The past few weeks I've spent a lot of time in my own head. Thinking, asking questions, reading, recognizing themes in my life.
I am always seeking to find balance in my life. On one hand it feels like a never-ending chase and on the other, it feels like a worthy goal and admirable lifetime pursuit.
All of this introspection and meditation has led me to the Proverbs and to other well-known scriptures. It has been a refreshing few weeks of re-learning to love God's word and ingest it, so that it slowly becomes part of my person.
Proverbs 4:23 is one that was really "popular" when I was in high school. In a lot of scenarios it felt like it could be interpreted as "Above all, guard your virginity..." But now I'm a married woman and sex is good and right and wonderful- and this verse is still in the bible! It didn't disappear, so it must still have value for those of us who aren't guarding our lady-gardens.
I've been pondering and praying and hoping that I could understand what it means. The wellspring of life sounds like a pretty crucial part of living, so I figure it would be worth some contemplation.
And here is what I've discovered in my life: I need to guard my heart.
Are you amazed?
Brilliant, I know.
Rather than guarding my heart from a premature relationship or romantic infatuation I need to guard my heart from:
These things creep in so quietly, and are so culturally approved, that I don't even notice that they have taken up residence in my thoughts and emotions until I am in the midst of a melt-down or am thinking cruel thoughts toward someone I am supposed to love.
When I am obsessed with my own expectations of how an event should work, or how Jack should behave, the life drains out of me. When I focus on what I don't have rather than what I do, my days feel long, lifeless and always wanting.
So, if I want the wellspring of my life to be overflowing and fresh and sweet, I need to be actively guarding against those things that would strangle my heart. When I am disappointed because Andy didn't say just thing I wanted to hear, I need to guard my heart from bitterness. When I look at a friend who seems to have it all together, I need to guard my heart from self-criticizing. When I make my Christmas list, I need to guard my heart from greed and envy.
At each turn of the day I have to be on the lookout. It is so much easier to stop something from taking hold of me than to loosen a thing that already has a grip. But at whatever point, it needs to be done. I want to be a woman who overflows, whose spring produces clear, refreshing water. Water that revives, nourishes and heals the lives around me. And to be that, I need to guard my heart.
Lord, please teach us to be on guard. To be active in filtering out those things that want to gain access to our heart, but don't bring us life. Shine your light on the righteous and reveal the things that carry death. You are good.