RECENTLY, I’ve been pondering the words of C.S. Lewis: ‘Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable. To love is to be vulnerable.” 

Every few weeks I meet with a mentor who walks ministry life with me. We talk through all sorts of things, and this time is one of the few safe places that I feel I can truly crack open my heart. As I discuss various things happening, she always asks: “Karen, how is your heart in this?” It’s an interesting question that usually causes me to have to pause, think and contemplate my answer. 

The truth is, as we journey through this life we engage with all sorts of people and circumstances. This can leave our hearts exposed to love, joy, freedom, hurt, discouragement, bitterness and even brokenness. To name but a few. All of our life stories are made up of laughter, joy, trials, tears, lessons learnt and lessons unlearnt. 

The author of Proverbs penned the words: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (4:23). In other words, what is on the inside of us, deep inside, will always surface. Every single time. Let me ask you: How is your heart today? Are you happy? Discouraged? Tired? Wounded? Let’s always remember to love is to be vulnerable. Here are some Thoughts I recently noted and prayed through about how we guard our hearts.

God, guard our hearts.

May those of us who know what it is to be oppressed be careful not to become the oppressor.

May those of us who know what it is to be rejected, be careful to always include.

May those of us who know what it is to be undermined be careful to lift others up. 

May those of us who know what it is to be broken-hearted be careful not to break or crush the heart of others.

May those of us who have been shown grace and mercy be careful to show grace and mercy. 

May those of us who know what it is to live with less be careful to give to others when we have more.

May those of us who have experienced the pain of conflict be careful not to create conflict.

God, guard our hearts.