12 March 2012

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts: "Guarded Hearts"

That's a phrase that, really, could have two connotations.

One could be, at least in today's current culture pushing for authenticity and transparency, quite negative. In that sense, a guarded heart evokes the image of a heart - feelings, emotions, soul or mind - blocked up behind walls... unable, unwilling or afraid to even tentatively reach out and risk bona fide relationship because of selfishness, fear or pride.

Yet biblical expression, "guard your heart," is a beautiful, powerful and important one. We are memorizing the following passage (Proverbs 4.23-27):

Garde ton coeur plus que toute autre chose,
Car de lui viennent les sources de la vie.
Ecarte de ta bouche la fausseté,
Eloigne de tes lèvres les détours.
Que tes yeux reardent en face,
Et que tes paupières se dirigent devant toi.
Considère le chemin par où tu passes,
Et que toutes tes voies soient bien réglées;
Ne te détourne ni à droite ni à gauche,
Et écarte ton pied du mal.
(Yes, we are memorizing it in French... and then Zarma, hopefully)

These verses, along with the theme of spiritual health, are going to be very key this year in the local church where we serve and worship.

But back to the dichotomy concerning this single phrase - a guarded heart... yesterday, at the two very different church services we regularly attend, godly servant leaders spoke to us concerning our hearts - preaching on principles to remember and apply that will prevent troubled hearts. That's a more-than-relevant topic these days; the troubled heart temptation can be a mighty challenge in often overwhelming darkness and heaviness so prevalent in this present age.

In the first service, we were exhorted to protect our hearts from all wickedness and envy... for when we allow our hearts to traipse down either or both of those two paths, our actions will not be long in following. The speaker particularly emphasized the importance of knowing God (not just about Him, but being in an active, growing relationship with Him) and discernement - just because something is culturally acceptatble does not disqualify the possibility that is evil or that it might result in an envious spirit.

In the evening (English language) service, we looked at John 14, where the Lord clearly teaches that we are the ones who "let" our hearts be troubled - or in other words, a troubled heart is avoidable. Sunday night, we were encouraged that 1) an eternal perspective, 2) knowing Christ (again!) because if we know Jesus, then we know the Father... in a much less traumatic way, and 3) remembering and relying on the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit are all absolutely essential to an untroubled heart. That phrase, "do not let your heart..." is found twice in this chapter, and is how the Lord counseled His disciples in those last moments before His arrest. Seems like pretty key information for me to practice, before my heart is seized by trouble or fear...

If only it were that easy...

Instead, I find myself often feeling like the disciples... They were described by the speaker Sunday night as clueless and self-centered... at least in these chapters... Ouch!

One thing clearly stands out to me, though. I'm struck, once again, by how balance is so key... my moderation is to be known by all men - and that includes this arena of a guarded heart. I must guard my heart, seeking to protect it from wickedness, envy, cultural deception, letting it be troubled (and many other things). Yet at the same time, I can't stop experiencing and feeling and interacting with people or situations who make me uncomfortable. I can't guard my heart from authentic, deep and possibly hurtful or painful times and relationships. I guard my heart to keep me from sin; if I guard my heart with the single goal of staying safe... that, in and of itself, may actually be sin... at least those are the thoughts spinning around my head tonight. As CS Lewis writes (of Aslan) in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, God "...is not safe... but He is good."

This somewhat introverted, slightly worn-out misso finds that thought a scary one, even on the good days. It is terrifyingly traumatic on the hard, bad ones. And that's even more my reality when think of teaching it  and watching it play out in the lives of the ones I love, particular these 8 young becoming ones the Lord has so graciously shared with us.

this week's gratitude list:
(#s 1992 - 2012)

not really sure what my ramblings today particularly have to do with gratitude, but thankful that God continues to teach and challenge me... and somewhat amazed how once again, He orchestrated both sermons from two very different services to dovetail together so well and to be just exactly what I was needing to hear 

sunburnt shoulders after Sunday afternoon swimming and lunch at the pool

coming up on 18 years this year, and knowing without a doubt, I'd still do it all over again and I'm thankful he says he would, too...

knowing I've got a friend who's "got my back" - I doubt I'll every find that less than amazing!

clean floors that I didn't have to sweep or mop

amazingly cool days for March in the Sahel

good dialogue, even when perspectives differ

miraculous God sized fingerprints of safety for friends who rolled their truck (several times) while traveling, way out on the other end of this country

opportunity to pray for another friend and colleague who has also been in a horrendous accident, and the family of the little girl who died

seeing evidence that God is up to something: as a friend just reminded me - with all these "attacks" it makes one wonder exactly where He is advancing... and it is always exciting and sometimes terrifying to watch Him work


dreaming dreams

mental wandering and wondering about the future

warts removed

girlies who've discovered jumping rope... again

friends and teachers willing to help probe about and discover why one of those girlies seems discouraged and stressed

pulling out the boy size 7s and 8s (they've been packed up for a long time) and moving down, passing along the size 5s and 6s

passing the #2000 signpost... and realizing I've just barely dipped my big toe into practicing this thing called gratitude

saying a next-to-impossibly-hard "No"

looking forward to talking with my parents - and even when it didn't happen, the antipation throughout the day was delightful and will make it that much more fun next time we can connect

2 days without anyone throwing up


  1. How very interesting. We taught our daughters to 'guard their hearts' when they were growing up and not give it to a young man until the time was proper. My youngest, now 25, tells her heartbroken-wish-I-were-married friends that they should guard their hearts and she said, "Mom, I think this is a totally new concept to them." Anyway.....thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Have a wonderful day! I'm counting my blessings along with you!

    1. thanks for your comment, rebecca. i do agree that we need to teach our daughters not to fling their hearts around, hoping one of these guys will be her prince charming (we've got 6 girlies :-). but, i think at the same time, i'm learning that i'm not going to be able to protect myself, much less them, from experiencing that pain of a broken heart - and nor should i.

      there are many things that should break our hearts - and if we keep them so closely guarded that we stop trying to feel or we guard them out of fear of feeling something we don't think we want or something we don't consider "safe?" sure would be a lot easier if there was a formula to follow... but a lot less adventurous.

      keep on counting!


Stop in for a chat! I love to hear what you have to say ~


Related Posts with Thumbnails