Stuck Between Friendship and Matrimony

Image result for stuck between a rock and a hard place

Stuck Between Friendship and Matrimony 

So he is a friend. At least, he started out as a friend. But now it’s deeper than that. Or at least it feels that way. You really think he is the most amazing guy in the world, and you’re ready to say “I do”.

But there’s a slight problem: He hasn’t asked. You’re sure he enjoys you and you’re not like other girl friends of his. There’s something different about him and you, but nothing has been said. No pursuing has been initiated. Now what?

I know several young women in this situation. In one circumstance the couple have nothing standing in there way other than the guy simply hasn’t asked. In another situation the young man has made an attempt to “get to know” the young woman, but they are just “friends” because marriage isn’t really an option for her yet. How awkward is it to be stuck between friendship and marriage? Really awkward.

I just wanted to take the time to write a short post of encouragement to you if this speaks of your circumstance.

Firstly, you have no reason to feel ashamed of how you feel. Ignoring and denying your emotions won’t help; neither does feeling guilty about them. They are genuine emotions – accept that.

But with no commitment established you have no ties, no obligations and no entitlements to this man. He isn’t yours and you aren’t his. He is God’s child. You’re job is to allow God to guard your heart and to simply treat him as a friend and sister in Christ, just like you have been. You have no idea where this young man is at. Perhaps God has asked him to wait? Maybe his parents have asked him to wait? Maybe he is securing the means to get married? Your impatience will help no-one. You are expected to remain faithful in what God has set before you. And as long as He hasn’t asked you to pursue a mate, you can rest assured He is working in your behalf. If it’s any consolation, God moves far more quickly with patient surrendered children, than rash self-willed ones.

I’ve met several young women who have based their self-worth on how many young men have asked to start a relationship with them. For some women they have a lot to boost their ego. For others this is disastrous blow to their perceived worth. I want to encourage you that God has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11). He is a master at the art of orchestrating your life. You are worth the shedding of His only begotten son. That means you’re priceless.

If the guy of your dreams isn’t moving forward, that may be a good sign that you aren’t meant to be married yet. It has no bearing on your worth and it has no indication of your capability to be a wife.

Diligently set your heart before your Creator. He knows. He understands. He is able to keep your heart and He will guide you. Moving beyond friendship with a young man is a serious thing. It can either be beautiful because it’s in His time, or it can be the worse mistake you’ll ever make in your life. Trust the godly authorities He has placed in your life. Run to the One who knows you best.

Marriage is a gift, not a goal. You haven’t failed just because you’re in your mid twenties (or older) and you haven’t “achieved” marriage status. Has it ever occurred to you that your singleness is a gift? That He expects you to use your singleness to give Him glory and to serve Him and His kingdom with? Have you been faithful in your singleness?

Life is a shining adventure. There’s no better way to squelch your joy and miss opportunities, than to wait for life to begin at marriage. Obviously if He has set before you marriage as an open door, take it courageously and confidently. But if you’re stuck between friendship and matrimony, be encouraged that your part is to simply obey God and charitably treat this young man as a sister in Christ. If you really love him, you will not seek and pursue in impatience. You will not vaunt yourself and make yourself obviously available. You will not hold your breath with little longsuffering. You aren’t waiting on him – you’re waiting on Him. In fact, love would wish the best for who it loves, even if this means, in the end, your desires aren’t granted.

You’re not stuck. You’re just in an amazing journey. Embrace it! He will guide you.

I Love Him….I Love Him Not

Image result for Girls hand picking off petals

It’s happened to all of us.  At least once.  By the time we are young women, we’ve all had it happen:  He stands out in a crowd.  You enjoy almost everything about him.  His sudden presence gives you butterflies.  You desire to know his preferences, his dislikes, his opinion.  You didn’t plan it, but every time he’s there, you find yourself talking to him or being near him, and when that wasn’t an option, you were talking about him.

As Christians with high moral standards, it’s easy to wonder at ourselves after experiencing these feelings.  Where in the world did our common sense go?  Don’t we know better than this?  And we end up apologizing to God, making commitments or resolutions, reprimanding our lustful flesh, and failing the very next time we come in contact with the guy.  And so begins the bang-your-head-against-the-wall-routine.
True love doesn’t have to be void of these emotions…”

It’s inevitable to have these “moments” come up sometimes.  You look up and he’s smiling at you.  He walks into the room and you get butterflies.  You notice when he compliments you.  You like him and it’s just a plain fact.  Nothing in the world could change it.

 Love doesn’t deny the existence of these real feelings.  True love doesn’t have to be void of these emotions before it can be true love.  But we have to realize that emotions and feelings in-and-of -themselves are NOT love. They are feelings, and emotions. (Profound, I know!). And if we accept them as such and continue on in our life we can rest assured — we haven’t sinned and haven’t done anyone a disservice.

 If we take that emotion and dwell on it and invest ourselves into it, and allow it to dictate us, then we are obsessing in an emotion and allowing it to ferment into infatuation and that certainly is, in the very least, a disservice to ourselves. It’s also taking advantage of someone at the expense of our fleshly satisfaction. Doesn’t really sound like love. It can’t be. It’s the opposite of love, because love seeks not her own. Enjoying someone purely for our fulfillment is selfishness. Which is a sin.

Conclusion: If we like someone and have these feelings, it is not a sin.

What we do with these feelings is imperative.

If we truly love this man we will be so concerned for his best, his purity, and God’s will for him, it will trump our emotions.

If we “love him not”, we will unregrettably choose to revel in these emotions and satisfy our lusts at his expense.

The question of whether these emotions are okay or not really shouldn’t haunt us.  We should be more concerned of whether we “love him, or love him not”.

 “So, God, here I am. Here’s my heart. Here’s the emotions and feelings. Here’s my love. So baby and immature. Temptation shows me who I am. And I’m a selfish human being. But you in your love will not allow it to exceed your strength in me. I am open to the ministry of Jesus. Here I am, open and bare. Be my Love, be my all. You over anyone else. I’m renouncing me and my self, and my infatuation…even when it’s just a tiny root and bud. No, I won’t accept it. It’s wrong. But I am not condemned in the fact when I notice. I’m not even afraid to smile at the fact. But there I stop. I give it to you. I refuse to pamper the thrill it gives me. I lay it down to rest. You do what you will.”

Resting in His Time

timingI stepped into her new little home. It was small, but cozy. There were old family pictures on the wall and blankets folded up in a chest. She pointed out what once used to be her grandmother’s and that was now passed down for her own household. It was sweet. Here she was, newly married, pregnant, and getting ready to set out on an adventure of a lifetime. And in a small way, I envied her. I’ve always dreamed of doing some of those same things. Getting married, setting up your own little ‘home’, having babies, and starting off on the adventures of life along side your best friend. It was almost a melancholy feeling, even though I was really happy for my friend.

 Timing is something I’ve been pondering lately. It seems like God rarely ever does things how we expect Him to, if ever. Even things we feel like He’s told us about. His timing certainly isn’t ours and when the Bible says “His ways are past finding out” (Romans 11), He really meant it. And honestly, that’s probably a very good thing. God gives us grace for the ‘here and now’, and not our tomorrows. If you could peak ahead and glance at what your life would be like in 5 years…would you? I would be tempted to. I’m a naturally curious person. But I know that I’d regret it if I had. Here I would have seen some things, possibly even really hard things, and I would have forfeited my 5 years of His grace in preparing me for that future time. Now that might seem rather silly to some. Obviously, you CAN’T see into your future, whether you would choose to or not. But, I think some girls are in danger of doing this in their hearts and even their imaginations. They ‘dream up’ what their futures will be. They have expectations. And when these expectations aren’t met, they fall into despair. Sometimes we even hold expectations as to timing. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be almost 23 and still single. My mom was married rather young and so were some of my sisters. It was just kind of an ‘expected’. But, here I am regardless. And I’m thankful. God hasn’t failed me, because I’m still unmarried. And God would still not have failed me  even if I NEVER got married. Why? Because my life is to be “hid with Christ in God”. I belong to Him. I was created for His purpose above any other. He has a reason for His timing, even though we can’t see it for ourselves. And in a way, it really is thrilling. He has a beautiful purpose for my life…even right now at this moment… and it is a purpose for good. For His glory, for our sanctification, and for others’ service. He obviously doesn’t have a need for me to be married just yet, or else I would be, and that’s okay. He knows exactly what He is doing and I can trust Him for it. He cares. I’m not forgotten in the shuffle.
As a single young woman, sometimes there are the “ups and downs” of being single. At least, there is for me. As much as maybe we’d even like to suppress it, we can’t deny that as a woman, we were created to compliment a man. There is no way around it. It is a natural God given desire and calling. We were created to nurture. Whether that be children, our husbands, our families, brothers and sisters, our communities, our pets, a garden, or even plants! It’s there. And sometimes, in being single, it can be a frustrating desire to deal with. It would be easier just to “throw in the towel” so to speak and say “who needs men! I’m getting an apartment and a dog!” But true peace and real purpose for my life lies in surrender. Laying down all our desires, natural, God given, or otherwise, and placing ourselves in His will for His divine purpose. Just as I wouldn’t seek marriage to complete or fulfill my life, I also wouldn’t swing in the other direction and embrace singleness to prove my independence. Embracing or denying a desire doesn’t make it go away. It must be given over to God. He can deal with it. He can give us the grace and strength to be content and courageous women for Him right where He’s placed us.

If you are still single, you can count on it, there is a divine reason for it. I’d like to encourage you to stay faithful to Him. He’s doing something special. He’s preparing your heart. He’s writing your story. Marriage is only a step in the journey. It isn’t the journey itself. So even in the ups and downs of being single, the happy times, the hard times. The times when it feels so easy, when you feel content and ready to serve Him alone. When your heart is soaring. And then the times too, when hope feels lost and desire seems forgotten. When your heart feels the squeeze of a hope deferred. Can we still trust Him? Yes. Can we rest in His timing for us? Yes. Knowing that He works “all things together for good”. (Romans 8) Knowing that “all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1)

What to do With a Helpless Heart?

Image result for Infatuation

Feelings: I love him! I know I do. There’s times when I look up and he’s smiling at me I feel the world move. He is sweet, and kind…

Conscience: Whoa! Okay, you need to put on the brakes. Think of your purity. Take every thought captive, remember?

Feelings: Yes! But I can’t help it! I go to bed and I lay there and he comes to mind. I pray, and he comes to mind. I wake up, and he comes to mind. I sing, talk, watch movies, work….and he comes to mind.

Conscience: Okay, take a deep breath, you can get through this. Focus on other stuff, something worth doing. Run after Jesus, and someday the right man will come knocking at your heart’s door.

Feelings: But what do I do with myself? When we’re together I want to enjoy him. I enjoy his friendship. What about the times I get butterflies?

What to do when you find yourself attracted to someone? There is a constant war between the rational conscientious side of you, and the powerful emotional side. What if that someone isn’t just a nice guy you happened to feel a twinge of attraction for. What about the godly young man you’d actually consider marrying?

I just wanted to encourage you, that you can remain pure, while still having those feelings and appreciating the godly young man. Someday God will equip this young man with a helpmeet. In His timing. And if God hasn’t opened that door for you, it means this young man doesn’t need you. Not now, not yet, and perhaps never. Be content to be this young man’s friend! That’s exactly all you should be, and all He has thus far allowed you to be. We are doing our brothers in Christ a disservice when we try to move forward in a deeper relationship. Love doesn’t vaunt herself, doesn’t seek her own.

Can we enjoy this person’s company? Certainly! It’s actually inevitable. When you are attracted to someone, everything about them is enjoyable. And it’s okay. You can enjoy them in purity. But any closeness, learning of their heart, fellowship, even friendship must be directed by Jesus. We don’t need to initiate anything. If our future includes this man, Jesus wills see to it. Love doesn’t give to get. So next time we interact, we should be alert to our motives. Do we tell them we respect them to encourage or to spark a fire? What is behind the smile we give them?

But what about those times when we innocently look up and find him smiling at us? What about those moments you feel “butterflies”? The moments when you feel you could wrap your heart up in a box and give it away…what then?

To react with guilt is only self inflicted abuse. But then to swing to the other extreme and revel in it and look for, or initiate, that experience again is taking matters into our own hands and reacting selfishly. To decide to ignore their existence or your emotion’s existence is foolish and impractical, but then to focus on that person to the point that our duties and friendships are neglected or halfheartedly invested in, is also wrong.

There is a balance! There is a way to love this person, even with all the emotions, the right way. We humbly accept the feelings and give it to Jesus, by letting Him know, and letting Him dictate. To deny ourselves the reveling in the feelings is to think highly of him, and a lesson in love. We respect him too much to give in to our emotions. Do we honestly want to gain attraction by mere flirtatious acts? Of course not! We want him to fall in love with us for who we are, not what we give.

He isn’t ours. Even if somehow Jesus promised him to us, he still isn’t ours. We know this, but what do our actions show? We might not think we are being possessive, but we should act with this young man, how we’d hope other girls would treat him. Why? He doesn’t belong to them either! If we stirred up desires in a man that were more than brotherly, we have caused him to lust! It doesn’t matter if he will someday be your man. Today isn’t someday – he isn’t yours anymore than the other girls in his life.

The emotions will be there. Don’t ignore or embrace. Acknowledge them but give them to Someone who can deal with them in righteousness. It does work. It can be done. And if that other person is also trying to treat you with all purity it becomes a mutual respect and love that goes beyond feelings and emotions.

This is something I recently felt encouraged in, and I hope I was able to convey it to you clearly so your heart might also be blessed.

A Future Husband List

While growing up, have you ever known girls who made their “future husband lists”?  I knew a few.  The first time I considered doing one was after I read Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin’s list in their book “So Much More”.  (Highly recommend that book!)

Since then I’ve also talked to young women who think having a “list” is a silly foolish thing to do.  I recently had a discussion about the pros and cons to having a list and why I do.  I thought I would share with you some of these thoughts.

A Future Husband List

Good Idea or No?

Having requirements and hopes has been such a help to me.  In the past, if I wondered about a certain young man I was able to keep myself level headed because I could compare him to my honest hopes and expectations.  It’s amazing what can be “justified” when we feel like we are interested in someone!  More recently it has helped me to realize what type of woman I need to be if I expect such a husband.  Plus it has given me specific things to pray for my man. My “list” isn’t a shopping list with requirements, but more of a prayer for my future man.

It’s a personal thing to share, but I think I would like to share that prayer with you.  To encourage you and to maybe inspire you to do the same!

My Prayer for My Man

Image result for man praying

  • I pray that You Jesus will save him and You assure him of his salvation.

  • That You create a real and evident mature relationship with You in him.

  • That You would make it his certain conviction that the KJV is the English translation of the Word of God and that You would establish correct doctrinal beliefs in his heart.

  • That without a shadow of a doubt, You would be first in his heart, then family, the the church, then country.

  • That You create him to be a man I can respect naturally.

  • That You give him Your love for children and make him instinctively a protective man who considers children, not offspring or burdens, but human lives to mold, and blessings with a desire to raise as many or as few as You tell us and to be open minded about adopting and to commit our childrens training to You.

  • That You would give him a burning desire to be financially faithful and that You would make him a better steward with money than I am. But that You’d give him a sensitive and generous heart.

  • Jesus, I pray that You’d instill my man with a vision. Something he can even pass down to his children. Something that You can (and please will) equip me to encourage and help him attain. Something that furthers Your kingdom in some way. Something greater than he alone can achieve, but needs You (and me 🙂 ) to strengthen him in. Something I can cheerfully follow knowing it is Your will.

  • Please give him an irreproachable character. Noticeable fruit. Make him a man in my father’s eyes.

  • Please establish a strong Christian worldview, making him at least one step ahead of me in politics and education.

  • Please mold him into a man that can easily meld into my family and gain their hearts.

  • Please give him an enthusiasm and deep appreciation for godly music. And an enjoyment of singing.

  • Please establish habitual humility. And a frankness, and reality in his personality. Please establish Your confidence in Him, Holy Spirit. And an appreciation and ability to distinguish real beauty and modesty.

  • Jesus I ask that You create a strong sense of manliness in him. Confidence. Leadership. That anyone who sees him would know without a doubt – there’s a man. Please convict him now of any childish or effeminate ways.

  • And Father, please, with all my heart I desire and pray that You give him a passionate desire to be healthy for You and his family’s sake. That he would be well balanced in this issue and inspire me to be also. That he would appreciate that attribute about me.

  • I pray that You would give him a sweet gentleman’s heart and that a chivalrous nature would be a desire, ever before him, to attain.

  • I pray, and with full assurance know, You will make him into a Spiritual leader who desires to pray with me, inspire me and lead me forward. A man who habitually reads good authors and enjoys a healthy spiritual diet and meditates on Phil. 4:8 “food”. Someone who holds this standard as important…even imperative.

  • A man who can laugh and cry. A man who desires to express his emotions without embarrassment.

  • A good work ethic.

  • Someone unafraid to spend quality one on one time with me and enjoys it, craves it and makes the effort to do so.

  • Please give him a hospitable heart.

  • I give You the choice whether to establish a steady, command or visionary dominance in his character. You know best. But Father, would you please allow him to have some adventurous spirit?

  • Also, I ask that You would keep him from becoming obsessed with sports. And that You would give Him a love for some of the same passions I have. And an acceptance of Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday celebrating.

  • And a few hopes – that he would dance with me. Not afraid of showing affection towards me, even publicly, that he would crave wooing my heart. That he would enjoy health. He would be a Psalm 112 man. A perfect man (Ps.37). And a non-conformist Caleb.

  • That You would teach me to be a woman worthy of such a man, and show me ways to start honoring him right now.   

I would just like to encourage you that there are godly men out there. It can be discouraging to feel like the godly male species is extinct.  But I know several godly good young men.  And what is better — if we have a God who has destined us to be helpmeets, He must have a godly man handpicked for you.

This worry seems to be a widespread discouragement to Christian girls.  But we have to remember how big our God is.  If He is sufficient in creating a universe, He definitely is able to create and keep a godly man for you.  Our duty is to be faithful in what He has called us to.  With our focus and attention on Him and His kingdom, our singlhood years will be profitable and useful, and certainly not a bore.

The world sees singlhood as “standby”.  We are unmarried because we are abnormally sheltered or prudish, self righteous girls with naive goals.   The church wonders at us and feels sympathetic to our plight.  “Don’t worry, Prince Charming is right around the corner.”

Are we on standby?  Is singlehood a plight?  Or a stage to survive?  Certainly not!  We are kept as treasures.  We do wait for one man, and one man only.  But singlehood is a beautiful productive season of womanhood.  We are not half-persons.  We are not broken.  We are not waiting for life to begin.  Paul even called this time a “better” than married life.  (1 Cor. 7).  It’s to be embraced.  Prince Charming might not be around the corner.  Who knows what God has in store for your life.  Even those of us who are certain we are called to be wives someday, have no idea when “someday” is.  What if He has work for you to do as a single until you are 35?  Should this cause anxiety?  Not at all.  He purposes and plans.  We faithfully obey.

We are to do our man good all our days. (Proverbs 31:12).  It’s possible.  We are not to pine for him, worry over his existence, or hunt him down.  Our duty is to do him good.  Praying for him would be a good start.

The Sword of His Will

Sword

“Yet more and more this truth doth shine

From failure and from loss,

The will that runs transverse to Thine

Doth thereby make its cross:

Thine upright will

Cuts straight and still

Through pride and dream and dross.”

W.M.L. Jay

This is something I’d like to call “The Sword of His Will”. Which is, to present yourself before the Lord in full surrender and allow Him to tear away from your heart whatever you hold within you that crosses with Himself. It is a painful undertaking, but a worth while one! It bleeds and stings like nothing else, but the result is a sweet savor. It is to be committed all the way. To put place yourself completely in His care. To trust Him with everything. And nothing is more sweet, more precious, or dear to Him. Nothing can compare to the bonding it forms between me and my Saviour. And nothing is worth holding onto that separates that closeness. I hope this is a blessing, dear reader, and that you wouldn’t hesitate to open your heart completely to the one who first opened His heart to you. 

I lay myself down on the cold stone

I asked Him to place me here.

But as a once silent prayer becomes my reality,

All I can sense is my own gripping fear.

My heart within me pounding

Like a heavy drum, it beats;

With every part of me shaking in terror,

My Great Physician meets.

“My child, it is time to cut through this dross

So to replace it with the best;

Someday you will yet come to understand the reason,

But for now, be still and rest.”

He knows just where to place the knife,

Cutting deep, the right incision He makes.

Clear through my dearest desires and dreams,

My heart, He deliberately breaks.

The pain within me, overwhelming

How it aches and stings and bleeds!

But still one thought returning,

“Lovest Thou me, more than these?”

How the sorrows of loss compassed me!

My eyes, heavy laden with tears;

Weary and wounded, I cry out to Him-

Only silence; Yet, I could sense His presence near.

Still He continued to tear me

All earthly pleasures severed and crushed;

The hopes once hidden away in my heart,

Like blood from my veins, now rushed.

Such silence disquieted my soul

But His touch was still gentle and sweet.

For no one else knows me like He does,

All my deepest needs, He alone can entreat.

His smile towards me was reassuring

Though His face with anguish seemed worn.

I felt secure in His strong grasp; But still wondered,

Why, with such heaviness of tears, He did mourn?

For behold, He too was standing there bleeding!

All my pain and grief to bear;

And it was then, I knew that He loved me

What great compassion! My death to share!

Lord Jesus, You gave all Your life blood,

“The Man of Sorrows”, became for me;

And so through Your grace and by Thy power,

I’ll lie here and bleed for Thee.

Still, He won’t leave His helpless victim,

Lying shattered and lifeless and wasted to be;

But He comes in quite different apparel

Jehovah-Rapha- “I am the LORD that healeth thee.”

Such peace floods my soul!

He’s a healing balm to my open wounds;

What joy overflows me; He mends the broken heart again!

Whatever the losses I feared, my thanksgiving now consumes.

It is good that He did afflict me

For He only is able to fully use;

Those things which are willing to be sacrificed,

And a heart that is broken and bruised.

     -Lynea Bickish   January 2014-

Keeping our Hearts with Diligence, Part Two

This is the continuation from my previous post “Keeping our Hearts with Diligence (Part I)”.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  (Proverbs 4:23)

In my previous post on keeping our hearts with diligence, I stopped with the subject of our eyes. Who we might be looking at. What we are looking for. Where we are setting our affections.

Colossians 3:2-3 says- “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” 

The problem is most of us haven’t even realized who we truly belong to. The reason our affections aren’t on things above, but are rather, on this earth, is because our lives are not hid with Christ in God. But they are supposed to be. In fact, Romans 12:1-2 tells us that this is only our “reasonable service”. Paul couldn’t even go beyond what was “reasonable”, because the Christians wouldn’t even do that. And while the desires of our hearts can be extremely hard to give up, I know, it is a crucial part of our walk with the Lord. We do not belong to ourselves. It is not our life alone, to choose what we want to do with it or who we will spend it with. We answer to the Lord.

“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” (v.26)

Here I would like to talk about our path. “Let our ways be established”. Where are we going? What is our goal? What are we establishing?

I heard it said recently, that “You are either devising your own way or God is ordering your steps.” When it comes to our heart’s path, there isn’t much middle ground. Either you are conniving to get what you want or you are waiting on what the Lord wants to give you. And if you would but search your heart a little while, you’d know exactly which one you were. The truth is, our actions speak louder than our words. A lot of young girls will say that they are waiting on the Lord, but their actions do not prove it to be true. They seem almost desperate to attach themselves to someone. This shouldn’t be. Why? Because our contentment is found in the Lord. He is the One satisfying our heart’s desire. He fills all our emotional needs. He is love. He is our purpose. He is our goal. Sometimes it is needful to ask ourselves a few questions.

Just to see where our hearts honestly are.

Am I content exactly where God has placed me?

Is there anything (or anyone) that seems to always come before my desire for Christ?

Am I patient and happy to wait for His perfect timing, even if it’s much longer than I would have expected?

Is there just as much peace in letting go of my desires as in seeing them fulfilled?

Proverbs 28:26 says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

“Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.” (Proverbs 23:19)

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying before, “follow your heart”. What a dangerous thing to do! Seeing as our hearts are deceitfully wicked above all things. They are not supposed to be followed, or heeded in the least. No, instead, we are actually commanded to guide our hearts. So, while our hearts will often at times feel completely unruly and impossible to deal with, they aren’t. How are we to guide our hearts? By trusting them to Jesus.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

By trusting our hearts to the Lord, we allow Him to lead them. This often requires continual surrender. But with surrender, comes a blessed peace. The Lord Jesus wants to establish our ways. He wants to lead our hearts. His paths are always the loveliest to follow. He is a good Heavenly Father. He delights to give His children good things. We can trust Him. And no path can be deemed lonely when He is the One traveling it with you.

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Psalms 40:2)

In Isaiah 55: 8 and 9, we see where the Lord’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways, not our ways. They are infinitely higher and so much wiser. Sometimes, it would seem, the Lord has to rescue me from myself. Thinking that I know what is best for me, when in reality, I don’t. Of course, we all think that if we really got what our hearts longed and wished for it would all turn out right in the end. But just as a wise mother lovingly holds back her child from danger, so Christ holds us back from what we don’t understand. We will never see as He sees. And we can never love ourselves as much as He truly loves us. There is just as much love in His “yes” as in His “no”.

I remember one time in my life, a couple of years ago, when I wondered about a certain young man in my life. I found myself attracted to him and wondered if the feeling was mutual. Considering whether he might be the Lord’s will for me or not, I prayed about it. And the Lord gave me John 21:21-22.

“Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”

Basically, it is none of your business.  J

What is my path? To follow after Jesus. And the rest is His responsibility. It doesn’t matter who your future husband may or may not be, or where he even is, that is for the Lord to direct. We are to be waiting and keeping our hearts with all purity, with all diligence. The Lord has to be our goal. Not marriage. Not a relationship. Not anything else. Just Him.

“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” (v. 27)

And then, we have the command to “turn not” and to “remove thy foot from evil.” Again, it isn’t “evil” to like someone. It isn’t “evil” to want to get married. But it is evil to be thinking or dwelling on anything that doesn’t fit into the verse of Philippians 4:8.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

In removing our foot from evil, we need to be establishing our thoughts.

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Our thoughts are very important to the Lord. It is easy to excuse them as not really being “that big of a deal”, especially since no one else can actually see them and aren’t necessarily effected by them. But this isn’t actually true. For one thing, Jesus sees all our thoughts. He is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) And if for no other reason, we should care that our thoughts are pure because of Him. Proverbs 23:7 tells us “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” What we think about, says a lot about us. Where our minds continually dwell, says a lot about where our hearts are. And while others may not see your thoughts per se, our thoughts affect our actions, which then affect those around us. It is important where our minds wonder. You are not alone in your little world of imagination. Girls tend to daydream to an unhealthy level. It almost seems to be built into our nature somehow. Like the little girl who always wants to play house. We were made to be homemakers and “nesting” comes, oh, too easily. We think about what our future might look like. Girls are also very relational. And it is not uncommon for girls to often think about their future husbands (or who that might be) and even their future children before ever entering that time of their life. And while it might not necessarily be wicked, it can be dangerous. It can be taken to an unhealthy level and reality can be lost. Our “fantasy”, or even hope of what our futures might be, can become more enjoyable to live than our actual life.

Proverbs 24:9 says, “The thought of foolishness is sin:”

This verse puts an immediate stop to all day dreaming, because that’s exactly what it is. Foolishness. According to Philippians 4:8, it isn’t whatsoever things are true. It isn’t whatsoever things are honest. It is vanity.

If you’ve ever “liked” someone in particular, you already know just how easy it is to think about that person. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, he can be in the back of your thoughts. And while thinking about that person isn’t necessarily a sin itself, and honestly just comes naturally, what we are thinking could be. Are you already mentally planning as if you’d spend your future with him? This isn’t right. This isn’t whatsoever things are just. Are your thoughts always drifting to the romantic side of things? This isn’t whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report. There are other thoughts along this subject which are more subtle, but equally just as dangerous if not more so. These are the thoughts about this “special someone” that actually are true. Things said or events that actually happened. Such as, maybe the last time your families spent the day together or when you last saw him at church; whatever it might be. Our minds have a way of “replaying” everything. Like, how he looked at you, or even if he looked at you. What was said; how we laughed together. Maybe the things you did. All these “little things” become precious and hidden away in our hearts when we like someone. But my question is: Is it virtuous? Is it praiseworthy? Philippians 4:8 says “…if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” And it is all such thoughts that we must surrender to the Lord. They are not healthy for us to hold so close to our hearts, or to replay in our minds.

II Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ:”

Our thoughts must be brought captive to the obedience of Christ. When our minds wonder foolishly or even romantically, we must stop and submit them to the Lord. It hast to be a conscious effort. It is a choice we make. “Casting down imaginations”.  We must cast them down at Jesus’ feet. And when we do, we’ll find that He is always there faithfully waiting to take our thoughts and imaginations. That He has already promised the victory. It is ours to claim at the very moment our hearts looks up towards Him. Ephesians 4:23 says, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;” Our minds need to be renewed. And it is by taking them to Jesus that He then forgives and cleanses and renews them again.

“And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4)

“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalms 10:4)

Sadly, what could be said of the “wicked” here, could also be said of most Christians. God is not in all his thoughts. And what a difference it would make if He was!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24)

In order for the Lord to even be able to help us keep our hearts with diligence, they must first be given to Him. He must have our heart. Our will must be put into neutral. Our hearts cannot be set on anything that isn’t of the Lord. Even with the things that just aren’t His timing yet. We cannot have a froward heart. To stubbornly insist on our own way is heartache.

“He that hath a froward heart findeth no good:” (Proverbs 17:20)

“They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.” (Proverbs 11:20)

In Luke 12, we are encouraged to “take no thought for your life”. I think this is the biggest secret to keeping our hearts with all diligence. Letting God be our everything. When we have let go of our life, our plans, our dreams, our heart’s desires, our future hopes, and our deepest longings; when instead, all else becomes as complete loss compared to Him; when He becomes that one desire of our hearts.

“I’ve been a great deal happier since I have given up thinking about what is easy and pleasant, and being discontented because I couldn’t have my own will. Our life is determined for us; and it makes the mind very free when we give up wishing, and only think of bearing what is laid upon us, and doing what is given us to do.” George Eliot