Beautifully Guarded


guard your heart

Having our hearts properly guarded doesn’t keep others out, it keeps God’s great love for us in and first. It protects us from pain and reminds us Whose we are.

Our desire to please other people can lead us to a place of silent suffering and constant pain. God knows this.

For years, I lived unaware of who I am to Him and that He died for me personally. That, no matter what happens, He would love me still. That I am worth loving and fighting for. Not perfect, by any means, but loveable and precious just as I am and was.

I’ve learned that there is a difference between walls and boundaries. Walls are understandable after trauma and formed out of fear to protect ourselves. Walls aren’t bad, they are normal, but can be broken down with consistency and genuine love. Once the heart feels ready to love again, boundaries promote a love that feels comfortable and provide opportunities for both parties to trust again. Boundaries and healthy. They protect and help love blossom without blocking.

Just like there is a difference in walls and boundaries, there is also a difference between a closed off heart and a guarded heart. Closed off is also understandable after trauma and shut down for fear of pain and letting someone in again. Closed off comes from the fear of speaking up for yourself or maybe not knowing who you are or what you want or need out of the relationship at all. Closed off is having no interest in getting to truly know anyone else because you feel better off alone.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

This verse used to confuse me because I thought it meant to shut out, but I see now that it means to shut in. Let the love of God into your heart and shut the door tight. Keep it there and love yourself and others with it. You are a precious child of God. We can remain open, yet very much guarded.

We need to properly guard ourselves from coworkers, friends, parents, our children, and even our spouses. Because, guess what? Words hurt. Loss hurts. Conflicts hurt. Separation hurts. A guarded heart loves others, loves themselves as a child of God, listens, forgives, promotes and accepts change, and lives aware of the fact that God loves them more than anyone else ever has, does, or will. Guard your heart so that in the wake of extremely painful consequences, the love of God will comfort you more than anyone or anything else ever can.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (ESV)

To me, this means He doesn’t want us closed off to others. He wants us open to love them, but to not forget ourselves or Him in the process. Lean on the Lord and be you. Be you because you were created different than anyone else for a reason. Be you because the ones God has for you love you for who you are. God put you here to be you and love others through Him. Not to “love” others by constantly pleasing them, always telling them what they want to hear, or giving them exactly what they want exactly when they want it. Give them you, soaked in Jesus. That’s the best you, you can be.

People change, lives change, circumstances change. He does not. He will not. He is our Rock. Guard your heart with that beautiful truth.

 

 

 

WHOSE are you?

remember

Whose are you? These words have been bouncing around in my brain for awhile. I think we all go through stages in life where we wonder who we are and who we want to be. A milestone birthday, a new job, divorce, new baby, or any life changing event may provoke these questions. We have the option to be whomever we want to be, but whose are we? When the question of “who am I?” pops into my mind, I can feel God asking me “whose are you?” in reply.

Life is ever changing and we are continually evolving to our environment whether we realize it or not. Our circumstances will continue to change throughout this life. So…who are you? Who do you want to be? What now? What’s working for you? What’s not?

I think all these questions are simplified when we ask ourselves first and foremost “Whose am I”? When we know who we belong to and are truly loved by, the answers will come. It’s an identity issue.

Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. As His children, we will receive all that He has for us. We will share what Christ receives. But we must share in His sufferings if we want to share in His glory. Romans 8:14,17 (NIRV)

So, WHOSE are you? WHOSE do you want to be? Whose do you want your children to be? Who do you want them to follow, to respect, to obey, to run to for comfort, to answer to, to listen to? What if something happens to you? Make no mistake, they will go to someone or something for comfort, approval, and acceptance (just like we do). All these answers come easier when we know and remember WHOSE we are, not just who we are.

I didn’t know this growing up. I was raised in a Christian home and went to church schools from elementary through college, but I didn’t have the security of knowing WHOSE I was. I lived to please people, and still struggle with it today. When I remember whose I am, that fear and struggle is put back into perspective and I thank God for that. Living to please people is a self defeating battle. Living to please God is much less burdensome, because I can rest in the fact that I am His daughter and nothing can separate me from His love. Nothing. This makes me want to please Him more. This turns the vicious cycle of trying to please people, failing, and trying again into a refreshing and rewarding cycle of pleasing my Savior.

I saw a quote recently by Dr. Mike Murdock that says “Submission is not ownership, submission is permission to protect.” God does not and will not force Himself on us. He doesn’t need us, He wants us and He wants to protect us…..so He waits. Like the prodigal son’s father, He runs to us when we return to Him, even with our tails between our legs. He desires us. That is mind blowing to me.

I think Murdock’s quote is also beneficial for women because Godly submission is such a tough concept for us to grasp. What is healthy submission? We are called to submit to a man while he is called to protect. The God-given responsibility and calling goes both ways. If a man expects his woman to submit without doing his part to protect her physically, spiritually, and emotionally, she won’t trust him enough to. Another vicious cycle ensues.

We need to know who our husband or potential mate is submitting to before we feel comfortable submitting ourselves. Whose are we and whose are they? Women want to be protected. Men want to protect. It’s the way God created us. If we know our man has our best interest at heart, submission shouldn’t be an issue. It’s a beautiful thing…a Godly design.

Hello, my name is Darla. I’m not perfect and never have been. But, I am honored and relieved to say I am a child of God, daughter of the Most High. It’s nice to meet you. 🙂 So, WHOSE are you?