on March 16, 2009 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 29 comments by

I’m a big fan of Proverbs 4:23.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Throughout my life, when I tried to put feet to guarding my heart, it has always had the same direction. To guard my heart meant:

#1-> Don’t practice signing Christmas cards from myself and my current crush.

Merry Christmas!
We’re happy and married- hope you are too!
Steve and Annie Don’t-I-Wish

#2-> Don’t sit up late at night wondering whether he is conflicted about whether to take me to dinner or lunch. [He’s asleep.]

#3-> Don’t picture Steve Don’t-I-Wish and I sitting on the couch and arguing over what movie to watch. [Thank you, You’ve Got Mail, for that one.]

#4-> Stop obsessing. Just in general. About him. About me. About the future. [Easier said than done, can I get an amen up in here.]

But in the last few weeks, I’ve watched a dear friend of mine fall gently into deep like with a dude. And it’s been cute as pie. I think it’s fair to say that I might have a crush on their budding relationship- it’s that sweet.

And as I sat with them at lunch, he talked and talked of his family and his life and where he was pre-Nashville. She sat quietly.

Later I said, “Kate [not her real name, duh], why didn’t you tell your stories? What was that?” because the girl can tell some tales of God’s love and faithfulness.

Her answer amazed me- she said that she doesn’t share all her stories with him yet. She said that she’s protecting the things that are in her heart. “Not everyone gets every story, Annie,” she said in a voice that was mildly condescending with a touch of motherly undertones.

Don’t you take that tone with me, Kate. Just cause I spill all my beans all the time doesn’t mean….

Ohhhh….. kkaaayyy. I’ve been doing this wrong all along. I mean, I’ve been right- all those top four things are good to do if for no other reason than to remain NOT CRAZY PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

But I’m learning that guarding my heart also means not letting everything out. I misunderstood- guarding my heart isn’t synonymous with guarding my mind. Guarding my heart is protecting what goes in AS WELL AS protecting what goes out. Being wise when it comes to deep friendships with dudes. Being selective about which stories enter the ears of others.

Brooke Fraser has a song called “Deciphering Me” and I have had one of those lines running laps through my mind like it is training for a marathon-

“For I am a mystery. I am a locked room in a tall tower.”

I wanna be her. My friend in “like” who chooses what to keep to herself. I wanna be her. That girl in the locked room in a tall tower. I wanna be her. The girl who looks back and says, “boy was it worth it to guard my heart” because her stories aren’t strewn all over creation.

I know many of you are married and this blog post may not really mean jack to you, but maybe there is a 19 year old who somehow has found her way here and already knows not to practice writing his last name with her first name but didn’t realize that it is important to guard her stories.

Or maybe she’s not 19. Maybe she’s 28. And she writes this blog. And she has a lot to learn.


  1. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 8:32 AM  |  reply

    Annie this is such a beautiful reminder. I am one who is married, but I have two younger sisters who I am always trying so hard to get to guard their hearts. . . even though I know it’s such a hard thing to do! 🙂 ps – that verse from Proverbs has always been one of my favorites and it’s one of the first/only verses I memorized!

  2. Danabug
    posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 8:37 AM  |  reply

    Excellent post! And I needed to hear it – not at all for the same reasons (I’m married – 18 years) but for reasons of my own. My husband got his Ph.D in history a couple of years ago & we’ve been applying for teaching jobs in colleges all over. Every time he sends out an application I look up the town, the grocery stores, apartments, what church I’d want to attend – opening my heart wide to each place. It’s been hard to get those “thanks but no thanks” letters – but I’m making it even harder on myself than necessary. Hmm – I think I’ll start visualizing that tower.

  3. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 8:39 AM  |  reply

    Annie — I’m one of those married bloggers and I LOVE this verse. Even though I’m not sitting up nights trying to figure out just what he MEANT when he said … whatever, I still have to guard my heart. Not from the dear hubs, but others… okay this is way more deep (that’s some good sentence structure for ya) than I meant for it to be.

    Hope the writing is going well. It’s a tough place to live, but what a blessing!

  4. Southern Gal
    posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:35 AM  |  reply

    “Kate” is a very wise friend. Hang onto her.

    It’s harder for those of us who like to talk to realize we need to guard our hearts in that way.
    I’m a married blogger, too, as you know. I do appreciate you sharing this so other young (or not so young) girls may learn from it.

  5. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:06 AM  |  reply

    wow, what a great truth!! i was one to just blurt out my whole sorded life story like 4 minutes after meeting someone. NO ONE CARES, especially after 4 minutes of knowing me!! i think it used to be an attention thing!! now, i am very careful who i share things with. only those who truly want to know what makes me me get to hear about how i got here!! thanks annie for a great post!!

  6. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:29 AM  |  reply

    What a wise friend. I am married, but I really did relate to what you wrote. I gave away too much of my emotional self to a guy, and it ended in nothing but hurt, so I know the pain of having not guarded my heart. It is definitely as much about what goes in as what goes out, and I struggled with finding the line between getting to know a person and him getting to know you and sharing too much that you have given away more of yourself than you can take back. Tricky stuff.

  7. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 12:16 PM  |  reply

    Annie, I’m married, but this post still resonates. I definitely fall into the camp of sharing too much too soon sometimes, and I think your wisdom can apply to areas in my life, too. Like with new friends or co-workers.

  8. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 12:51 PM  |  reply

    Oh, Annie. You just preached to me. Big time.
    I’m in a new relationship right now…and I this is what I needed to hear.

    Thank you!

  9. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 1:03 PM  |  reply

    One thing I love about you is how your heart is always open to learn what He is teaching you. In His Way. In His Time. It’s a beautiful thing, and I, for one, need to be more like that.

    I also love that you share said wisdom with us!

  10. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 1:28 PM  |  reply

    Annie-Thanks for the encouragement! I recently had a close male friend that I shared a lot of my stories with, fell for, & now regret both.

  11. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 1:41 PM  |  reply

    or a 35 yr old, married, mommy f 3, who never considered guarding her heart and what spills out of it.
    i tend to be a little zealous sometimes, and think if i share i allow for vulnerability in new relationships. i need to do this.
    it will be easier said than done.
    btw- your just too funny

  12. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:12 PM  |  reply

    I’m not married. Did you know that?

  13. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:27 PM  |  reply

    My aunt Martha always says, “You don’t have to tell all you know.” Her drawling voice pops into my head from time to time saying that.

    I learned something recently (almost 7 years into my marriage) about how men and women communicate too. Women communicate over details. Men DON’T. They flat out don’t care about 75% of the stuff that your girlfriends are dying to hear. So, put them out of their misery and meet a girl at Starbucks.

    I just don’t know what Eve did in that garden without any girlfriends. Well, yes I do, she struck up a friendship with a SNAKE and here we all are.

  14. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 3:09 PM  |  reply

    Matt. 7:6 is straight up what you are sayin….
    and a verse i clung to after my tender stories were trampled on by a friend.
    “do not cast your pearls among swine”
    dude some people are just not worth your stories or maybe better put….they are not “ready” for your stories and the intimacy that warrants.

    being married i loved this because it reminded me of that sweet time that is so delicate.

  15. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 3:16 PM  |  reply

    […] Guarding your heart also means filter what goes in and what comes out:  ”She said that she’s protecting the things that are in her heart. “Not everyone gets every story, Annie,” she said in a voice that was mildly condescending with a touch of motherly undertones.” […]

  16. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 4:25 PM  |  reply


    I’ve recently stumbled upon your blog and I must say that God is teaching me some really cool things right now. When I came here, I started reading some past blogs and it’s really cool to see that you’ve already learned them. It’s a huge encouragement for me to read this from you. I’m 21 and about to graduate college, a writer as well and praying about a move to Nashville that came up last week. So your words have spoken a lot into me.

    I really liked this post. That is something that I constantly tell my suitemate about her relationship with boys–guard your heart. It is also something that i think i understand but slowly realize that I too, mess it up. I love what “Kate” said because I struggle with that.

    Thanks for this post.

  17. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 7:35 PM  |  reply

    I just turned 20 page the age hit almost as close to home as the advice did. Thanks.

  18. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 8:04 PM  |  reply

    SOOOOOO good!! great insight sista

  19. Laura
    posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:40 PM  |  reply

    i love you for many reasons, but reminding me of things like this is certainly one of them. Because i’m not married, thats not legal. ha

  20. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:40 PM  |  reply

    I’m going to add my voice to the chorus and say: That truth is just as applicable for married women, who sometimes tell stories about their marriage and their husband that should never be shared with others (besides maybe a mentor or another wise person). And I say that as someone who’s learned that the hard way.

    I’m a very open person, prone to telling everything to anyone. My husband is the opposite. We were married 10 years before he dared to tell me everything about his story. Along the way, I spilled many of his secrets in the name of “venting with my girlfriends.” I damaged my marriage more than I know.

    Guard your heart. Guard your mouth.

  21. posted on Mar 16, 2009 at 11:50 PM  |  reply

    I think I’m that girl, Annie. (: Thanks for the reminder.

  22. Heather
    posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 9:42 AM  |  reply

    Oh, Annie! How I wish I could’ve learned this when I was much, much younger! I’m 38, married, with 3 children and have the HARDEST time with this.
    My struggles involve the in-laws, MIL and SILs. A very good friend of mine was reminding me of the “don’t cast your pearls among swine” verse the other day! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my heart broken by “family” who SHOULD care but DON’T! I’m slowly learning this lesson.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    And I totally agree about “sharing” things about your spouse. It’s dangerous territory. I hate to think of the damage my “sharing” has done. 🙁

  23. Laurie
    posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 9:45 AM  |  reply

    Great post. Never made the connection of guarding my heart to also mean guarding what comes out and the stories I share. I’ve always been an open person wanting to share so that people can know I’m real. But there is a fine line of knowing when and whom to share how much with. I so agree with Kelly@Love Well – as married women we need to be so very careful of what we share of our marriages and our husband’s personal stories. I’ve goofed on that, too.

  24. posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 10:23 AM  |  reply

    Annie, what a great post! I’ve actually got one lined up for next week to ask my readers what they think guarding your heart actually looks like in real life. I loved getting to read your perception of it, a bit early. 🙂

  25. posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 11:09 AM  |  reply

    I’m a married (for almost 24 years) blogger, but I have teenage daughters (15 year old twins) and 12 and nine year old boys. Ginger directed me over here after this was one of my set of Memory Monday verses this week.

    Guarding your heart is so important in relationships just as your friend is doing. I haven’t read this book in a while, but check out ‘Emotional Purity, An Affair of the Heart’ by Heather Arnel Paulsen. I enjoyed reading it and plan to go through it fairly soon with my girls (as soon as we’re finished with a different book).

    Bless you!

  26. posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM  |  reply

    37 and right there with you girl! Thanks for reminding me.

  27. posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 12:45 PM  |  reply

    This 26 year old girl needed to hear this! So Awesome!

    BTW, I just downloaded that song on itunes! It is also super awesome!

  28. posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 7:01 PM  |  reply

    Or maybe she is 33 and really needed to hear that. Thanks for writing this, Annie.

  29. posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 8:12 PM  |  reply

    I literally AM that “19 year old girl who somehow has found her way here and already knows not to practice writing his last name with her first name but didn’t realize that it is important to guard her stories.” Thank you thank you thank you for writing this.

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