“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23
Being teenage girls, we get told to “guard our hearts”. Usually when our mothers/friends/mentors give us this piece of advice they are referring to us guarding our hearts from a boy. I don’t know about you, but I am completely clueless as to how I am supposed to protect my heart from falling for someone. I don’t believe that there is even a way to consciously stop ourselves from it. When we meet a boy who says all the right things that make our hearts melt and our cheeks blush, it’s basically game over. And this, friends, is why I don’t believe that the phrase “guard your heart” falls into the romance category. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. To me, this verse is telling us that our actions come from what is going on in our hearts. So if a person’s actions consist of hateful things then they definitely have some hatred going on in their hearts. On the other hand, if a person’s actions are full of love and compassion, then that is what their heart is full of. Yes, a person could be pretending to be loving and compassionate, but the truth that is lying underneath the act they are putting on will shine through eventually. We must guard our hearts from the evil things of this world. We must protect it from falling into sinful traps. As humans, we are surrounded by negative people saying negative things. For the most part we can surround ourselves with positive, uplifting people, but it’s almost impossible to stay away from negativity completely. It’s super easy to hop on the negative band wagon and join in on the gossiping and complaining, and that is where the guarding our hearts comes into play. I am guilty of falling into the trap of gossiping. I am going to be completely honest with you, one of my favorite things to do is sit with my friends and catch up on the latest and greatest. I even text my best friends saying “did you see what SHE posted?!”. We are all so quick to judge one another when in reality God is the ultimate judge. Friends, we need to guard our hearts from the unkind things that are happening around us. I have started to try to become better at stopping myself from judging those around me. My theory is that if I start by no longer saying my judge-mental thoughts out loud, then slowly the thoughts themselves with disappear as well. I mean yes I’m only human so I will slip up sometimes, but I truly want my heart to only be full of love and joy. Okay, time to get deep. I’m going to share with you why this is so important to me. When I was eight years old we found out that my dad was having an affair. This caused me to become very protective of my mom and shut my dad out. My heart turned very hard and I spent years being nothing but mean to him. I would purposely turn on the lights in the morning while he was still sleeping, I would push him away every time he would try to hug me, and I would constantly make mean comments towards him. He would always ask me where his sweet Haley went. He ended up putting me in counseling for a few months because he thought I had anger issues. There would be times when I would be nice and show love towards him, but then I would feel as if I was betraying my mom. My heart started to soften as the years went on. When I was eleven he took my little brother and I to Washington DC and New York which caused us to bond and start to restore our relationship. The following summer he took us to Hawaii which is where the grudge I had held all those years faded completely. It was our last night in Hawaii and my dad and I were sitting on the beach while my brother played in the water. He told me that he had officially stopped the affair months ago, and that he had gotten his life right with Jesus. That is the day that my dad and I became friends. A month later my dad went to heaven. I wasted so much precious time being angry. The thing is I don’t look back on that time of my life with regret, instead I use it as a reminder of how I want to live my life now. I don’t want to have a hard heart full of anger and sadness. I want it to be overflowing with love. My uncle, Pastor Chris Norman, preached an amazing message today. He spoke about how God doesn’t care about how we are perceived on the outside, but instead how we truly are on the inside. I want God to look at my heart and be proud of me. I know I am not the only one out there who has/had a broken relationship with a parent. In fact, maybe my story is very similar to yours. I am going to give you a piece of advice. Forgive them. You aren’t hurting them by holding onto that hatred, you’re only hurting yourself. Forgiving them is not justifying what they did, it’s simply freeing yourself from all that hurt you’ve been bottling up. I miss my dad every second of every day, and I know without a doubt that if he was here today we would be the best of friends. I realize now that we all have sinned. To us humans some sins are much bigger than others, but to God sin is sin. So, my friends, I urge you one last time to ask God to soften your hearts and give you the ability to have a good, healthy relationship with your parents. And for those of you who are like me and have lost that parent, it’s not too late to forgive them. As I close out this blog I want to remind you all to guard your hearts. And not from that cute boy, but from the things in this world that will try to break in and turn your beautiful, loving heart into one full of hate, jealousy, and sadness. Goodnight, friends.