How do you guard a heart?

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Picked up Paulo Coelho’sBy the River Piedra I sat down and wept” on Sunday at the deliciousness that is MacLeod’s Books. I’m on the final chapters of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, but let’s just say this one had me at hello, a.k.a. the Author’s Note:

“But we must never forget that spiritual experience is above all a practical experience of love. And with love, there are no rules. Some may try to control their emotions and develop strategies for their behavior; others may turn to reading books of advice from ‘experts’ on relationships–but this is all folly. The heart decides, and what it decides is all that really matters.”

This Brazilian. So passionate.

Really makes me think about some other passionate words: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” -Proverbs 4:23

I have some questions and would love your input:

  • Do you recognize your heart–source of abundant and continual supply–as valuable enough to guard? [This one just dawned on me recently actually.]
  • What or who do you need to guard it from?
  • How do you practically guard your heart?
  • Is it just girls who have to guard their hearts?
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    • Tina

      Do you recognize your heart–source of abundant and continual supply–as valuable enough to guard?
      Yes I do. In the last three years, I have become acutely aware of this.

      What or who do you need to guard it from?
      I am protecting it from myself, from my faulty judgment.

      How do you practically guard your heart?
      I have now become more selective about things I watch, read and listen to. For example, I love folk music. And I especially like underground folk. But more and more I am finding that the lyrics do matter. i have dropped certain artists from my playlists. There are certain movies that I know take me to a dark place that completely unravels me. I just say no. I understanding what my heart can and cannot handle.

      Is it just girls who have to guard their hearts?

      – hahaha… Are we protecting ourselves from ‘brooding guys wearing leather jackets, excessive male jewelry straddling a Harley?’

      I mean, if God has fallen angels. Then yes, men too, do need to guard their hearts. Pornography, bad company, negativity, anger, addictions of any kind, etc. I don’t think the list is gender specific.

      I think as a girl I am used to hearing ‘guard your heart’ in the context of a relationship. It makes perfect sense because the repercussions, trickle-down-effect of one bad choice could last for years. I have in the past fallen for a ‘bad boy’. Not of the above variety but a different vein. And yes, I wish I had been more selective about who I gave my heart to. I wish I had listened to the inner voice that was putting up red flags. My knee jerk reaction was that this person was bad news. And yet my youthful disposition thought it was weak to turn around and run. I was naive enough to believe that I was immune to someone who I thought was so obviously wrong for me. I didn’t think that ‘charming conversation’ would win me over. I thought I was stronger and smarter than that.

      Lesson learned: Next time I have a check in my spirit I am turning around and running, leaving a Tina-shaped hole in the wall.

    • Tina

      “The heart is the most deceitful of all things, and it is desperately sick. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9