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We are flooded with content everywhere we look. Social media makes it so easy to gather up influences. With one click on a shared link, you “meet” the ideas of someone you could have never become acquainted with twenty years ago. That can be a great thing, but more often than not, this overload makes us forget something that is so critical:

 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Other translations say guard your hearts. I think we forget this sometimes. I think that is a dangerous mistake.

One time this has been very real to me was when I read a blog post that several people I knew shared. This woman was supposed to be “so real” and really “get moms today” all while being “hilarious.” She was mean. In the midst of what she said about her kids, the undercurrent of her heart was not set in kindness or love. I thought she was really selfish. I talked to my husband after I read it because I usually don’t get so bothered, but this person’s reach of influence was very disconcerting to me. 

If this was what it meant to be “real,” and people felt like she was speaking things they wished they could say, then the heart reflected in it was being celebrated and owned; it shouldn’t have been. I don’t say this in judgement, but I say it to mean that if we read someone who says things that are out of line with scripture but are “more real” to us than how we should abide in actual truth, we need to consider what we are letting in. We need to consider what we’ve let get into our hearts. 

If that’s the person we praise and celebrate and encourage others to follow, we have a problem. The undercurrent matters. What is really under their statements that basically complained about everything in their life has to matter. 

Maybe this hit me the last few days because I was talking with a friend who is a new believer about being cautious about what she let influence her. I’m thankful for this reminder to always look at every part of what something says and to filter it through what matters- not what is a part of me that wants to not feel alone but instead needs to be put to death. 

That’s the danger. This kind of talk feeds the places in us that are not okay and says, “You’re not alone in feeling X, and because you’re not alone in it that makes it okay!” That sounds good, but is just plainly not true. If someone says something awful and negative and just ungodly about something like motherhood, that doesn’t make strength in numbers in feeling this way permissible. If anything it should hold up a mirror that says, “God that’s how I feel too, and I need you to help me not stay here!” It should not just confirm our deepest junk and make us feel okay about it. 

I think that’s the most troublesome part. It’s a trap. It’s real in that sense because it keeps you bogged down in negativity toward life and really important things; with this specific blogger, it was her children. Yes, having kids is stressful and SO MUCH work, but if at the end of the day your heart rests in mocking or being down on and not honoring that experience, it’s not okay whether or not you own it with 100,000 “likes.”

We learned this lesson the hard way. We were watching a pastor for years, and he’d say things that made us think, “Umm, not sure about that,” but we continued to listen. Since that day he has majorly renounced scripture and huge Biblical truths. It’s as if God, through the Holy Spirit, was sending up warning flares that we ignored because we liked “most” of what he said. This was a maturing moment that really highlighted the importance of guarding our hearts. 

In the end, we are going to stumble and get things wrong, but know that just because someone does something in the name of Jesus does not mean they do it in line with His truth.

Be careful out there friends. What you read and think become who you are and what you believe. There’s so much out there today to be influenced by. Be sure you look at the surface and undercurrent of what is being said so you don’t get pulled in and drink in beliefs that will keep you drowning.