Guard Your Heart

You guys. I’m struggling with what to write on here.

There’s a lot of good going on in my life. Friendships that are growing and blossoming. Safe places that feel solid and safe. There are new, exciting things. Old, comfortable things. There is good news and answered prayers.

There is also the hard. Challenges and conflict that leave me utterly confused and frustrated. There is judgement and harshness and I’m feeling a bit bruised by it.

And what’s amazing to me is how the good and bad come crashing together. Like when I got my first bike–and promptly crashed it into a ditch. I remember laying there, dazed and staring up at a dazzling blue sky, and feeling confused at how my exhilaration had turned to pain.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

As a single person, I have been told that I must “guard my heart.” And I’ll be honest. I don’t really quite know what that means. 

We’ll go back to the bike analogy.

What if I had received that pink bike with its white wicker basket, and decided that it wasn’t worth the risk. I might fall. I might crash. I might break my arm. I might get my shoelaces caught in the chain. I might hit my head. I might…I might…I might…

What if I had only been content pushing that bike through the brittle grass in our front yard. And propped it up against our scrawny crab-apple tree at the end of the day. Looking at it longingly. From a distance. Always from a distance.

Is that what guarding my heart looks like?

Because that doesn’t seem like the life we’re called to live.

I still remember the moments before I crashed my bike. The humid air pushing my hair off of my neck. The strength in my legs as I pumped the pedals. The feel of the handlebars gripped in my hands. The aching in my cheeks from smiling. The loosening in my chest from happiness.

I felt weightless. Free. Alive.

And then I crashed. And it hurt. And leaves were tangled in my hair. And my legs were scratched. And I couldn’t catch my breath.

But then I stood up. Brushed myself off. And climbed back on my bike.

Here’s what I think guarding my heart looks like.

It looks like wisdom. Like the steps I’ve taken over the years to understand myself. To understand life. To learn how to ride the bike.

And then it’s about learning from the mistakes.

Taking the hand of a friend who helps me up. Nursing my wounds. Climbing back on the bike with legs still shaky and bruised.

And riding again. With the wind in my hair. And my cheeks aching from the smiling.

Guarding my heart. My living, beating, wild heart.

What do you think guarding your heart means?



Published by Brandy

I'm a full-time writer, part-time baker, and not-enough-time runner.

4 thoughts on “Guard Your Heart

  1. Great thoughts Brandy! I think guarding my heart is knowing my security and significance come from the LORD alone! Draw close to him friend, you are awesome!

  2. Well said as always. Guarding my heart means checking for right motivations and keeping God the throne. As for romance it means not awakening love before its time (like young teens). We all make mistakes and that is why we need a Savior. Remember He gives us a spirit of power, love, and self control… not fear.

  3. I feel like I should clarify. I’m not using the term “guard your heart” exclusively in context to “romantic relationships.” I can see where it would seem like that, specifically because the sentence I initially reference it in is about being single.

    I think that what’s hardest for me is how dismissively it’s been used at times. It can sometimes be a catch-all, especially in relation to relationships, whether friendships or romantic. I think “guarding your heart” is so much more complicated than that. And, to me, it can be an invitation to shut down. Build a wall around my heart.

    At the end of the day, I want to be surrounded by people who know me, and know my mind and heart. Who understand that I am admittedly flawed, but careful to seek wise counsel, the direction of the holy spirit, and yes, sometimes my heart. Because I do believe it is a wellspring of life.

    We all have different experiences. And those shape our outlook. I simply desire grace and understanding, and yes, to some degree accountability. But not platitudes taken out of context.

  4. I was hiking with some friends years ago, and an AT through-hiker started yelling at another hiker for letting his dog drink from a spring on the trail. (Maybe he didn’t realize that wild animals had been using the spring long before he arrived? I digress.) The through-hiker was committed to keeping his water source pure. And I think that’s the intention of the ‘guard your heart’ guidance in Proverbs 4. Not ‘play it safe so that you don’t get hurt,’ but ‘be careful not to contaminate your heart.’ The writer in Proverbs is speaking in extremes–sacrifice everything for wisdom–and actions–listen, run, look, cherish, embrace…I think he would have approved of your bike crash. 🙂

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