Is He Wearing a Ring?

Topic of the week, via The Bright Maidens
(headed up by Julie, Elizabeth, and Trista)
Emotional Chastity

“Guard your heart!”
“Thanks for guarding my heart, girl.”
“Yeah, pray that I’ll guard my heart, though.”
“I feel like I haven’t really gotten to know anyone very well, my heart is really guarded.”

Maybe my girlfriends and I are total nerds, but this is the kind of language we use with each other all the time. For some reason, sharing our hearts with each other is definitive of true sisterhood. But sharing your deepest feelings, thoughts, and desires with anyone but your best friends? Totally emotionally unchaste, duh.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Running into a guy, noticing how attractive and friendly he is, looking for a ring. Not finding one, you immediately imagining yourself with him forever.
  • Later, imagining what your kids will look like, what you’ll do on Sundays after church, and what it will be like to curl up next to him at night.
  • Facebook stalking. Ladies, you KNOW what I mean. You’re looking at pictures, trying to figure out which girls are family and which girls might just be a little too close to him. Wondering if you’d get along with his sister, and whether or not his parents look like they would be fun to be around. You’re adding his favorite movies to your Netflix queue and searching his favorite artists on YouTube. You’ve made a quick mental list of mutual friends, so you can casually bring him up in conversation.
  • Describing all your woes and heartaches on any social media platform. Facebook statuses about a miserable day, blogs about a fight with a friend, tweets about how much you want to date someone or how in loooove you are with a celebrity. Instantly, your heart becomes public knowledge, and you have NO idea who’s listening.
  • Obsessing over the details and wording of text messages, trying to analyze what exactly he meant. Same with facebook posts, emails, or notes.
  • The majority of lyrics from Taylor Swift’s songs. (“Standing by and waiting at your back door… all this time, how could you not know, baby, that you belong with me?” Seriously, TSwift, where’s your confidence? Be pursued, woman!)
  • Chick flicks or romance novels, where we often find ourselves hoping for things that are warped and twisted, like wanting someone to leave their wife to marry the heroine/damsel on center stage. Or we get wrapped up in the dating, the pursuit, the wedding, the excitement of a relationship, as unreal as it may be.

That, dear readers, is Emotional UNchastity. A glimpse of it, even! It’s not just about dating and relationships. Any time your heart is given away by the things you say or do, you are giving a little part of yourself. It’s true! Your heart is a treasure, and the things it holds are precious.

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.   Luke 2:19

His mother treasured all these things in her heart.   Luke 2:51

One of my favorite parts of the feminine genius is our unique ability to receive and to hold things within us. Mary taught us by example, by receiving and bearing God, but also by her consistent attitude of keeping things on her heart. She was never rushed to reveal what she thought or felt to anyone.

“With all vigilance, guard your heart,
For in it are the sources of life.
Let your eyes look straight ahead
and your gaze be focused forward.”
Proverbs 4:23, 25

First, focus on the moment. Look ahead, look to what God has planned and prepared. Let HIM lead you, not your imagination. Don’t expect perfection from anyone, and don’t focus on gaining or earning their devotion, their attention, or even their friendship. Nothing should keep you from moving forward, so if you dwell in your daydreams and “what if”s, you need to refocus your gaze on the Way. God will allow all good things to happen in time. His time.

Guard your heart. That phrase reminds me that my heart is a treasure worth protecting. It makes me admit that there are only a few people to whom I can entrust my heart. Primarily, Christ is my first beloved. He will always know every part of my heart. Sometimes, things need to be kept between us so I can ponder them like His mother did, to grow closer to Him. Secondly, guys only get to know things gradually because Christ will have to give it to him. When our marriage is a reflection of the Trinity, that guy can know everything and anything. Lastly, consistent sharing of my heart is with my best friends, sisters, parents, and those who have shown that they, too, treasure what I reveal. And that’s the real beauty of the feminine genius, the revealing of our hearts. It makes us alluring, attractive, and mysterious! Maybe that’s what makes us sexy.

Our job is not to use that gift to manipulate or have power over others, but to be careful about who holds our heart when we hand it to them. I think most of us believe that our bodies are beautiful expressions of God’s love. Sacred, even. We are careful about who we give our bodies to. We want to cover ourselves, hide what should be hidden, flaunt what makes us special, and be modest and humble with our bodies.

If my body is special, how much more precious is my soul? Why wouldn’t I desire to be humble and modest with my heart as well?


7 Comments to “Is He Wearing a Ring?”

  1. Why yes, all of that is PAINFULLY familiar.

    “Any time your heart is given away by the things you say or do, you are giving a little part of yourself.” — This is well-put and so true!!

    Thank you for also including scripture passages about Mary’s heart!! It is to HER that we should look as a model in this case. Great post, Mary!

  2. “Guard your heart. That phrase reminds me that my heart is a treasure worth protecting.” Yes.

    Great post, Mary!!!

  3. This is a great post! It makes me think especially about how many people I know posting their relationship (both woes and adventures) all over the internet. I’ve been working on making my relationship something more privately celebrated– while I like posting photos and little statuses, there’s something special about keeping one’s relationship secret and sacred. A lot of people don’t see the sensitive and caring side of my boyfriend. He certainly guards his heart, but is very open and loving with me. I feel privileged to be allowed to see that side of him, and I should follow some of this advice!

  4. Thanks, ladies. 🙂

    @madewilling: Yeah! My friend Bradley posted about why he is leaving facebook behind for the sake of emotional/relational chastity, and he makes some really great points about how you wouldn’t want the whole world to see your photo albums or watch your home videos, because they’re private things to share. There’s something special about letting others’ see glimpses of your life as you build a friendship with them.

    Check it out:

  5. Great post! And those all sound a little too familiar to me. Darn it, TSwift!! 🙂 Also, I agree with all the Facebook comments. People, myself included, have no limits on what should and shouldn’t be shared with the world.

  6. Taylor Swift! Good catch there. Sometimes I really just passively take in lyrics in popular songs and whatever is happening on the romantic comedy screen, whether or not it is good or right at all. And afterwards I find myself feeling unfulfilled, wondering when my Prince Charming will show up and sweep me off my feet! But is spending my time daydreaming and dwelling on this “perfect” man going to prepare me for a healthy marriage or make me more open to genuine love? I don’t think so. Great post! Thanks for bringing all this to light!

  7. Love the title – I totally look to the hand first for a ring! It’s just habit right now – I can’t seem to stop!

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