I’ve never been in a relationship so, you can choose to disregard this “relationship advice”. I know that coming from someone with no experience in the matter, the following may seem unreliable. But, for some reason, I was thinking about this today and felt the need to type it out.
Take it or leave it. Choose your own adventure.
As a girl (and, possibly more so as a Christian girl), I’ve heard the phrase “Guard your heart” used over and over at church, youth group, in books, articles, at camp, etc. You name it. Wherever us girls go, we are told over and over to, when it comes to boys and to relationships, that we better “guard our hearts”.
Guard our hearts from what?
You meet a guy. Start talking to this guy. Start getting goo-goo eyed at the mention of his name…and you start hearing the following:
“Just be careful. Guard your heart.”
Now, I could possibly be the only one who ever took this a certain way, but, for the longest time, I took this whole “Guard Your Heart” mantra as something along the lines of:
Don’t really let him in.
Don’t get too close (emotionally/physically)
Keep some walls up. Don’t let him know everything, so, if it ends, it won’t hurt as much.
Basically, don’t throw yourself at this guy.
Don’t get too emotionally involved too soon….emotional involvement+breakup=pain.
Or something along those lines. Am I crazy? Did anyone else think like this? NOT that some things mentioned above are still true or even wise. For instance, it’s probably not smart to bare your soul to some random guy you find attractive at McDonald’s, and, of course, for the sake of purity, it’s wise to set physical boundaries for you and your boyfriend, etc.
What I think we miss, or, at least, I missed, is that it’s not really all about being “too open” with a guy who’s pursuing you, but, it’s about guarding your heart from idolatry.
Ladies, a man can’t save you. He cannot satisfy your deepest longings. That “perfect” guy is not perfect. He will fail you. A boyfriend cannot and will not bring you unceasing joy. If you are not “happy” now, getting a boyfriend will not magically make all your troubles disappear and make you “happy”. Perhaps temporarily, but, that’s just it–temporarily.
It’s about guarding your heart from making a guy your hope. It’s about guarding your heart from making a guy your everything, the consumer of your thoughts, the possessor of your time, energy, actions, etc.
It’s about guarding your heart from worship.
We are created to worship, and we will worship something or someone. Sin has disordered our worship, and we are prone to whore after and to worship other gods, and if we are not careful, a relationship can easily become a god. Easily.
Guard your heart. I think of the very last verse in 1 John.
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
1 John 5:21
The following are excerpts from Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods. (a jack your life up for the better book)
“What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.
A counterfeit god [idol] is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.
An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought.
The true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention. What do you enjoy daydreaming about? What occupies your mind when you have nothing else to think about?
Idolatry is not just a failure to obey God, it is a setting of the whole heart on something besides God.
When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.
Idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced. If you only try to uproot them, they grow back; but they can be supplanted. By what? By God himself, of course. But by God we do not mean a general belief in his existence. Most people have that, yet their souls are riddled with idols. What we need is a living encounter with God.”
Single (and married women–for your husband can easily be an idol too), it is my plea that you guard your hearts. It is my prayer that we all guard our hearts. That we all would know that only Christ can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. Only in Christ is there real, true, and lasting joy and fulfillment that a boyfriend or a husband can never give.
Seek first the Kingdom. Seek God. Love God. Proclaim Christ and Him crucified. Guard your hearts.
Take it or leave it.