For starters, it’s important to note that “guarding your heart” is not the opposite of vulnerability. Instead, guarding your heart is something done intentionally by seeking God for discernment—the discernment necessary to determine what is appropriate to share and when it is appropriate to share it. I say “appropriate” not to suggest that you should ever feel ashamed to share your heart, but that our sharing should be done in such a way that it influences edification. should be in order to edify the relationship. If guarding our hearts meant that we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, this would require us to hide the truth of who we are, and that obviously isn’t edifying to your own heart or to the wellbeing of a relationship. The other extreme—sharing every bit of your heart—wouldn’t be edifying either, but unnecessary, overwhelming, and unwise. Over sharing is often a result of insecurity and an act of desperation.
Guarding your heart means using your mind to determine how much of yourself to share and how to pace yourself when someone is trying to pursue you and learn you. People often convince themselves, “If I let them “in” enough, tell them personal things, secrets, and the depths of who I am, then they will see how valuable I am and want me.” It’s important to invite people into your story slowly, which happens naturally when your need for validation, security, and affirmation are fully established in the love of Christ. No matter how much two people are interested in each other, rushing in emotionally and expecting each other to bear the weight of quick and deep intimacy is naive and unhealthy. If you have to hold someones interest by constantly presenting private and meaningful parts of yourself, it’s not a relationship you need to pursue. It should be an honor to discover your heart—something that takes time and patience. Discovering your heart should require diligence that delights in the process of learning you. Even though it’s poetic, you are not a novel to be read and finished—no! You are a journey to be taken, and though this might seem equally poetic, it requires a lot more integrity, devotion, and intention. Guarding our hearts means that we don’t present ourselves as a mystery to be decoded or a challenge to be conquered. Instead, we share our lives and learn to love each other along the way regardless of what we find. Guard your heart so that whoever wants to know it has to first invest in the trip before they get to see the breath-taking view.
I hope this makes sense.
In order for us to practically guard our hearts, adoring Jesus is the key. Ultimately, I think that only Christ can guard your heart and He does that when you seek him. But isn’t it true that we only seek him when we know our needs can’t be satisfied by any person or relationship? Rather, we know that finding satisfaction in Christ equips us to cultivate healthy relationships. As we seek Christ, He guards our hearts by meeting all our needs, and dismissing our insecurities. You know these things, of course. But the way this is guarding your heart is evident in how you handle a relationship once it comes along. What I mean is that once someone does start pursuing you, your presence, friendship, and love can be a gift—something that blesses another’s life.
To answer your other question, Charles and I mutually pursued each other. I asked him to hang out first, though. I shared my opinion about how a man should pursue a woman here.