What Does ‘Guarding Your Heart’ Even Mean?

If you've been around Christians and Church circles long, you've probably heard the phrase "guard your heart" more times than you can count.

Since I was young, people have constantly warned me to guard my heart. But it’s always been harder than I thought. I kept getting hurt in relationships. And because I kept having so many, often conflicting feelings, at times I wanted to “guard my heart” by cutting off all contact with the opposite sex. That seemed like the only safe course. But it’s a mistake, one you shouldn’t make. To hopefully save you time and grief, here are some insights I’ve learned the hard way:

 

If you’ve been around Christians and Church circles long, you’ve probably heard the phrase “guard your heart” more times than you can count. It’s not always, we’re told, just about romance.

But most of the time it is.

Since I was young, people have constantly warned me to guard my heart. But it’s always been harder than I thought. I kept getting hurt in relationships. And because I kept having so many, often conflicting feelings, at times I wanted to “guard my heart” by cutting off all contact with the opposite sex. That seemed like the only safe course.

But it’s a mistake, one you shouldn’t make. To hopefully save you time and grief, here are some insights I’ve learned the hard way:

Misconception: Guarding your heart means you are never distracted by members of the opposite sex.

Truth: You are human.

Sometimes we have unrealistic standards that are extremely dangerous. For example, if you’re human and alive, you’re going to experience feelings of attraction for other humans.

If you see those feelings as unacceptable, you will feel distressed every time you experience them. If, on the other hand, you understand that they are mere feelings that don’t need to be obeyed, acted upon or even focused on, you will have a much healthier, relaxed life.

Of course, if you’re single and the person who has caught your attention is single, too, perhaps those feelings might be worth considering. (On the other hand, you might find that within a day or two, they’ve completely evaporated. Such is the nature of human emotion.)

Misconception: If you feel angst or pain, you have failed.

Truth: Sometimes we have to go through the process to get clarity.

We often have to go through a process to know what we want and what we don’t, to figure out what the other person’s true intentions are. Pain is almost always a part of that process. As are mistakes. And angst.

It’s OK.

Experiencing unpleasant emotions is part of life. It doesn’t mean you did something wrong. Even if you did do something wrong, it’s not the end of the world. Learn from your mistake and move forward. Don’t get stuck in shame, guilt or regret. The only person who wants you there is the enemy.

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