"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you
do flows from it."
Seventeen years ago, I was diagnosed with a condition called mitral valve prolapse. The day of my diagnosis still haunts me today because it was a day of great fear and uncertainty. On that day, as I left work abruptly because I was having what I believed to be chest pains. The pain invaded my neck and my left arm and it also wrapped a sheet of anxiety around me. I couldn’t breathe – I couldn’t think. Although I am a Believer in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I also wondered during that time if my “time was up.” As a divorced mother with two daughters, I began to think about their welfare – I began to cry at the anticipation of their sadness if I didn’t survive. I couldn’t bear my girls growing up without me. As I headed to my parents’ home to pick up my mother, who insisted on accompanying me to my first Cardiologist appointment, I cried a river of tears.
Yes I trusted God. Yes, my home was in heaven….but….my heart – my heart was in pain and the pain consumed me – it had already given me an unfavorable diagnosis in my mind.
After being subjected to many tests, my Cardiologist came in and reassured me that what I experienced were symptoms of a minor ailment. Minor? At the time it didn’t seem minor to me – but all of a sudden at the delivery of his diagnosis I was relieved – my heart stopped racing and my fears were calmed. He began to explain that my “condition” is a common condition in which my two mitral valve flaps do not close properly. He explained the symptoms are worse than the condition. He gave me literature, assurance, and a prescription and sent me on my way.
I began to research my condition and learn more about my heart. This heart issue, although minor, shook me. I became overly protective of my heart. I ate differently. I processed stress differently and I exercised differently. I wanted to minimize the symptoms and guard my heart from any physical pain like I experienced before. My newly diagnosed condition prompted me to be protective of my material (physical) heart. As I began reviewing the literature I collected, it suddenly realized how protective I had become of my physical heart.
It was then I realized I should apply that same type of protectiveness to my immaterial heart which represents my spirit, mind and emotions.
Proverbs 4:23 advises us to guard our hearts – it reads: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. As Believers, we should be intentional about guarding our heart. We should be careful not to allow fragments of sinful behavior, whether it is by action, speech or thought corrupt or invade our heart. When we allow this to happen, the end result yields a weak vessel that will overtime fall out of fellowship with God. As we become weaker, we no longer have a desire for the things that bring glory and honor to God. We become conformed to a world whose single agenda is to destroy us and move us further from the ways of God. We began to carry a burden that God did not intend for us to bear. We become dismantled by the heaviness of our wrong choices which include not waiting on God.
We suffer needlessly because we remove the covering from our hearts prematurely opening the door for a continuous stream of brokenness to flow through. In spite of our sinful nature, God did not intend for His children to live a life filled with brokenness. When your heart has been broken, battered or bruised, seek healing and restoration in God. His formula to nurse your heart back to a proper beat includes compassion, forgiveness and love.
He is faithful – His grace is sufficient and His mercy is endless! He is the One that can comfort the hurt in a heart after it has lost a loved one. He is the One that can sooth the overwhelming pain in a heart that has been broken. He is the one that draws close when a heart is lonely and He is the one that can save a heart that has been held captive in a sinful lifestyle. When we diligently guard out hearts, we place ourselves in a position of yielding to His will not ours which enables us to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
Heartaches cause us to withdraw and reside in a place of defeat. We tend to curl up and lie down on a pallet of sorrow that is so heavy we do not have the strength to rise from it. Heartaches shatter us and fill our lives with broken pieces.
Psalm 34:18 tells us "The Lord is near to the broken hearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit."
When your heart is broken entrust your heart ache to the Master – He will draw near and He will restore, repair and replenish you so trust Him with the matters of your heart.
Terrie Thomas, A NEW ME Blog Contributor
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