This month I’ll be talking with you about guarding our hearts. While it seems natural to discuss guarding our hearts in regards to sexual purity, I want to go into two areas of guarding our hearts that don’t seem so obvious. How do we guard our hearts against further hurt and how do we guard our hearts against attitudes that ultimately destroy?

Guarding our hearts from further hurt is hard to navigate, especially as Christians. I find it very challenging to find a balance between maintaining good mental health while trying to model my life after Christ’s.   Our humanity demands that we put up a razor wire fence complete with guard towers around our hearts to keep out anymore hurt. However, the more I learn about Jesus, the more I question this approach. While I, myself, have quite a nice little fence around my heart, I’m not sure this is what God wants for us. I often try to tell God that He just doesn’t get it, that I can’t handle anymore hurt. Then the soft, subtle whisper of the Spirit reminds me that yes, He does get it: “Remember, dear Child, I was mocked and scorned by people I love so dearly. I was tortured and beaten by my own creation. Dear One, I understand your pain more than you will ever know. Come to Me. Bring me all your hurts and I will hold you and bring you comfort.”

What if guarding our hearts against more hurt means laying it all and I mean, ALL, at the feet of Jesus, our comforter, our Redeemer, our healer and letting him take care of it? What if guarding our hearts against hurt means looking to God to show us the way through the darkness? While we don’t get a big picture of Jesus’ relationship with God, we get glimpses of it as we read through the gospels:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule. You’re blessed when you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” –Matthew 5:3,4 MSG

I think Jesus said this not to coin some annoying Christian cliché, but to show us what he used to cope with the sufferings that came with being human. Jesus doesn’t say, “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest,” because he thought it would make himself feel all warm and fuzzy. He said it because he meant it and followed it himself.

I also want to touch on guarding our hearts against attitudes that can damage our marriages. Our marriages and our husbands need us to keep Satan from using our hurt as a foothold to turn us into Negative Nancys. It’s really easy to get caught up in a downward spiral of negativity. We’re feeling bummed out about our husbands failures or even our own. So maybe we bring it up, but we just let it fester. Then before we know it, we’ve become Queen Bitchasaurus: our husbands can’t do anything right and we let them and the entire world know. We find ourselves picking fights and doing things just to be mean. Our actions cause our husbands to shut down so we escalate our attacks. Then, before we know it, it becomes a vicious cycle. God wants us to gripe at Him instead of our honey.

It’s funny, but when I complain to God about my husband, my negativity and meanness begin to fade. While we often don’t like the world to see us as less than perfect, that’s not how it is with God. He loves our ugly right along with our pretty. In fact, He wants to see our ugly. He wants to take our ugly and make it beautiful. That being said, God wants us to come to Him with everything, even the stuff that isn’t so pretty like complaints about our husbands.

I am, by no means, an expert on this. Too often I fail to run to God and let Him take care of my hurts. I fail to fill my heart with positive things about my husband and let the negative take over. But maybe these practices are a lot like running. When you first begin, a mile seems out of reach. But you keep at it and next thing you know, six miles is no big deal. Maybe if we keep at the practices of giving it all to God, letting Jesus heal our hurts, and filling our hearts with positive, it will become easier.