The Bible tells us to watch over our heart “with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Other versions say to guard it with all vigilance. Others say to watch over it because everything you do flows from it.
I’m a girl who lives full throttle led by her heart. I enjoy creative thinking, deep conversations, and using my imagination. I like to be active and push my body in a way that energizes me. But God has uniquely wired me to flourish in matters of the heart — care and mercy for another, relating quickly to friends or strangers wherever they find themselves, and feeling emotions deeply.
When I was in high school, I had a coach tell me I was like a chameleon. That I could fit in any group, be everyone’s friend and listening ear, including the counsel, “Make sure you’re pray-ed up.” At the time I only partly understood his challenge.
Over the years, with the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace, I’ve learned what stewarding my heart looks like for me. Maybe these practices can be helpful for you.
AGREE with Scripture
Or better yet, beware of when you’re disagreeing with it. Sounds simple, but oh so powerful. Learn what God thinks, about situations, you, the world, and agree with Him. An extension of this would be to take thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:1-6). When you find yourself camped out in a thought, submit it to what you know about God, hold it up to the light of the Bible and see how it compares. Another extension is to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any lies you are believing about God, yourself, or another person, and repent of them. It’s a muscle we must use frequently to strengthen — uproot the lie and align your feelings with your faith, replanting seeds of Truth. His Word will never fail to be the response or answer you need. Pour it in, meditate on it, set up camp in the midst of it.
INVITE God into the moment
Because we have God’s Spirit inside us, we have constant access to a peace so durable it can withstand ANY commotion, noise, distress or fear, internal or external. David Powlison said “You are discipled into such composure [of soul]. You learn it from Jesus.” He is the one who leads you to refreshing waters (Psalm 23). Whatever you’re feeling, spiritual or sinful, pretty or messy, invite God into it. He knows what you need before you ask. And His Spirit, not your willpower, has the to power change your heart or your mind.
ADMIT when you’re in need and give God space to provide
This is the one I’m probably a 3 out of 10 with. I am quick to confess when I need God if I’m stressed or confused or anxious. I am not quick, however, to recognize when my heart is on a religious or approval-seeking treadmill. When I find my heart and soul especially taxed, it is often because I’m operating from a place of striving and scarcity, not from a place of abundance. When I read the word ‘vigilance’ in Proverbs 4, this is what I think of: a heightened sense of what it feels like to be connected to the Vine (John 15). For me reconnecting to the Vine practically looks like solitude and silence, giving my heart the space to lay all its contents out before Him and have Him help me reassemble the pieces.
photo via sunday social