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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Guard Your Heart (06/08/12)

TITLE: Naked Hearts
By Marilyn K. Smith
06/12/12


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He had seen her sitting quietly by herself at church and was startled by her beautiful blue eyes and radiant smile. Maybe…?

This friend of mine who had been widowed for a number of years had met someone new. Once acquainted, the young lady seemed kind and friendly. She intentionally showed affection to those around her. Now a Christian, she admitted experiencing hurt caused by her own wrong choices. She was now trying to mend and learn from that hurt.

My friend, also a Christian, was a caring person who was ready to explore new possibilities in his own life as the heartbreak from his wife’s death had begun to heal. She had been the “love of his life” and they had enjoyed a relatively short but wonderful marriage.

He thought he was being careful to remain “just friends” with his new-found acquaintance and assured me of that, but I could tell when he talked about her, he was beginning to like her beyond being a friend. The young lady invited my friend to meet her at several church events and chose to sit with him during those times. They had several private heart-to-heart conversations about her past. My friend was beginning to relax in the knowledge that she preferred being with him and confiding in him. He was allowing himself to think that this relationship may develop into a romantic one.

Then several weeks later she confided, nonchalantly, that someone from her past had become close to her and that they were pursuing a relationship together. My friend was very disappointed but remained calm. Had she used him as just a sounding board, simply unaware that he had begun to care for her? Or was she totally a different person than what he believed her to be? He did not offer a comment to the young lady but now understood that she had not felt about him the same way he had felt about her. He was unable to bring himself to question her about their relationship but simply moved away from it. He had already courageously fought the battle of grief and this was just a minor skirmish.

The heart is a very tricky part of our emotions. Jeremiah offers in chapter 17, verse 9 that “the human heart is most deceitful.” Our heart will make us dream of happiness and find despair! It allows us to ascend to the heights of hopefulness and leaves us in the bowels of loneliness. Then how do we know when our own heart is understanding truth or deceiving us? By seeking the truth in all we do, we begin to guard our heart against deceit. Transparency is the only way to truth. That seems like a simple statement but it is very complex and difficult to put into action. Transparency is a heart with “its clothes off.” We, as humans, try so hard to keep our thought and deeds secret so that we won’t be hurt or rejected. If we can “cover-up” our naked thoughts and feelings, we think no one can hurt us. That is the very moment that they have the best opportunity to do so.

Avoiding embarrassment, in our minds, is a strong reason that pushes us to the very core of deceit. “I don’t want them to think…” has been a redundant phrase that has come from our lips and is supposed to explain away our covering up so much of our true selves.
If we believe that God made us just like we are… with our own unique qualities and personalities…and that He loves us no matter what, why are we so concerned with what others think? It’s a tool Satan uses to deceive us and make us think that God did not know what He was doing when He “formed us in our mother’s womb” (Jeremiah 1:5) But God assures Jeremiah that He did!

Let us guard our own hearts by the truth of transparency. Let us say, “What do I really feel about this situation?” and begin to be truthful with ourselves. The next step is to be truthful with others. We must begin to train ourselves to honestly and openly reveal ourselves to other. Only then can they see where we stand and who we really are. God has dealt honestly with us. He showed us His heart on the cross for all the world to see. If we are Christ-followers, how can we do any less?


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Member Comments
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CD Swanson 06/17/12
Great job with the topic. I enjoyed the segue that led into the powerful message of this piece. Nicely done.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/21/12
This is a nice devotion. I liked that you shared a real experience to help emphasis your point.

Try working on doing more showing than telling. It's something all writers struggle with but makes it much easier for the reader to connect to your story. Instead of saying the lady seemed kind and friendly show me. Did she smile and bat her eyelashes at him or perhaps she snuggled in closer when they were sitting. Maybe she brought him a batch of homemade cookies to share after the service. Any of these little details will help paint a picture for the reader.

I enjoyed your message at the end. I think this story has several messages. One is faith in God helps get through the tough times. Another is to guard our hearts and fill them with the word of God. I also could see what some may think as innocent flirting could really lead another person on and cause them a great deal of pain. You did a good job with these.