When we start to have feelings for a special person, it is easy to get excited and lose control. But as long as our love is not clearly returned, it is important to protect our heart.
All the Christian singles have heard this verse: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4.23 NIV) This verse is used to teach the children of God not to jump into a love story too quickly. However, if we read the context of this verse, we understand that it is more talking about protecting our hearts against bad influences, to remain just and right before God. If our heart remains pure, our actions will be pure, and that is why we must keep our hearts.
But the advice to retain the impulses of our heart is not bad. In fact, this is repeated several times in the book Song of Songs. “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” (S.S. 8.4 NIV) In this book, a man and a woman are madly in love, but they are often separated by several obstacles. These trials are very difficult for their hearts because the couple wants only to be reunited. These times of separation would not be so painful if the partners were not so in love. This is why the young woman encourages her friends not to “awaken love”, not to let their heart get carried away before the circumstances are favorable.
This advice still applies today, for example, when a girl meets a young man who has several of the criteria on her list! She dreamed of a man who was in love with Christ, a gentleman and financially stable; and that is exactly what he is. They haven’t spent much time talking to each other, but she already begins to imagine what life would be like at his side. In her morning “Alpha-bits” cereals, the letters form his name… it’s a sign for sure! By letting her thoughts and her heart run like this, by “awakening love before it so desires”, she exposes herself to great wounds.
This is why it is important to protect our heart when we meet an interesting person. We avoid disappointments and a great loss of time when the feelings are not shared. Here are some ways you can protect your heart:
- Talk with God
When thoughts run into our head, it is often because they feed on themselves. The more we think about something, the more the thoughts grow. Often, our thoughts go way too far! So we have to put on the brakes and the best way to do that is to talk about them with God. Instead of speaking to yourselves, talk to God. “I have met this young man today, what do you think, Lord?” Our Heavenly Father, who knows all things, might give you ideas to approach that person, or might just remind you to keep your heart.
If your thoughts are already intoxicated by love, if you can no longer hear the voice of God, find yourself a good spiritual mentor (a pastor or a mature Christian) and ask them to pray for you. Then ask them to follow you spiritually; choose to give them updates on how you are staying on course. In short, do not isolate yourself. Do whatever you can to keep God sitting on the throne of your heart.
- Take steps
Do not stay in your imagination, take steps towards that person. Invite them to activities you do with your friends or invite them for a coffee to get to know them more. What happens in our thoughts is often far from reality. The best way to take your head out of the clouds is to spend time face to face with that special someone.
You can also involve a common friend at the beginning. This person will be able to help you keep a cool head, to see defects that you wouldn’t have considered and perhaps to propose ideas of activities.
- Stay open
It is not because a person has caught our eye that they are necessarily compatible with us. It is therefore wise to remain open to other potential matches. The idea of soul-mate is a myth, God gives you multiple good choices in His children! So do not close yourself to others just because one person stood out (until you are both in love, of course!).
Stay positive as you wait. Remember yourself that even if this story does not develop, you will have learned all sorts of lessons. You may have learned more about your own tastes, you will have learned to approach people, you will have allowed yourself to dream; all positive lessons that will make you grow.