What Does It Mean to Guard Your Heart?
- Kris Swiatocho and Cliff Young The Singles Network Ministries, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 17 Mar
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
I have been meeting up with this girl from my church. We are both seniors in high school, and I first noticed her on a mission trip to Guatemala this past summer. I was attracted to her level of maturity after conversation. We’re both pretty involved in church, and since September, we’ve been meeting up bi-weekly 1-on-1, for an hour before youth group. Technically, we agreed that we wanted to stay “friends”, but I was wary of where our situation was heading. I’ve always found her attractive, but she will be heading off to a university in the East Coast. At the moment, I could probably handle it, but I wouldn’t want to make things harder for me (or her) when she has to leave. I have been talking to my parents and church counselors about my situation with this girl, and after a lot of prayer, I’ve decided that it would be best to stop our 1-on-1 meetings.
Now, the question remains: Is it possible to stay friends—possibly keeping a potential relationship on hold—while treating her as a fellow sister-in-Christ? My close friendships are cultivated through 1-on-1 settings; I find group settings superficial. I would also like to go to prom together, but I am not sure if that would be a good idea. A counselor told me to "guard your hearts". I want to guard my heart AND her heart, but what does it truly mean, and where do I draw the line in doing that?
My child, pay attention to my words; listen attentively to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight, guard them within your heart for they are life to those who find them and healing to one’s entire body. Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it are the sources of life. Proverbs 4:20-23
From the early days of grade school we are taught the heart is life. When it stops beating, we cease to exist, and this is true in the physical sense.
However as Christians we are told it holds the very source of life, which is the Word of God. When we put our trust in the Lord and allow Him into our heart, that’s where we hold the very truths of life. Those truths and principles we try to live out each day is what we are told to guard and protect.
You both sound like very mature people and seem to be seeking the Lord’s direction for your lives. You say you’ve decided it would be best to stop meeting together, but I’m curious to know what she says about it.
I for one shouldn’t be encouraging anyone to get involved before going away to college since I did the summer before and it decimated my studies for the first couple of quarters; however, I wasn’t walking with the Lord nor seeking His Will.
God brought the two of you together for a reason, and possibly just a season. However, if you care about each other (even just as friends), communicate well with one another and encourage each other in your walk, why would you want to stop meeting together?
Living away from home for the first time can be a tough season in a young person’s life and having someone who understands and cares can be the catalyst to success in school and living out your faith. Knowing the other will ask hard questions may encourage you to stay faithful to the Lord during those difficult times.
This doesn’t mean you have to be boyfriend and girlfriend, and going to the prom with her as a “friend” doesn’t need to signify anything more. Many kids these days are going as friends. Don’t put a lot of undue pressure on the “relationship” aspect (or allow others to) and go out and enjoy your senior year with whoever encourages you and helps keep you on track with Jesus.
True, deep and honest friendships are hard to find, and it may be just the thing to help each of you to guard your heart.
Thanks so much for your question as the concept of "guarding your heart" applies to all aged singles. First, I agree with your decision to pull away a bit considering she is heading to the east coast for school. By all means you can stay friends, allowing the Lord to direct your steps. While I do think you are very young and may meet someone else, you are obviously attracted to this woman, making it very hard to step away. So let's talk about a game plan that will help guard your hearts.
What does it mean to "guard your hearts?" It simply means that you are controlling how much emotional involvement there is. Now, I am not a guy, so I can't say for sure whether men do this but women can jump so far ahead in a "friendship" that we have started picking out china patterns. We can take any little thing a guy does and make it mean something very powerful. We can become obsessed with a guy where all our thoughts are about him. Then, when things change, not in our favor, it rips us apart. So let's address your four questions:
1. Should you continue your one-one-one meetings? While they are great to get to know someone better, your one-on-ones had a goal--to date her. But for her, they may have just been two good friends hanging out. Since you may not be in the same place in your relationship, I would agree and say they would have to end for now—as they will only cause you to become more attracted to her.
2. Can you still be friends? It may be hard to take a step back, but I think you can still do it. It sounds like she wants to remain friends so be that—her friend. You can't help who you fall in love with, but you can control your actions and what you say. So as her friend, limit your calls and texts to her (and other social media). Be genuinely concerned for her well being but not more than a friend would be. Stay in touch but don't appear clingy.
Now, you are probably asking where the fine line is in this. Only you will know by the consequences of over-stepping those boundaries. Another way will be your own heart. If you find yourself thinking about her too much or going out of your way to see her, then that will tell you that your own personal boundaries need to be checked.
3. Should you wait for her? Well from someone who had waited for another person for many years that never turned into a relationship, I would make sure it's what God wants you to do. If she is “the one," then she will be the one a year from now and so on. But don't miss opportunities to date other women. If you continue to pray about your friendship, continue to communicate with her in general, then things may work out at the right time.
4. Should you still ask her to the prom? I would not recommend that you ask her to the prom. That would be the opposite of guarding your heart. Rather you should go as a group and enjoy any small bits of conversation you have with her.
The bottom line in all of this is to trust the Lord. Keep giving it to God and let him design your next steps. Keep communication open, but guard your heart so you do not get hurt. However, even a broken heart can turn into something wonderful.
Proverbs 3:5-7, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of four books.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to email@example.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.
Publication date: March 17, 2016