During my prayer time this morning I heard, “Guard your heart.” It was an E.F. Hutton moment, God was speaking and so I listened. I immediately googled “Guard your heart” and my search netted a very familiar passage of scripture found in Proverbs 4:23; “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Was God warning me of something? Or simply sending a gentle reminder? I continued to dig a little deeper in my search and found an interesting commentary on Proverbs 4:23 as it pertains to dating. I am, after all, single and hoping to be married someday. So maybe God was sending me a gentle reminder to “guard my heart” in this crazy, disheartening, and sometimes tragic world of dating.
You see, I don’t let people into my heart space easily. And men have an even more difficult time. My heart space is sacred. My heart space is precious. My heart….is special. So for the few men that I have given access to my heart space, know that you are special.
As I considered the message I received this morning I had to be honest with myself and confess that I have not always been successful in guarding my heart. I mean, quite frankly, those I’ve allowed into my heart space probably should not have been allowed. It wasn’t like I said, “Hey God, should I allow this person into my heart space?” If I had I’m sure he would have said, “No!” But as I purposed to do this dating thing differently, I also have to purpose to be intentional about “guarding my heart.” But what does that mean? What does that look like? How do I do that successfully?
As I searched Google some more on “guarding my heart” I came across an article by Phillip Bethancourt that was interesting and offered some sound advice. In the article he too asked the question, “How do you guard your heart.” Mr. Bethancourt explained that there is only one other place in the bible that warns us to guard our hearts. In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Light bulb moment!! The key to guarding my heart is through prayer. Before I make decisions regarding relationships I must talk to God first! Not after my heart is involved (which by then it’s too late) but before I involve my heart. Yes, didn’t do that at all. Maybe if I had I would have saved myself from unnecessary heartache. But all praise to God for healing my heart and allowing the experience to mature me and bring me to this place. This place that says before I give my heart to anyone again I must confer with God. Before I allow myself to be vulnerable I must confer with God. Before I put my all into a relationship I must confer with God. God is not going to lead me to a place where my heart will be broken, but my flesh will. My flesh can’t be trusted. It’s lied to me over and over again. So I must not lean to my own understanding but trust God in every situation.
God truly does know best. He told me that he knows the plans he has for me. And he promised that his plan is never to harm me. So as I navigate through 21st century dating, with Netflix and chill, online dating sites, and social media, I must keep at the forefront God’s warning to “guard my heart.” In the words of Phillip Bethancourt, “Guarding your heart is the one of the most important yet least understood facets of Christian dating. It can paralyze you, or it can liberate you. Guarding your heart is the key to saving yourself for your future spouse in a way that honors God.”