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My brother and mother had lunch today and evidently talked about me and my relationship status. His is a thoroughly non-Christian perspective on relationships of course, but Nick thinks he’s worked out my problem. He says he’s noticed that over the years he’s had every kind of relationship with different kinds of women, but even though I haven’t had that many relationships, I always have the same relationship with the same kind of guy. He thinks the problem is that my character is open and caring, but the guys I get involved with think so little of themselves that they think I must be a fool to care for them and so treat me badly (I think that’s the summary anyway). He said “I don’t mean that’s right, but I’m a guy, that’s how it is.”

He also added that a woman who’s a bit of a bitch will always have the guy running after them. That sucks.

The problem is one of judgement I guess. I take people at their word, when I should probably exercise caution. Call me crazy, but when someone tells me they care about me, I tend to come to the conclusion that…that person cares about me. Unfortunately I’ve never learned how to guard my heart and I jump in, boots and all.

There’s a Feist song that I love but always makes me feel terribly sad, called Let it die. The chorus goes:

The saddest part of a broken heart
Isn’t the ending so much as the start
The tragedy starts from the very first spark
Losing your mind for the sake of your heart

I have never been able to tell, at the beginning of any relationship, that it would end the way it did. Of course you don’t get involved with someone expecting it to end in disaster! You have hope. You get swept up in feeling good, in thinking that someone loves you, in the excitement of it all. Then at the end of a relationship you second guess and doubt and think “did any of that mean anything?”, “did I make it all up?”

But although in any relationship you need to bend and adjust to accommodate the other person, you are still who you are at the core. I don’t want to make myself into game playing manipulator just to get a partner. I’d rather be alone. And really, it’s a lie – I’m not alone. I have great friends and family and my life is full.

The older I get, the more I lean on Jesus, and that’s how it should be. The hope he offers is reliable and unchangeable. He will never disappoint me, he will never get tired of me, he will never despise me for loving him, he will never find me too much work. He loves me more than any human can. When I feel sad or despair about my past I turn back to him and remember that he has forgiven me for all of it and reminds me that he’s making me new.

And the joy of that sends me back to one of my favourite passages – Philippians 4:4-7:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

That’s how to guard your heart.