I was on twitter per the usual and we were talking about how long is too long to be out of contact with your significant other. I’m voting a few hours unless otherwise noted. I’m needy. I can’t help it. I need for my #Him to be looking for me or we might have a misunderstanding.
This conversation lead to a discussion on relationship abandonment, then my friend @msshonnerz mentioned how important it is to guard your heart. I responded with “I wish I had done that better.”
Because I do.
And with that tweet, this post was born.
Let’s break it down, in the Old Testament, the word heart is mentioned 489 times and in the New Testament, it’s mentioned 81, within the NIV Bible. The number of times it appears may be different depending on which version of the Bible you’re reading. That being said, Divine inspiration kicked in and believes these matters of the heart are matters of the highest importance. It’s the most mentioned word that isn’t a form of God’s name (Father, God, Jesus). Given that, there’s a matter of importance we need to iron out.
How do I guard my heart?
This is an amazing question. I don’t know if I have all of the answers, but I’m going to kick a few of the solutions to you this evening I’ve found helpful. Listen, if you’ve been
stalking and lurking reading From Rae With Love, by now you know I’m really about love. I’m about giving and kindness. I’m also about being well, having healthy boundaries and amazing relationships. I’m about us being able to function to the highest capacity we’re capable of. Do you read CS Lewis? Did you know he was an atheist and converted to Christianity? Besides being the author of many amazing novels, he wrote quite a bit of Christian-based philosophy and thought. About love and the heart he had this to say:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
Here’s the thing, we’re supposed to love others, we’re called to love others. Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Agnostic, everyone I know believes in some form of love. Most of us agree on it. This man who was a guest at the bar the other night, six sheets to the wind drunk told me he didn’t have a ‘god’ but he did believe in being the best person, the best father and husband he could be.
But Rae get to the point….
How do I guard my heart?
- Have your heart broken. In order to guard your heart, I believe you have to experience some form of heartbreak or loss. You need a measuring stick. If you haven’t been heartbroken, then you’re not opening up enough. Really. I mean, you can’t defend anything when you have no idea who your enemy is can you? It’s like fighting blind. Has your heart been broken? Good. Then we can get started on what’s happening next.
- Recognize patterns. Who broke it? How did they break it? What were your expectations from this relationship? How is it they gained your trust? Are you choosing the same ‘types’ of people over and over? Have you been desperate to reach a certain goal?
- Learn how people gain your trust. I had to answer this question for myself. Please take a look at this post – it may help. Once you determine how people gain access to your heart and can activate those love buttons, you can see them coming a bit better. I’ll admit, that list is sitting in a journal of mine. I revisit it and read it from time to time when I need clarity. I also believe based on life’s experiences, how people gain your trust may change.
- Beware of making permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances. We’ve heard this one. It’s true. Are you in the middle of major loss? Turmoil? Don’t make major decisions right now. Also, this isn’t a good time to have intake of brand new people in your life just ‘show up.’ Some of the people who did the most harm in my life were the new people who showed up in my life. This isn’t to say you can’t trust people, I’m just saying be cautious. Be weary of everyone who comes bearing gifts. Sounds too good to be true? It normally is.
- Seek honesty. When you find it, know how to deal with it and process it. Honesty and transparency is something I value. I’ve always valued it. I haven’t always been privy to have it. We have to stop being so sensitive we can’t accept another person’s truth. Sometimes we need to listen with more than our own desires as a base. We just need to listen and hear people loud and clear.
- Love without condition. This is some hard sh**. For real. I mean we’re human. I love with condition. I love sometimes with the hope that I’ll “get something” in return. But what am I setting myself up for? I think a way to begin doing this is to volunteer for something you’re passionate about. Volunteering and service usually resets you when you’re heartbroken. It can give you fresh perspective on what it means to love.
- Set boundaries. I wrote about this not too long ago. Mostly because my boundary system used to look like a Euglena. Single-celled and simple as hell. I know you’re laughing – I am. There weren’t any real walls. It was ready for invasion. There’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries. By the way, the real resolve is not in setting them, but knowing how to enforce them. It means being open to love, but not letting something that appears like love get in too far and break you open.
- Meet people where they are. Ask people to meet you where you are. Expectations. When I meet people, I try and see them as they are. I don’t sugar coat it anymore. I may see they have the capacity to be and do amazing things. However, they may never make it. How will I feel about it? How will I feel if people can’t love me where I am? In doing so, we’re not setting ourselves up for these ridiculous outcomes that may never happen.
- Be willing to let go of what isn’t good to you or for you. This is hard. Like curse word hard. However, it gets easier as you live life. I’m the queen of letting folks go. If you make me worry and fearful of what’s happening next, if I feel as if I’m not safe (physically, spiritually, emotionally) then well, we may have to part ways. This is one of the hardest things to do. I’m all for trying to maintain crucial relationships – just not at the expense of myself consistently. There are some who may argue with this, however, I’m not having it. Not to mention, how many times has someone been removed from your life only for you to go and retrieve them? Looka here – I’ve seen clear ways and calls for an exit and still stayed. Each time I paid for it. We have to stop that business.
But let’s go back to this CS Lewis quote above. The real deal is we can’t completely enclose ourselves. It’s not possible. You can’t live that way. We’re going to be hurt but we can lessen it. We can mitigate some of that damage. I’ve had my heart broken enough to be an expert on the matter. By the grace of God, I’m still
relatively sane and my heart is still open. I don’t go through a timeline of heartbreak – mostly because by terms of looking at it, I should have gave up long, long ago. However, I’m proof that even if you haven’t been great at guarding your heart over the years, God can restore you and heal you. One other thing, everyone isn’t out to hurt you. We still have to remain open so we can get what and who God has for us.
Hopefully God can stop me from cussing people out like I have been lately, but I think that’s also a good way of weeding out mayhem and evil. Pray for me y’all! LOL….
How do you guard your heart?
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