Love Notes: Read and Reflect/My Faith/New Testament/Scripture When to Guard Your Heart: Proverbs 4:23 by Sarah McMahon “Above all else guard your heart for in it are the sources of life.” Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart” is a phrase we throw around a lot in my community. For me, it was especially important while I was on a dating fast. During that intentional time away from dating I ended up very closed off and guarded because I wanted to guard my heart not only from evil but also from pain and suffering. Guarding your heart from evils is a great thing in order to learn temperance and strength in times of temptation. However, I went far beyond that. I guarded my heart to the point of making barriers around it so strong that nothing could come in, no pain but also no joy. No bueno friends. My heart became dried up, hard, and rigid. I rested in logic and making good sense. I valued my head over my heart instead of the connection between the two. “Follow your heart” was a phrase I scoffed at because to me it sounded a lot like an excuse to do whatever you want. Then, two days ago my spiritual director looked at me and said “Follow your heart.” I think my face looked something like this: I wanted to disagree with him. I wanted to keep my heart all locked up and guarded but he had some good points. In hiding away my heart I was preventing myself from being truly happy. I had a misunderstanding of what following my heart really means. It doesn’t mean that I give into every desire I have. It means that when God speaks into my heart it needs to be open and ready to receive the gifts God is offering me. Your heart is the source of life. And in order to receive the gifts God has for you it must be open. It can’t be barricaded and kept away from the Lord. Guarding your heart doesn’t mean you become a guarded person. The best way to guard your heart is to give it to your good Father. This means loving Him completely and trusting that even though your heart isn’t in your hands (or your barricades), it’s safe. This doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt. It doesn’t mean your heart won’t lead you astray sometimes. It doesn’t mean we should throw all logic out the window. It’s about balance. Balancing your head and your heart. Though our desires can be misguided or “unordered” as Augustine would call it, the heart is also where God speaks to us. Where He reveals His plan for us. Where He comes to meet us. We can’t lock down our hearts and rely on our head alone. But we also can’t completely ignore logic and good reasoning. We must remember that God speaks to us in movement of the heart and as long as you are walking with the Lord, the openings of your heart are not something to be feared or disregarded. When your heart is open to the Lord He will begin to speak. Sometimes it won’t be logical. Sometimes it will require you to go outside of your comfort zone. But God is not confined to logic or your comfort zone. He is waiting and ready for you to give your heart to Him so that He can give you the fullness of life. Reflect/Journal/Talk About It In what ways do you need to guard your heart more? In what ways do you need to open your heart? How do you feel about the phrase “follow your heart?” Why? How are you being open to the movement of the Spirit? What is God speaking to your heart and how are you responding? What scares you the most about opening your heart to God? This blog is part of a series called, “Love Notes.” That’s what the Bible is — a big, giant, love letter from God, to you. In these blogs we pick out a favorite verse to write about in the hopes that you will take it to prayer and reflect on it too, either by yourself or with friends. God wants to speak to you through Scripture, use this blog as a guide to help you listen! Find more Love Notes blogs by clicking here.