Being a mother of four beautiful daughters, we’ve had a number of discussions about this particular question, “Who does your heart belong to?” As my girls have entered into their teenage years and members of the opposite gender have started to “notice” them, we’ve had to address with whom they are giving or sharing their heart.
In this day and age, it is not uncommon for young teenage girls to pursue relationships with young teenage boys. However, in our home, it is greatly discouraged for multiple reasons. One of these reasons is that their heart does not belong to a teenage boy.
A few months ago, I spoke to a group of young teenage girls. I gave each of them a paper heart as a representation of their love to share with others and as a demonstration of the heart God had entrusted to each of them. I instructed them that as I shared each of the sentences listed below, I wanted them to tear a piece of their heart and hand it to the person to their right, no matter how painful it might be. Each girl had to pass it along even if the phrase did not apply in their own life. Here were my statements.
- I noticed this guy in my Algebra class, and I just can’t stop thinking about him.
- Did you notice he looked at me? I hope he likes what he sees.
- He’s walking this way. Do you think he’ll ask me out?
- I can’t believe he asked me out, and we are going on a real date! I hope he thinks I look good in this outfit.
- I’ve never felt so in love. We had such a great talk, and we held hands tonight.
- It’s been three weeks, and we had our first kiss. It was so romantic.
- I’m starting to feel a lot of pressure to take our relationship further physically.
- I feel terrible that we allowed our physical relationship to go further than I wanted.
I never intended for this to happen.
- I can’t believe he asked me to sleep with him? Was he serious?
- I can’t believe I gave in and allowed him do things I swore I’d never do with anyone until I was married.
At the beginning, some of the girls were tearing large portions of their heart to pass along not knowing how many times I would ask them to do so. However, as I continued reading these phrases, some of the girls started sharing less and less. After all these phrases were read aloud, I asked them to look down at what was left of their heart. For some, it wasn’t much.
Here is another area of life where we can apply one of my husband’s principles – the Wise vs. Foolish principle. Is it wise or foolish for you to date as a young teenage girl? Is it wise or foolish for my daughters to give pieces of their heart away to young men who may not even remember their first name later in life? I’ve had countless conversations with my girls about the repercussions of this type of behavior. I know most people think this is your typical teenage girl falling in love, but is it? What are we truly teaching if we allow them to continue down this path? What pain might they be able to avoid?
As I was meditating on this topic, I realized this applies to more than just my teenage daughters and their friends. God never asks any of us, no matter how old we are, to GIVE AWAY our heart to anyone, not even our husband. In recovery, partners often find themselves with nothing left to give, because they have invested so much of their identity in their relationship with their addict or their anorexic. What’s left of your heart? Who is going to tend to your ailing heart that is in desperate need of repair? What happens when there is literally nothing left of it? What becomes of you?
My dear friend and mentor, Marlene, once told me, “We can LOVE from our heart and SHARE from our heart, but God wants ALL of our heart.” He is a jealous God.
In Deuteronomy 6:5, it says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” So ultimately, we are not to give our hearts away to just anyone, not even our life partner. We are to keep it intact and give it ALL to God, not anyone else for any reason. Without our heart, we cannot extend love to share with others. We need to be healthy ourselves in order to share our love with others. We need to allow Christ to fill us to the brim so out of the overflow of our heart we can share with others.
For those of you who haven’t given your heart away, consider yourself blessed and protected from many heartaches. Keep making wise choices, but also keep in mind you are ALWAYS one decision away from making an unwise choice.
Now, some of you may be thinking, I’ve already given my heart away. I can’t get it back. Some of these young girls I talked with had too and wondered the same thing. Just as I reminded these girls, I will remind you. God is God of grace and of second chances. As all these young girls started looking around to see who had the largest part of their heart remaining, I pulled out another set of paper hearts to distribute to each of them as a reminder that they were to keep their heart for GOD ALONE. You should have seen the relief on their faces when I gave them a new COMPLETE heart. Some even mentioned saving it as a reminder of the lesson.
God can give you a new heart too. In fact, he can restore all the original pieces, because He knows exactly where they are. It’s never too late to start anew and give ALL the pieces wholeheartedly to Him.
There is a reason God’s Word says in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” May you live an abundant life as God pours love into your heart and you can share that love FROM your heart to others and also keep your heart as a reminder of God’s great love for you.
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Kerry Schortzman is the Director of Operations at Transformed Hearts Counseling Center as well as an author and speaker. She has traveled the road of recovery alongside her husband through the wildfires of intimacy anorexia. She has a heart and passion to see healing and restoration in relationships and marriages as well as to bring public awareness to eliminate sex and human trafficking. Kerry has been married since 1998 and lives in Colorado with her husband and four daughters. She and Cory have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.