How Much Should You Guard Your Heart After You've Been Hurt?

If you’re a Christian single, no doubt you’ve been told to guard your heart when dating. This goes double when you’ve been hurt by love in the past. Yet, there are several ways that being guarded is actually hurting you in the present. It may seem ironic, but when you’re single (again), too much guarding of the heart can actually keep you from something truly great.

Being too guarded builds walls hard to cross, prevents us from falling in love and could lead to regret from not allowing ourselves to fall for the person right in front of us. At the same time, being a little cautious seems necessary in today’s modern dating culture, where trust is taking the backseat. If you’ve been hurt before, it’s only natural to be a little wary of jumping back in to openness.

So what does God mean when He says to guard and protect our hearts? In the end, it’s about knowing when to protect ourselves, and when we need to bring down our walls in order to see the blessings right in front of us.

Can You Guard Your Heart Too Carefully?

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” —Proverbs 4:23

Relationships should be a pure, joyous and noble pursuit. Yet, we know that pain is inevitable in one way or another in our lifetime. So, we tell ourselves guard your heart. This could entail the act of praying, choosing your words wisely, or refraining from being physical in the beginning, and it essentially means that you are protecting yourself from a deeper pain if the relationship doesn’t work out. It’s okay to do this.

Yet, to some degree, building walls blocks us from falling in love. We’ve kept the pain out, but those same walls keep love out too. Because the more we guard when single again, the more we block emotion for another human being. As a result, we almost become emotionless when it comes to a relationship; we’ll wonder, why can’t I feel anything? Why can’t I fall as quickly as him? Why am I so slow?

Time To Let Go

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.” —Isaiah 43:18

It’s good to ask yourself these questions, because the hard truth may be that you simply need to let go.

While it’s OK to be cautious when you’re single again, and when a relationship is just beginning, the comes a time when you need to let go of the guard around your heart. You need to let go of the fear of being hurt. You need to let go of the pain from the past, in order to fully – and excitedly – pursue your future.

God surely does have a future for us all, and it is good and pleasing (Romans 12:2) for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Answering this call and receiving this future requires us to let our guard down and be vulnerable. We don’t want to live with a regret of not fully pursuing someone because we guarded ourselves to the point of not allowing ourselves to fall in love.

Tear Down The Walls Around Your Heart

If you’re single again and still holding onto the idea of guarding your heart totally, ask yourself this: what did these walls ever accomplish? We all build them with the intent of not getting hurt, but are we actually missing out on life because of the walls we put up around our hearts?

In the end, we do need to tear down our walls in order to see what lies in front of us. It could be the greatest blessing of our lives, and yet, we’re veiling them with fear from getting hurt. Allow the walls to fall into the wasteland; they have no room in the future. Fill your life with the faithfulness of God, the courage to love and the boldness to step into it. God is doing something even greater for you, and it doesn’t revolve around your past.

We tell ourselves ‘guard your heart’ because we are scared of getting hurt, and we think that we must protect ourselves alone. But our walls are often more delicate than strong; they are fragile because we build them with fragile hearts. However, if we were to allow God to be the only mighty fortress in our lives, I think we wouldn’t shy away from the happenstances of life. Instead, we would trust in our God, our rock and mighty fortress, to see us through it – heartache included. We can let Him guard our hearts, and thus open a window in walls that can let love in.

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