Guarding you heart is critical to what you let rule and enter the place that was only intended for God—We are instructed to guard it well. The down side is for most of us is that we have actually done a good job guarding our hearts but for all the wrong reasons.

“Self protection is the self-centered commitment to act without courage, compassion, boldness and tenderness for the sake of the other. It is an intentional, though usually unconscious, disposition that offers the other everything or anything but the heart.  Self-protection can be dressed either in co-dependent maneuvering that lacks self-identity, freedom of choice and strength or in counter-dependant distancing that alienate through self assertion, demanding control and intimidation. In either case, in extreme or even in subtle form, there is a failure to offer both a tender and a strong heart. The result will be an absence of bold love.” Dan Allender Bold Love pg. 58

It may look as different as the fingerprints we leave on the cookie jar, but we all have our ways of trying to protect ourselves. To get what we want or to avoid that which we fear or despise.  We have learned the pattern well and it almost comes as second nature to us. Friends might even say that— “awwwh that’s just the way he/she is”

Some might go about it in nicer ways—others more direct or aggressive or even violent ways—but it really is the same deal—get what I want—avoid the pain I don’t—survive—don’t risk my heart in vulnerable , life giving,  love.

When we relate to people from a protected heart our relationships seem to lack a certain something. There may be nice words, even good deeds—but there is absence of heart and presence of a person.  People go away empty.

When we lead from a self protected heart—people at best aren’t sure if we are really with them—at worst they can feel manipulated and used.

One of the most chilling aspects for those of us in positions of influence is that we can learn ways to relate and minister that have all the right ingredients except our heart. We have learned to prop up an image that looks good but is distant and disconnected from our hearts.

Gods intent is always to get to the heart—reveal it and make it known—so that it can be redeemed and restored. God is always about disturbing the self protected heart—not in meanness—but rather to help us be in a place where we can receive healing and move toward being the people he created us to be. At the heart of counseling is to help us better understand the ways in which we seek to protect ourselves and the risky process of learning to entrust those ways to God’s sovereign protection and to live out of His spirit-led new man. It is fundamentally a movement from self protector to risk taking lover.

Think through 3 ways you try to protect your heart.

What might be new directions for you to take to live out of your new heart in this area?

Brian Boecker, LPC