I watched my children's helmet-covered heads disappear down the sidewalk as they sped along on their bikes, and was reminded of Proverbs 4:23: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
As parents, Bill and I take such pains to guard our kids' bodies. We make sure they wear helmets while riding their bikes, and that they are perfectly strapped into their car seats whenever we travel. We don't let them play with fire or run with scissors, and the worst punishments they've ever received have been a result of running into the street without looking.
As we continued to walk through the neighborhood, I noticed how many other things we, as humans, protect with vigor. We have secret codes on our garage doors, covers for our automobiles, and even little "no-pooping-dogs" signs on our lawns. We take great pains to protect the things of this life, but often, not life itself. I'm not speaking of our mortal lives - after all, we are eternal beings. When the Bible speaks of life, it speaks of our living souls, not the tents within which our souls reside.
When David wrote that the heart is "the wellspring of life", he knew that the state of the heart, and all that we allow to enter into it and flow out from it, is what determines the quality of one's life. If we protect the heart, we do well to feed our living souls and promote our own lives. When we allow our hearts to be polluted, that well from which the soul drinks is also poisoned, and so pulls it further from Christ, and closer to death.
When you find yourself consumed with worry about protecting your child's body from cuts, bruises, and broken bones, check your priorities. Are you taking such pains, or investing such time and emotion into protecting their hearts? What about your own?
Katherine Kimbley is a writer by trade and a mother of three. A graduate from the University of Arizona, her Fine Arts degree is in creative writing and studio art. She and her family currently live in Germany, and plan to stay in Europe where they are being led into full-time ministry.