“Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.”
~ Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Yesterday I blogged on why it is so critical to guard our hearts, today I want to touch on how we can do that. Taking care of our physical heart requires discipline; habits of exercise and eating right. The same dynamic is true for guarding the heart that King Solomon is referring to here in Proverbs. Here are some suggestions.
The Discipline of Reflection. Like a bad amusement park ride the pace of life just keeps getting faster and faster. Making time to pause periodically and reflect is crucial.
We live in a busy and noisy world that will suck the life out of us if we let it. This is why it is essential that we intentionally pull away to a quiet place, pause, and reflect. If Jesus needed to do this (Mark 1:35), how much more important is it for us?
The Discipline of Rest. It was no accident that God took the seventh day of creation to do nothing with Adam and Eve. Reread the 10 commandments and notice which one gets the most attention. (Hint: Remembering the Sabbath – Exodus 20)
We were designed by our Creator to need rest. Eight hours of sleep. One day every seven to relax. Don’t skip vacation time! Without rest our judgment gets blurry and the heart is more vulnerable to attack. Make rest a priority and write it in on your calendar.
The Discipline of Recreation. There is a difference between amusement and recreation. There is nothing wrong with amusement but it can leave us more tired than before we started. Recreation, on the other hand, are those activities that recharge us.
Reading a good book. Creating something with wood or crafts or even baking. Playing an instrument simply to enjoy it. Spend time working on that project that’s been waiting all this time. It will be different for everyone but the common thread is that the activity refreshes our soul.
The Discipline of Relationships. We are wired by a relational God to be in relationship with Him and others. Our level of involvement with others will vary depending on our personality but we need others with which to share the journey.
Make time to deepen important relationships and do all that you can to keep them healthy. They do more to strengthen our heart than we realize. And our most important relationship with the one we pursue with God!