I grew up in a preacher’s family in Oklahoma. I lived there until I was 18 and went away to college in Virginia. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time at church. We also spent a lot of time memorizing verses of the bible. It’s probably no surprise that this is one of the verses that stands out the most:
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. ~ Proverbs 4:23
From a young age, the impact of state of my heart, on the course of my life, sunk in deep. That’s surely where this whole HeartStories thing comes from. I absolutely love and believe in the idea of guarding your heart, because it guides your actions and eventually your life. I especially love this blog from Sarah Bessey about Guarding your Gates.
But I think sometimes as women, we guard our hearts a little too much.
No, I don’t think we can be too careful when it comes to what we read, watch, listen to or engage in. That’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the way we guard our hearts from pain. The way we put up our strong walls, our gates and our shields to protect us from getting hurt again. I know I do it, and I’m guessing you do too.
If you’ve been hurt before and you’re guarding your heart from the pain of getting hurt again, it’s killing your relationships.
When you walk around with a big shield, behind a locked gate, no one can get in. It keeps you safe, and you think that makes you strong, but it’s making you weak. You’re guarding yourself from the very thing that can bring life and healing to your hurting heart.
The courage to be vulnerable and open yourself up to connection with others can be hard to muster. Authentic relationships are awkward at first. They can be difficult and often messy. It certainly seems a whole lot easier, and safer, to stand back and stay guarded.
But when you keep your guard up, you’re not only guarding your heart, you’re guarding your life from the joy, meaning and growth that connection brings.
It’s really lonely behind locked gates. Trust me. This I know.
It might be time to pry open the lock and let someone in.
You don’t have to open the flood gates, but the more you open your heart, the more potential you create for joy. Of course, you’re also opening back up to the possibility of pain. That’s the human condition.
But the trade-off is worth it.
We just need to keep reminding each other, that the best way to guard our hearts is to open them up to a friend.
to more love,