“The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps” (Proverbs 14:15)
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
Wisdom is oh so important! We all seek wisdom, crave it. You can talk to someone in a specific profession and they may have clear answers as to why they chose to study a particular major in college, go to graduate school, and take on certain internships and jobs in order that they may gain experience to build a career in their field of interest. However sometimes it’s those hidden matters that we simply do not have answers for like: why do we sometimes quench the desires of our heart without praying for direction or intending that our decisions be purposed toward the right (eous) end? How do we defend and protect our hearts against foolish, fraudulent love?
I have spent years naively being simple (foolish) when it came to matters of the heart, and it hurt. A lot of this was because there are things I simply did not know at the time throughout different seasons in my life and there were things I ignored. However, I now see the spiritual ramifications of failing to be intentional to seek wisdom and prudence when it comes to every step – relationships, career decisions etc. – of my life. I have been spiritually incapacitated by my decisions and lifestyle choices in my past and the utter thought of falling back into the same habits/ patterns scares me. So that is where confession & prayer have come in. I realize my weaknesses and I know that in them He is made strong. So I am seeking to regularly bringing my burdens to Him, converse about what’s going on and what’s troubling my heart & ask for His guidance on what to do. I am hopeful that my God hears my prayers and will guide me through each and every step to bring himself glory and work for my good.
While I am very young, I have always been a very passionate and intended individual. I set goals and I work hard towards achieving them. However, while finishing up my undergraduate degree I was humbled and learned to yield even these things, over which I relished feeling in control of, to the Lord. I am still a self-starter when it comes to learning new things and accomplishing goals, but my strength doesn’t come from that alone – it comes from God. Let me tell you about the joy I felt in letting go! I experienced such peace to just admit I am not in control/ cannot be in control of everything! So one thing that I am walking through especially is – getting things right in matters of the heart. Yes, that’s right how on earth I am supposed to walk through dealing with the very obvious truth that “the heart is big on desire, but it lacks discretion- moral knowledge or moral judgment.” And yes I’m talking about dealing with men as a godly woman. As I’ve been reading Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart by John Ensor over the last few months, I’ve found out that the answer discretion: it is a gift from God, a sort of defense mechanism (See Proverbs 2:11-15). Cultivating discretion is very often easier said than done, but not impossible (another need for prayer). Ensor says “the woman who lacks discretion is defenseless when it comes to fraudulent love.” You can say that again! He then goes on to say that:
“Sadly, the worst kind of man is often the best at seduction. They know what to say and are bold to say it. Godly men are often hesitant and halting. The predator flows with talk of love and oozes with sensuality. Predators are devious in that they appear to be conforming to your agenda, when they are merely wearing you down to the point where you conform to their agenda. They are there to conquer and consume. Sister, you’d better get discretion or buy Kleenex in bulk.”
I have used my fair share of Kleenex, and the idea of being seduced is not at all attractive to me anymore because I can spot it from a mile away ; and because honestly that is not what my heart desires- I want so much more than that. This does not mean I am not tempted. This certainly does not mean I am not at risk for falling prey to such a sham (aren’t we all). However, I have graciously been renewed by the awareness that God has placed in me the desire for a “healthy, tender, passionate, enduring, mutually satisfying relationship,” (what God defines as marriage) and that no fraudulent, foolish “love” will satisfy this desire. It’s not easy to act in this awareness (the temptations are real), but gratefully God is working to change how I view the desires of my heart. He will give me discretion and strength to fight the temptations that are set before me; and to fight for the type of love that He desires for His children.
So the main question I have sought to guard my heart with in moving forward from my Kleenex days into a season of prudence and discretion is: “Fellas, What’s your foundation?” Tradition is great, but it is simply not enough. I have done many things in my life based on “tradition” but those same traditions, until I put a Biblical foundation under them, were failed over and over again. So as I continue to pray and endeavor to love with a purposed heart, I am seeking the Lord’s help to strengthen that foundation within myself. Our hearts lack a good foundation without God!
And in the words of Mary J Blige in Real Love:
“So I try my best and pray to God
He’d send me someone real
To caress me and to guide me
Towards a love my heart can feel…
Real love I’m searching for a real love”
I know what real love is and what it is not ! (I Corinthians 13:4-8).
“Discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.” Proverbs 2:11-15