Monthly Archives: September 2013

Guarding Our Hearts?

So the Bible, in Proverbs 4:23, tells us to guard our hearts, for “it is the wellspring of life” (NIV). This is an awesome verse, and it is super important for us to be careful what goes into our hearts. I know that what I watch on TV, listen to on the Radio, and read during my free time soaks into my mind. Probably because we live in a media-saturated generation, and probably because I am an extremely verbal person, what goes into my mind severely affects my heart. I can’t read several books in a row with explicit language without that language coming into my mind when annoying things happen. I can’t listen to an entire Evanescence album, no matter how much I like their sound, without getting depressed. What we put in affects us.

This verse has been applied to dating relationships more and more lately, though, and that trend is starting to worry me. Should we be careful of who we let into our hearts? Yes! We just did a great series at church about the power of friendship and the importance of being wise in who we ally with. Your heart is important! We need to be wise and guard against things or people who will turn us away from God and his will for our lives.

BUT

We as Christians have gotten a little obsessed with guarding our hearts. Who has seen this image on Pinterest? Or Instagram? Or Tumblr?

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Honestly, this picture scares me a bit. Rather than seeing a heart protected from harm, I see a heart that cannot be opened to new friends, to new love, or to new revelation from God. It reminds me of a J.K. Rowling Tale about a man who hides his heart in a treasure chest so it can never to hurt, only to find it hard and useless when he wants to love. And it makes me so sad!

The Bible, with constant admonishment to be wise in what we take into our hearts, also warns us against¬†hardening¬†our hearts, where we no longer heed God’s words and we have no love for our fellow man. If we over-guard our hearts, we close ourselves off to love, which is not what God wants us to do at all! (for more of those thoughts, check out Emily Maynard here).

Perhaps the image would better illustrate what God wants if the heart had a shield or clearly removable armor rather than being entirely sealed. Or if it had other hearts around it, because we are supposed to love and protect our friends right?

So what do you think it means to guard your heart?

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Grace, everyone needs a little

One thing bothering me lately is the general lack of grace I hear. People complain about their jobs, their families, their life in general. And it makes me sad. And to be honest, I am a complainer and blamer too. I get annoyed when things don’t go just my way; I always find someone to point the finger at. And that’s not really a good thing.

We all need grace– I need so much grace. Grace is essentially giving something to someone even when they don’t deserve it, but giving good things. Webster says grace is “unmerited diving assistance given humans.” I see grace as offering forgiveness eve when it isn’t Asked, thinking of people and trying to bless them somehow even when they don’t deserve it, and generally looking past all the little things (and many of the big things) all of us do wrong everyday.

I spent a lot of the summer being snappy and grumpy from a stressful situation at work, and I spent a lot of the summer taking out my frustration at my boyfriend. Thank goodness for grace, because he always forgave me the harsh words and helped me see what was really upsetting me. And I’m glad God gives me grace, because I mess up so much– being mean to my boyfriend, complaining about work, little white lies… the list is a long one. I’ve learned to give myself some grace too; I am not perfect and sometimes I don’t get everything right, but that’s okay. God still loves me; my family and friends still love me. Life is still okay.

And I need to give grace. I need to give grace to my boyfriend when he does something annoying (and it’s not just me being grumpy!) I need to give grace to the school that is working hard to get all the financial aid sorted out before this semester. I need to give grace to the friend who hurt my feelings and to the boss who has too much on her plate too and to the driver who just cut me off, because I really don’t know what’s going on in his world, but I am sure he needs some grace.

Funnily enough, the more I give grace, the more peace I feel. I don’t get so annoyed at work, I don’t want to get revenge when I’m hurt, I don’t drag everyone else down when I am disappointed. And life is just better with more grace going around.

Where do you need more grace? and where can you give it?

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