“Oh dear, guard your heart.”
How many times have you heard about this advice? How many times have you given this advice?
I, for example, when I was still in my baby steps in my Christian walk, had a conversation on this with one of our female church leaders. It went something like this..
“What will I do Ate? I can’t stop thinking about him.”
“Dear, you really have to guard your heart.”
“Surrender it to God. Pray about it.”
*blankly stared at her and just nodded in agreement but obviously didn’t understand a thing*
I mean, surrendering it to the Lord has always been part of the equation. Praying about it is a must. But what I needed that time were concrete steps. What are the things I should be start doing? What are the things I need to stop thinking about? How do I guard my heart?
After that conversation with a friend, I found myself doing things that were not either honorable to the eyes of the Lord or not helping me get out of the situation. I prayed about it then I went on doing my own ‘strategic’ plans. I started to stay away from the guy. I started pulling out myself in the ministry where he was also committed. I changed my facebook chat status “forever offline” for him. I tried my best not to talk about him. Yet at the end of the day, I found myself thinking more and more about him. Oh boy, I was in a mess!
You see, staying away from the person doesn’t mean you are guarding your heart. Even if you are not physically seeing each other or not sharing deep emotional feelings, you can still cross the line with your thought life.
You guys are just “friends.”
This is how you will define a relationship with a guy from the very beginning. There will be no wondering if he is “the one.” You have to control your actions and thoughts because there is no commitment or expectation of a lifelong partnership with him. When there is no commitment or hope of a long-term future with a man, the emotions stay in their proper place, not focusing on the what ifs but on the now.
Defining friendship. Making this truth upfront is the key in maintaining a brother-sister relationship. We never had to wonder; we never had unmet expectations. It was a beautiful friendship between a guy and a girl.
Now, if you have met a marriageable man who passed all the qualities in your “The Right Guy Checklist,” be quick to stand on your ground. Set your boundaries and know full well that God is in control. Treat him the same way you would with any of your guy friends. Do not pay special attention to him, and keep your thoughts captive to Jesus Christ.
Would I be treating him this way if his wife is here?
When I spend time with my male friends I always ask myself this question, “Would I be treating him this way if his wife is here?” As my relationship continues to stand with my guy friends, I need to constantly remember that one day they will be other women’s husbands.
A single person needs to consider that he or she may be dealing with another person’s future husband or wife. Would you like to know that your future husband is right now giving himself emotionally and spiritually to another? What a terrible picture! Yikes!
Stick to your standards
I would venture to the idea that most people have set high standards. I have friends, both male and female, who have obviously spent time praying about it. They know what they want–or more realistically, they know what they don’t want.
So, let’s stick to them! I can’t stress this enough: It’s far better to be alone than to be with someone – cultivating a deep relationship and building a life together – who you don’t actually care for. Sure, they are cute and fun and really, really nice. But those deal breakers you wrote down at the back of your journal? They are your deal breakers for a reason. You will realize this at some point.
My dear friend, don’t take anyone who just walks in front of you. Oh heavens, that guy who you have to basically beg just to text you back? Not worth it. The girl who you let tug at your heart strings every other week? Forget her. The person you have to make slightly jealous before they even notice you? C’MON. Respect yourself a little more.
Know that you are worth fighting for. Actually fighting for. Know that someone should work – truly put in effort – to get to know you and they should earn the honor to call you their ‘love’. Because it’s an honor for someone to be your partner. Be hard to get. Stick to your standards.
Date your (same gender) friends
You need to realize that your relationship with your significant other (or future significant other) is not the only meaningful, fulfilling relationship in your life. You should be able to surround yourself with a healthy community who shares the same battles with you, who reminds you of your worth every time that insecurity pops in, who openly and lovingly rebukes you when you messed things up.
How wonderful it is to know that you will have female friends who would rejoice with you when you finally enter that season of being in a relationship rather than receiving text messages from them saying, “Since when? Who is this guy?!”
Hang out with (other gender) friends
I don’t get why some Christians are so terrified of guy-girl friendships. I fully believe they can be great friends; however, they shouldn’t be absolute best, you’re-my-only-sense-of-community friends. This takes work, my friend, and it’s a tricky balance to find. Yet I think two healthy people can be close friends, if they keep boundaries and are wise about it.
I learn so much from my guy friends. As brothers in Christ, I love hearing their views on faith. I love having men looking out for me, as brothers should. Guys are so different than girls (Mind blowing, right?) and it’s great to have new perspectives on ideas in the world and passions that we share. Also, having guy friends teaches girls to see guys as actual people, not just potential future husbands. I want to be friends with my best friend’s husbands. I also really want to be best friends with my husband one day. Therefore, I need to know how to be friends with guys.
However, always remember that guarding your heart will require you to discern when to share and when to hold back. Avoid defrauding. Do not make yourself emotionally available to every young man who comes your direction.
Spend time with Couples
Hang out with couples. Bridge the generations gaps! Imagine how much you will learn from two people whose marriage started by the grace of the Lord, blossom, and grow to where it is today. Watch their dynamics. See how they love each other. See how they fight. Pay attention to the way they communicate to each other. Look to see what you want one day, what you respect. Also look for warning signs you should be on the lookout for. You can save yourself a lot of heartache if you learn from others mistakes. Thank God for people who already went ahead of us!
Be that as it may, you have to intentionally set a schedule to see them. Spontaneous “dinner tonight?!” texts aren’t really that much welcome when you have a family. Consider that. Plan ahead. Don’t assume you will just “happen” to hang out with them.. do you ever just “happen” to find yourself on a date?
let God be God.
Search me, O God, and know my heart.
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.