[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n any given day, people are enrolling in the school of hard knocks and taking classes that studying the Word of God, wisdom and experience could have helped them avoid. It is so imperative to guard you heart with caution so you don’t end up with a broken heart. Most of us have been stung by the bee of vulnerability at one time or the other. Before I saw the light, innumerable bouts of low self-esteem made me a constant victim of betrayal. Like a bird that escaped from the snare of the deceptive fowler, the revelation of Psalm 146:3—“Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help”–turned my life around. As a result, I never fail to warn myself and any one that cares to listen that putting their trust in man is like putting water in a twice-perforated basket. The true story below says it all.
Angela became an orphan very early in life. At the age of 30, she was still a virgin and had never dated any man despite advances from several. She wished for a true man of God–preferably a pastor.
During Bible study one evening, Angela caught the eyes of a tall, very handsome, well-groomed man she had never seen before. She quickly looked away and thought nothing of him until the following week, when she saw him again. This time he introduced himself as Derrick and told her he was in pastoral training in a nearby school. Angela was flattered that a very good-looking man was paying her attention. Many more Bible study encounters birthed their friendship.
Over the next few months, they communicated and fellowshipped a lot. It was the first time Angela permitted a man to come closer than usual. She was in such awe of Derrick’s love for God. Although she did not hear the voice of the Lord regarding him, she had no doubt in her mind that Derrick was a true man of God.
After six months, Derrick asked Angela to marry him. She was thrilled but said she would pray about it, despite her flesh getting in the way. A few days later, another brother from church saw her and said the Lord revealed to him that she was his wife and asked her to pray about it. He was a far cry from Derrick–short, unattractive, and lacking the class Derrick practically oozed. She went to her pastors and, after intensive prayer sessions, they told her Derrick was not the man for her. Angela was very disappointed. Her heart was with Derrick. Her flesh was all too willing, but her spirit was wrestling.
She told Derrick what her pastors said. “They are possessive of you and will say anything so you can remain a prophetess in their church,” he said. Over the next few weeks, he kept pleading with Angela and professing his undying love for her. Rather than stay in the presence of the God that kept her from day one, Angela began spending a lot of time in the presence of Derrick till she agreed to marry him based on trust and the fact that he was now the assistant pastor of a church.
During the course of their marriage, Angela began seeing an unattractive side of Derrick that disturbed her. He was very selfish and too secretive for comfort. She was sure she could pray those bad traits away.
Five years of marriage and two miscarriages later, Derrick fell ill. Rather than get better, his sickness took a turn for the worse and doctors kept guessing what was wrong with him. It was at the last hospital that the doctor ran several tests, and it turned out that Derrick had fully developed AIDS. As Angela was insisting to the doctor that he had made a mistake, Derrick barely whispered in her hearing, “It is true–I discovered I was HIV-positive 10 years ago but thought the Lord would heal me.”
That was the beginning of the end of Angela’s trust in any human being. She could not get over the fact that Derrick knew from the beginning that he had HIV, deceived her, took her virginity, and mercilessly gambled with her life. Derrick died a week later, leaving behind a scorned Angela whose grief was too much to bear.
Angela lived for two more years and went to be with the Lord this shortly after. She died from complications caused by AIDS. The news of her death pointed me to Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” May her beautiful and gentle soul continue to rest in peace.
How do you cushion your heart from breaking to unnecessary pieces? Below are ways to keep your heart in peace and not pieces.
Love yourself first
How can you genuinely love another when you cannot love yourself? Many people seek validation from others and you cannot fault them because you don’t know what their background is. Some are victims of emotional, mental, physical or spiritual abuse. Once-upon-a-time, insecurity led me to do childish things am ashamed to admit I engaged in many years ago. Make sure happiness comes first from within you. This way, you are not pressured to beg for affection and happiness from another.
Guard your heart with with diligence and not blindness
You must not put your heart out there even for a fleeting moment without employing prayer, wisdom and discernment to examine who or what you want to open the gate of your heart for. Proverbs 4:23 sums it.
Learn to be patient
Take the time to know someone before jumping into anything. I am not saying you should deny your feelings and so forth. You have to be careful because feelings are birth out of many reasons including lust, insecurity, money or even true love. Don’t rush into getting serious at the twinkle of an eye. Make sure the person is trustworthy so you don’t end up in a quagmire of bitterness and self loathing. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint”– Isaiah 40:31.
Steer your heart from ending up in a toxic dump
Too much stress, anxiety and sleepless nights pave the way for some diseases that can end up being terminal. Depression, heart attack, stroke are some that come to mind. It is not worth permitting another human being like you or any circumstance to rob you of your health. Be firm, be assertive and most importantly let the joy of the Lord remain your strength.
Commit it to God
Often times, we get carried away by emotions and in the process ignore the voice of God. Without Christ, crisis takes control. So no matter how we feel, how God feels is imperative. We must lean not on our own understanding.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:7. I pray that we will learn to place our trust in God and not man, in Jesus’ name.
May Olusola is the Founder and Publisher of MannaEXPRESS.