During a recent session, a client and I explored the idea of our heart’s desires aligning with God’s plan for us. Specifically, we arrived at an important question: How can we guard our hearts in order to seek and maintain alignment with God?
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 the importance of guarding our heart. What is in our hearts determines our actions, our actions lead to habits, and our habits lead to our character. With all of this in mind, guarding our heart is pretty important.
Here are a few ways you can guard your own heart:
- Our thinking. Our thoughts control our actions and shape our lives. As a counselor, the essence of my job is to help others gain self-awareness and transform their thinking to live overall healthier lives. Even the Bible tells us the important of our thoughts in Romans 12:2. How one goes about controlling and renewing their thinking is up to them but understanding the importance of the power of our minds is essential.
- Boundaries. Many view boundaries as way to keep people out of our lives. On the contrary, boundaries are ways to keep people in. Boundaries reveal the level in which we are willing to freely give our heart and be vulnerable with someone. Setting boundaries can help us guard our hearts by providing insight, perspective, and clarity to a person’s role in our lives, who they are to us, and what we can expect from them. If our boundaries offend someone in our life, this often means that somewhere in the relationship their role was miscommunicated or misinterpreted and the expectations we have for them are misaligned.
- Submit Emotions. My Pastor once said, “Emotions are good indicators but poor navigators.” Our emotions can indicate where our thoughts are and what’s in our heart. Therefore, it is important to be aware of and understand our emotions. However, acting from emotions is not a good way to navigate our lives. Furthermore, it can create in us a deceitful heart. Submitting our emotions to God’s word can increase our faith in Him and reveal to us the true state of our heart.
Our heart is the center of our existence. With that, guarding it can help us live the best and healthiest version of ourselves. We can evaluate the state of our heart through our thoughts, actions (setting boundaries) and emotions. Seeking wise counsel with a close person in your life, a trusted individual in your Church community, or a therapist are ways to analyze how well you are guarding you heart. Remember, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23.