world don’t change things. And as a wise woman once told me “no amount of reasoning can heal the heart that is wounded”. You need to keep your heart soft and let hurt and pain take their course. The world and people are out of our control. We can only control our response.
So how do I “guard my heart”? When we were faced with a hard time of transition- I found myself saying words that were never in my vocabulary. Words that shouldn’t be in anyone’s vocabulary. They flew out of my mouth left and right. And every time I was shocked that I said it. After some choice words flew from my mouth almost beyond my control, it hit me. “Out of the overflow of the mouth, the heart speaks.” I was horrified. I saw first hand when I let anger, hurt, bitterness, confusion, and many other emotions take root in my heart they seeped out into my language and ever day living. They influenced my decisions. They determined my mindset. It was painful. I needed to guard my heart. Social media was torture. Talking to the wrong people made me depressed. Getting defensive left me empty.
GUARD YOUR HEART. We need to guard our heart from letting anger settle there. From letting fear take root. From letting pain make us bitter instead of stronger. We need to be in the word and keep God before our ministry. So when the fire comes or attack from someone we love or trials pop up before us - we are ready for battle. Our heart is guarded and not broken. Our heart is strong and not crushed. Our heart is ready and not weak with bitterness.
One summer, before our vacation to the Jersey Shore, I asked God to keep the water calm. I always feared my kids in the rough waters. He spoke so gently to me. “Instead of calming the waves I want to calm your heart”. Let the Lord work in your heart. For everything you do flows from it.
How do you guard your heart? Please let us all know. We would love to hear from YOU.