Guard Your Heart – Proverbs 4:23
Last night I had a dream of an old friend who hurt me very much. In the dream, like others I’ve had with her in it, my best friend from years ago has plans with me. We are to see each other at a party or a gathering, and just like a reflection of the path of our true relationship, the meeting doesn’t go well. We don’t meet or it’s awkward or expectations aren’t met. I wake each time, and I’m grateful it isn’t often, wondering, “Why now? Why am I having this dream now?” And, of course, the other thought is, “What I am to learn from this?”
I loved this person a lot. I considered her my best friend. I hoped I could count on this person for the rest of my life and the events that unfolded hurt me so much. That’s how it is, right? Those we love the most can cause the deepest hurt. When I dream of her, I secretly wish it wasn’t this way. That the friendship we had was still there, but sadly, that will never be. When I further consider it, based on the events that unfolded, the friendship I think that I had may never have really been.
An important consideration, I am blessed by the events. My life and my personal perspective has been enriched by losing this friend and the events that surrounded it. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to consider those around me. I’ve made WAY BETTER friendships. I’ve become a better person. I also see others who are coming from broken places, the place I was in when my friends hurt me, in a whole new light. It’s increased my wisdom, my compassion, my advocacy, and my voice. I was truly blessed by this. It was painful. It was difficult, but I am blessed.
All of this reminds me of Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” I don’t believe Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, intended to tell us to not have our heart open to others. It’s my belief that God is Love and He (She) always wants us open to loving others and to being loved. This guarding isn’t to block us from others, but to protect the messages we let in.
If you read all of Proverbs 4 (I highly recommend you do, it’s wonderful advice from a father to a son) you’ll read much about wisdom and righteousness. There are words of consideration about choices we make and ensuring we are on a good and wholesome path. Every action, even those we just speak or consider, have consequences and can affect the deepest parts of ourselves, our heart.
At the time of the friendship I’ve mentioned above, I was not in a good place in my life. I would love to blame all of this on them, yet the truth of the matter is, I was not any healthier than any of those around me. I too was a part of the problem in that group. I wasn’t really a good friend and I was letting a lot of negative, unhealthy, unwise, and unkind messages into my heart. Sometimes I still do. I’m on a journey too, just like you, but now I am better at applying the wisdom Solomon** so graciously lays out in Proverbs 4. I’m better for it and so are those around me.
Dearest Heavenly Father (Mother), every good and wonderful gift comes from you. That includes each of the wonderful people around us. May we always be open to loving others and to being loved, seeing each other through your eyes, while also guarding our hearts from the darkness in the world. In Your Mighty name….
Please bring your prayer requests forward. I miss you.
*Photo taken from my daughter’s kitchen table in Grand Forks. I’m visiting for Easter. See the cat in the flowers. That’s lovely Izzy. If you look even closer, you’ll see Ms. Nala Marie in the lower-left corner. <3
**In Proverbs, Solomon chooses to refer to wisdom as a woman, a she. I love that. Someday I might blog about that, but if you consider God wise, and I figure you do, yet cringe when I refer to Him as a Her, I would like you to consider why the Creator of the Universe chose to allow a fundamental, very crucial part of Himself to be referred to as a female.