Protecting Our Hearts or Locking In Love?

Dear Reader:

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

We can all go back to our first broken hearts over the person we thought would be the ‘love of our life’ forever. This might have happened in elementary school, middle, high school, college, or even as a young working adult. No matter the age nor circumstance…it hurt…a lot.

So the next time we heard that bit of advice (read from Proverbs) we jumped on it. We think to ourselves that we should have guarded our hearts more closely and then we wouldn’t have been so devastated…so broken-hearted by the loss of our first love or next.

Unfortunately…life doesn’t work that way…most of us picked ourselves back up, many of us had several more broken hearts ahead of us….but now each time… didn’t we learn more about what type of person we didn’t want and what kind we did?

Soon tall, dark, and handsome became short, fat, and funny… and the love of our life. Proverbs 4:23 isn’t referring to an outside key but an inside one to guard our hearts. If we feel we are being “trashed” too much, could it be the trash is coming from our own hearts?

I love this metaphor I discovered in an article called “Three Ways to Guard Your Heart” by Kyle Idleman. The tale goes like this:

The Bible says everything you do flows from your heart.  That’s why our attempts to change our behavior don’t bring any lasting change.

Think of it this way: Once upon a time…

Imagine you’re taking a hike and you come upon this creek in the woods that’s heavily polluted. You see trash all along the banks and floating down the river. You decide, “I’m going to do something about this,” so you start cleaning up the trash as quickly as you can.

You spend a few hours and can see you made a difference. There is some trash left, so you decide to come back the next day to finish your work. The next morning you return and find there’s as much trash as when you started the day before. You put another few hours into cleaning. The next day you come back, and there’s just as much trash as when you first saw it. You clean to the point of exhaustion.

The next day you show up … and there’s just as much trash. You decide it’s time to walk upstream and see where the trash is coming from. You hike a couple miles and find, to your surprise, that this creek runs right through a garbage dump. You realize that you can continue to clean the trash downstream, and might make some temporary progress, but if you don’t address where the trash is coming from, you’ll continually be back in the same situation.

The Bible says that this is what the heart is for us. “Trash” might show up in our lives. We don’t understand where it came from. We decide to get rid of it, maybe work hard at it, but then we realize we’re back where we started. Why? Because the trash is flowing from our own hearts. That’s why the Bible says in Proverbs 4:23:

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

*(The author concludes by citing three ways we can protect/guard our hearts…and most of the advice comes from that great wise man, Solomon, in Proverbs)

*Through our EARS:

If you go through the book of Proverbs you’ll read again and again Solomon writing, “Listen, listen, listen.” Why the repetition? Because your ears are a pathway to your heart. What you hear flows into your heart, which flows out into your life.

*Through our EYES:

Again, we think we can watch this movie, look at this on the internet, read this book, because, well, “I’m just looking.” But what we look at flows in, fills our heart, and eventually flows out. The trash will make its way downstream. If we really want our behavior to change, we’ll defend what comes into our hearts through our eyes.

*Through our MIND:

Solomon’s challenge for us today in this new technology age is:

The challenge for us is that we’re constantly Googling, or flipping through the channels, or on social media, and we’re inundated with stuff that does not qualify as noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable or excellent. We need to be careful and intentional in not allowing too much that is negative, that is not pure, that does not reflect the kind of life we want to live and breed, into our minds.


So until tomorrow…Remind us Father that we are to guard our hearts…not suffocate them. Keep our (hearts from within) open to love…the kind of love that unlocks and surpasses all human understanding, the kind that is based on the deepest feelings from our heart to another… as a treasured gift from You.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The excessive rain showers have directly and indirectly caused problems in the garden.

Sadly my huge beautiful Confederate Rose is suffering from some kind of bacterial problem (from the roots…caused probably by excessive standing water) which has caused the stems to harden and die…leaving the big leaves brittle and frozen. It started at the tip top of the bush (it was probably over 12 feet tall at the time) and then started spreading down.

There was nothing to do but try to stop “the bleeding” by cutting off the mummified leaves already gone….taking half the bush with it. I am still fighting the good fight with insect spray and surgery….just hoping I can save enough of the bush to have a few blooms this year….just don’t know about the outcome yet.

When Michael came to cut the grass Monday I got him to help me pull up these heavy, fallen stems off the ground ( flattened from the weight and torrential rains) and secure them to a heavy metal stake….for both tall-leaf sunflower plants. Finally Michael can now mow under the plants  so things are (literally) looking up for them.

I think this little angel sums up my gratitude for all of you as we celebrated yesterday the eighth anniversary of Chapel of Hope Stories!

I appreciate your kind thoughts, words, encouragement, and support. I love you blog readers!

…And another celebration….we went a whole day without rain!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Protecting Our Hearts or Locking In Love?

  1. bcparkison says:

    Oh yes…garbage in garbage out… true.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Isn’t it funny how we humans always look outside for the blame for a troublesome situation we find ourselves in….when in reality we are just receiving what we put into our hearts…like you said, Beverly, “garbage in-garbage out.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ambikasur says:

    Hi Becky… The article on keeping guard of our hearts nailed me to the core… And a very happy anniversary to the blog..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Becky Dingle says:

    I love it when something I write coincides with another person’s similar experience…hope it could be of help. And thank you for your sweet congrats on the 8th anniversary of Chapel of Hope Stories. I still love how we met on-line via the blog and how it seems like the link still lifts us both up when we need it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.