You were determined. Things were going to be different this year. You made relationship goals and you’re doing your best. But there’s a problem. You brought last year’s baggage into this year’s efforts and your friends and family did too.
Doubts, disappointments, failures . . . yep, the memories linger and hurt both your mind and your heart.
We’re almost a full month in and the glow of hope and anticipation is wearing off.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
It sounds good but what exactly is heart guarding?
The dictionary defines guard this way…
- to keep safe from harm and danger
- to keep a close watch
- to keep under control or restraint
- to provide a safeguard
That’s the what and it makes sense but how do we guard something as fragile as our hearts.
If you’ve ever had your heart broken . . . you may believe guarding your heart means never let yourself be vulnerable again. But that’s not guarding as much as it is isolation, and I understand, sometimes living behind a protective wall feels safer and easier.
But you and I were made for community . . . for relationships. God wants us to live connected to Him and to each other. That means isolation isn’t really an option, at least not a good one.
Heart guarding is being able to stay open and vulnerable . . . but with wisdom and discernment.
That is not easy!
So, here are 5 ways you and I can guard our hearts and bless our relationships.
How to Guard Your Heart in Relationships and Know Peace
1. Carefully Take Control of Your Thoughts
Keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. If there is anything good and worth giving thanks for, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
I bet you wanted to start with an easy one!
Thoughts pop in from everywhere. It’s not easy to stay focused on only those things that are good and worth giving thanks for…
Especially in our relationships.
Conversations so easily spin out of control. Angry words and hurt feelings leave us thinking about anything and everything but truth, respect, kindness, and love. Rev and I have a saying about “putting the best ‘destruction’ on everything!”
It’s sooo easy to assume the worst.
If you and I want to guard our hearts and have strong relationships we need to address problems with calm resolve and work to leave others better than we found them. That means refusing to dwell on anything negative and forgiving quickly. Add a dose of thankfulness with a refusal to think the worst and we’re headed in the right direction.
2. Know God’s Truth to Defeat Lies
The enemy of our souls is constantly whispering distractions and defeat. His goal is to rob our peace, devastate our efforts, and ruin our relationships.
If you and I want to live in community with guarded hearts, it’s essential for us to know the truth. God’s truth.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth,” 78 times. Truth for life. Truth about relationships.
When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. John 16:13
God’s Word is full of relationship advice but it’s hard to practice it if we don’t know it. The more you and I fill our hearts His truth the easier it is to guard our hearts while remaining open, caring, patient, and kind.
3. Pray for Wisdom
I need wisdom in my relationships. I have times when I don’t know what to say. (Hard to believe, I know.) Knowing what to do, say, and especially what to think takes prayer. Lots of prayer!
I need relationship advice. Honestly, I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to turn to God and say, “Lord, I don’t know what to think about this situation. Please reveal the truth to me and show me what to do and say going forward. Help me set wise boundaries and bless this relationship with Your grace, mercy, and love.”
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5
4. Love Yourself and Practice Emotional Self-Care
You are so very loved. Still, if you’re like me, you are your own worst critic. I say things to myself I would never dream of saying to anyone else.
This could be a whole series of posts but for today, just remember that guarding your heart to bless your relationships must include repenting when you fail, receiving the gift of forgiveness and living with the joy of God’s grace.
Begin and end every day reminding yourself how much God loves you! Remembering His love is the best way to guard your heart.
“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.” ~ Jerry Bridges
The Best Ways to Guard Your Heart
♥ Keep a compliments/encouragement journal.
♥ Take a social media break.
♥ Filter what you watch and read.
♥ Stop worrying about other people’s opinions.
♥ Count your blessings.
♥ Trust God’s love.
Friends, your heart is precious. It is the core of who you are. What you believe is rooted in your heart and those beliefs become your words and actions.
You are precious to God. The people around you are precious to Him, too. Guard your heart with truth, share His love, and bless your relationships.
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