This blog post has been etched on my heart for many years, and I am so excited to share what I believe is a message every believer needs to hear. It’s a lesson the Lord reminds me of so often and is something that I have discussed with my friends and family at length over the years. So, I pray that you feel challenged and encouraged by what I feel the Lord wants you to hear today.
According to the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, I am an ENFP. I am the extrovert of all extroverts. I am enthusiastic, outgoing, spontaneous, impulsive, energetic, empathetic and, at times, spastic. God made me this way, and I appreciate my personality because I know that these characteristics can be helpful in many circumstances. But what God wants to use for good, the enemy tries to use for harm, and he did just that for the first quarter-century of my life. Until I learned a really valuable lesson…
From adolescence through my mid-twenties, I had had many relationships, platonic and romantic, come and go. I would meet someone, immediately decide I liked them, pour all of my time and energy into that relationship, and, as quickly as it came, it would fizzle out. And every single time, it would break my heart. Girls I thought I would be friends with for a lifetime wouldn’t even be speaking to me a year later. Guys I had liked so much would move on so quickly, and somehow, I couldn’t. I wasn’t guarding my heart at all; I was serving it up on a platter. And every single time I did, I got it back more broken than it was before. Prior to accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior, I put my faith in everyone but Him.
Growing up in the church, I had heard hundreds of sermons and had even memorized tons of verses, but none of them really took hold in my heart until I recommitted my life to Christ at 25 years old. One of the most life-changing verses for me in the last five years has been Proverbs 4:23,
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
If you have spent any amount of time in church, I am sure you have heard this verse—most likely in reference to dating. And while I do believe God wants us to guard our hearts as we navigate the dating world, I also believe He wants us to continue to do this for the remainder of our lives.
Most recently, God reminded me of this message within the context of my marriage. It has been nearly three years since my husband and I made a covenant before our God, our family, and our friends. Not long after, we got pregnant with our sweet baby boy. After he turned a year old, we decided we were ready to start trying for another baby. I got pregnant so easily with Daniel, and I expected that to be the case with the next one. Daniel is nearly two years old, and after one miscarriage and many months of trying, I had begun to get discouraged. I was putting so much hope into another baby, that when I found out I wasn’t pregnant, it would pierce my heart.
I am NOT saying that wanting or desiring children is bad; I still long for another child (or two or three). But what I quickly realized was that I was allowing this process of trying to have another baby rob my joy. I was challenged with the question, “If God doesn’t give us another child, will this one be enough, and will I still serve the Lord?” That perspective change was everything for me. God doesn’t owe us more children. I believe we will have more, but that is not my focus anymore. My hope is in God. I am guarding my heart by trusting Him with this area and not letting it consume me like I had before.
What does guarding your heart look like for you in this season of life? It’s different for everyone. This is where wisdom and discernment come in. Another way of thinking about this verse is, “Guard your hope.” Is your hope in another person? Without them, would everything fall apart? Is your hope in a job? Without it, would you be lost? Is your hope in getting married? Does the desire for a spouse consume your thoughts? Is your hope in your children (present or future)? We place our hope in things all of the time. Wealth, fame, success, our health. If things don’t fall into place just as you have imagined, how will you cope?
My question for you today is this: Where does your hope lie? Are you guarding your hope? If you are placing your hope in anything or anyone above God, I can promise you with 100 percent certainty, you will be disappointed by that very thing you are hoping in.
Give your heart, your dreams, your worries, and your fears to God. Trust Him to orchestrate your future. Believe Him when He tells you, “…I know the plans I have for you…. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). I promise you, if you put your hope in Him, He will never disappoint you.