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.

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