I broach this topic with convictions, but also with fear. As I write this, I am brought back to a conversation I had just yesterday with my closest friends.

It was a conversation that made me realise that, compared to my peers, I come with a very different understanding of what “guard your heart” means.

While my friends guard their hearts by having physical boundaries within friendships, I do so by guarding my emotions.

My fear when making friends with the opposite gender, is that I might break past emotional boundaries into things I cannot untangle myself from.

To me, guarding my emotions helps me to remain truly friends with guys and also enables me to see each of them for who God made them to be.

To me, guarding your heart means not letting the possibility of an intimate relationship hinder you from seeing the beauty of God’s perfect creation in your friend.

So here’s my take, from someone who guards her heart (especially her emotions) jealously for the one she will someday spend the rest of her life with.

Being swept off your feet could get you hurt

Just like any other girl, attention from guys and being liked by classmates felt good to me.

So years back, when attention and feelings were being directed towards me, it was tempting to receive them with open arms.

Getting together with someone, or allowing that someone to continue pursuing a relationship with me — even though I knew this relationship was not possible — was a tempting option.

Let’s face it, I like to be liked (who doesn’t?).

But there was one thing holding me back.

That year was the year I had committed the next six years of my youth to God in humble surrender.

I committed to a season of singlehood: no entertaining of feelings and certainly no romantic relationship.

For me, that meant I could not experience what other girls around me had experienced in their relationships — not yet.

So when a particular classmate confessed his feelings for me, I had to somehow turn him down.

To me, guarding your heart means not letting the possibility of an intimate relationship hinder you from seeing the beauty of God’s perfect creation in your friend.

But in that season of singlehood and striving to remain consecrated for Christ, my heart was distracted.

I occasionally caved to spending a little too much time alone with him.

I caught myself picking up my phone the moment I received a notification of his message.

I realised that I wasn’t at all fully committed to God when I said I would give Him the next six years of my life.

My turning point – when it came to this attitude towards my season of singlehood – was when I realised that I must live for Christ.

What I mean by this, is that I saw how others approached relationships – and I was unsatisfied by that.

Desiring for love through relationships, some around me stepped into relationships they were unable to commit to.

Others were also unable to bear the emotional weight that comes with sharing life with another person.

For me, that wouldn’t be living for Christ.

So I knew I had to do things differently, because if I wanted to offer those six years of my life to God, then it had better start from the way I treated my friends and also myself.

So, guarding my heart helps me live for Christ better. It helps me lovingly see others the way God designed and sees them.

I believe that all people need God and His love (which is not a worldly love) and that believers must be people who can bring this love to them.

When I guard my heart, I find that I can better love others in such a way.

When I guard my heart, I give God space to use me as a vessel for His love and blessing.

And so in those six years, I learned what it means to be a friend (without leading anyone on) and seized opportunities to reach out to them with God’s love.

As I did so, I also learnt to act with wisdom when it comes to my emotions.

I learnt to yield myself to God, and choose to trust in His perfect timing – believing that He would provide for me a man who pursues Him passionately.

And I learnt — albeit through many hurts and countless mistakes — how to gently (hopefully) reject someone’s feelings for me while still remaining close enough to love like Christ.

Above all else, I needed God to be the centre of my heart. And to me, that meant not letting my emotions get the better of me (this is what it means to guard my heart!).

A time to love

And just as I thought I had mastered the art of guarding my heart, my six years were up.

This year, guarding my heart is going to look different. I am actively waiting on God to bring that special someone to cross paths with me.

How should I now guard my heart, when I also want to get to know people for the purpose of entering into a relationship?

There are new questions, but God will help me through this season.

Do I fully know how guarding my heart will look like in this new season? No, I am going to have to learn some more.

This time though, God reminds me that my bottom-line would remain the same: my heart must always see people as children dearly loved and deeply embraced by God.

In this new season, I am excited to see how Love still loves. I am excited to see, through the eyes of God, the beauty within each child of God.

I am excited to see the beauty within every relationship (romantic or otherwise) He has ordained.

In all my relationships, may I bring Him glory, praise and worship!

  1. Where does guarding your heart appear in the Bible?
  2. What does the verse mean to you?
  3. Ask your pastor or spiritual leaders what they think that verse means.
  4. Consider how you might apply that to your own life.