“Let him know who you really are,” they tell you.
“Just tell her the truth about yourself,” they say.
“Sharing your emotions is a positive thing,” they promise.
“You can’t love well without bearing your soul,” they advise.
We’ve all heard that we need to wear our hearts on our sleeves and let our emotions determine how we act. But if you’ve ever been reprimanded by a friend whom you bared your soul to…if you’ve ever been ignored by a boyfriend whom you spoke intimately with…if you’ve ever been rejected by a mentor whom you shared your darkest secret with…then you know that wearing your heart on our sleeve is messy. In fact, it’s unwise.
Guard Your Heart…with Guys
This idea of guarding our hearts is probably mentioned most often when discussing dating. I’ve heard that emotional purity is just as significant as sexual purity. Sharing too much—especially with a guy you don’t know very well—is dangerous. Guys can play on your emotions to get sex, so be careful about what you tell your boyfriend or fiancé.
Also, don’t tell your boyfriend or even your fiancé everything you like about him and everything you desire in your relationship. First, he probably already knows how awesome he is. Second, since he’s not your husband, it may be inappropriate to share all the details about how he makes you feel and how you want the relationship to proceed. There’s a time and place for that discussion, but a guy can break your heart in an instant. And if he breaks your heart, you’ll wish that you hadn’t told him how amazing he was and how you wanted to have babies with him.
Guard Your Heart…with Friends
The idea of guarding our hearts isn’t just applicable in the context of dating. It’s applicable in every relationship! I don’t think Christians talk enough about oversharing…perhaps because they’re stuck in the bad habit of oversharing.
Be careful about what you share, when you share, where you share, how you share, why you share, and who you share with. Revealing your deepest, darkest secrets with acquaintances and friends can be unwise. Even close friends move on, and they carry your secrets with them forever. People whom you consider to be your closest friends can still hurt you. Even your Christian friends who seem sweet and caring can betray your trust. They can realize how insecure they really feel and proceed to talk about you behind your back or ignore you when you need them the most.
The Difference Between Being Transparent and Being Careless
Perhaps the most important that I want you take away from this post is this: be transparent with others but guard your heart. Know who you can trust with your emotions and who you can’t trust with your emotions. Pay attention to the way your boyfriend and your friends act when they’re not sitting right next to you.
There is indeed a difference between being transparent and wearing your heart on your sleeve. I’m a huge advocate for transparency, especially in the church, where we need to build each other up instead of act perfectly put-together.
Being transparent is intentional. When you are transparent with others, you let them see that you’re not perfect and that it’s okay when they’re not perfect. It can mean deeper relationships and needed relief. However, wearing your heart on your sleeve is reckless. When you wear your heart on your sleeve, you’ll share almost everything with almost everyone. It can mean hurt feelings and betrayed trust.
Just being transparent with you, I’m a terrible example of not wearing my heart on my sleeve. I don’t guard my heart diligently. But as I mentioned before, I’ve had hurt feelings and developed inappropriate relationships as a result. I hope you’ll consider guarding your heart instead of wearing it on your sleeve.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23 NASB)