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On Guarding Your Heart and That Darned Explore Section of Instagram

By Allie Marie Smith

I let myself go there again – to the explore section of Instagram. I made a promise to myself that when using the app I wouldn’t wander there, but in some moments of weakness I gave in.

For fifteen minutes my eyes saw too many Tone It Up girls in pastel leggings and matching crop tops, adorable children, Instagram models perfectly posed, beautiful pregnant bellies, Pinterest-worthy bedrooms and backyards, exposed butts and girls longboarding glassy waves.

The experience was captivating. Even exhilarating. It was like Instagram was teasing me. Showing me many of my unfulfilled desires fulfilled in strangers lives, flaunting the abs, babies and wardrobe I did not have. I was partly inspired, but by the time I finally put down my phone I felt defeated and discontent.

Psalm 42:3 tell us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Other translations use the words “guard your heart” and call our heart “the wellspring of life.”

What does it mean as women to guard our hearts? What we fix our eyes and heart on can bring us peace and joy or discontentment and despair. The great news is we often have the freedom to decide what comes in. We can choose our friends, who we date or marry, the shows we watch, the music we listen to, the books we read and the accounts we follow.

What we choose to fix our gaze on determines our well-being. I have that boundary with the explore icon for a reason. Boundaries can bring life and restore our soul.

If we let our guard down and invite envy, lust and materialism in, out will flow discontentment and shallow living. If we stand strong at the gateway to our heart and only let things in that exude the fruit of the spirit like love, faithfulness, kindness, peace, and self-control, our lives will be a beautiful fragrance. A fragrance of peace and contentment that invites others in and compels them to believe in the goodness of God.

I invite you to set aside some time to journal through the following questions:

What am I consuming that is harming my well-being?

What boundaries would be good for me to put in place that protect my eyes and heart from things that rob me of joy?

May you be empowered as you choose what your eyes will be fixed upon and may you guard your heart this  new year.