This post has been a long time coming and I think I have avoided it because it is something that I still struggle with at times but most importantly because it requires some vulnerability on my part.
For the longest time I thought that I was doing things the right way and abiding by Proverbs 4:23
"Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it". (NIV)
Another verse that springs to mind is:
"Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires"
Songs of Solomon 8:4 (NIV)
With this in mind, I would tenaciously hold unto the veins of my heart and be deliberately measured in what I would discuss or share with friends of the opposite sex. After all, everyone does not deserve to know you, right? I'm only doing what the Bible says I should do right? Well that was the issue, everything was beginning with me, myself and I. I was guarding my heart alright, but in the process I was excluding God out of it too. In all honestly I had just been building up walls.
There is a marked difference between the two which I will go on to explain. When you 'build up walls' around your heart you are blocking anyone and everyone. To build requires effort and time. In my experience you tend to overthink every little action and believe that every guy is out to get you-and not in a good way. Granted, past experiences could make one more hesitant hence the desire to build walls. In the long run however it seldom pays off.
God made me realise that I had not actually handed over matters of the heart to Him and I was watching over my heart in my own selfish way. Ever since that realisation, I've made a concerted effort to give my whole heart to Him and trust that He knows what He is doing; He's not going to give it to anyone undeserving of my love.
A quick google definition of the word guard is:
Watch over in order to protect or control
Protect against damage or harm
Simply put, you oversee, with God's help, your heart. You do not need to be placing barriers and being difficult to every guy that comes your way in the name of 'guarding your heart'.
You do not need to be reciting negative rhetorics such as 'men are trash'.
You do not need to see love through the lens of negativity
You do not need to be a closed book padlocked with the spirit of fear that every guy is going to hurt you.
It all boils down to trust; do we trust that God has our best interests at hearts and will not give it to the wrong person or do we feel that 'we've got this' and adopt our own vetting process?
I'm not saying that you should now be an open book for every Tom, Dick and Harry to browse through or that you should divulge everything to everyone. I am simply stating that don't make it harder than necessary for others to get to know you. 'Men like a challenge' they say. Yes, I guess so but I don't for a minute believe that men sign up for a maze challenge in the process of getting to know you. In the beginning it can be exciting but eventually it gets tiring.
Believe the best of others but don't be naive and stop being so calculated in everything you do. I can't speak for anyone else but I have felt so much better and relaxed since I stopped building up walls. It's not an overnight process and it can take time but as long as you are trying that is all that matters!