I’ve been told countless times to guard my own heart, and I have failed. I understood not what guarding entailed, nor why it was needed. I used to think it meant higher walls and greater discernment, but I was wrong.

To guard my heart is to surrender it to the One who guards it with His peace. It meant to yield in prayer and full relationship to the One who exchanged my worries for promises. It was a communication war, us throwing grenades of love at each other. I sang a new song to Him, and He would respond, blown away by it, with a revelation that would undo me. We tore ourselves apart in love, but only in the best way.

The tenderness of this destruction was unheard of. He could break me anytime, cut away any part, burn it out, if need be. He could access anything, to heal, to move, to deposit, and to refine. My heart became His territory, His own little artist studio, and sometimes He’d splatter the paint of His will everywhere and leave me a mess, drying and waiting, dying and gaping, and the inescapable nature of this vulnerability is oftentimes still frightening. Will He leave me hanging like He left His Son to die, hanging? Will I feel forsaken or abandoned? Will I be separated from Him if I open wider, if I find myself running instead of walking? Will I grow weary? Will I run out of love? Will I become embittered? Will I have eternity here on this side, to taste perfected love on human terms? Will my oil run out if I burn with all I have? If I love without holding back? If I choose to risk against reason, to give out a love currency that bankrupts me? Will I be empty or will I breathe? Should I pace myself or should I be fully consumed by Him? Valid questions of a lover, aren’t these?

The word ‘conservative’ was challenged by the word ‘incorruptible’ because that which is incorruptible needs not to worry about conservation, reservation, or preservation. I should be the wildest of liberals with my love. Freely. No longer something to be capitalized or controlled as an investment for my profit, but blasted everywhere, at everyone, like the loudest of sound cars in Africa, the kind that leave your ears ringing and disturb you completely, or like the inconvenient nature of a sticky child’s kiss, both forceful and innocent. Love is. Love messes you up, and it’s good.

I used to be the girl who waited by the phone for that guy to call me. Hours dithering around, making only minor plans, with full hope and expectation that I’d be summoned by him, that he would be thinking of me and would want to be with me. I would imagine the conversation, even, and the “I’d love to!” response to his pending invitation. And hours would slip by, and slowly those hot tears would well up and dive down my face like tally marks of yet another day where I cared more than I should have. I used to wonder if I’d ever be missed or thought about the way I missed and thought about him. I used to question if the golden rule was a bust experiment, if I’d ever be wanted back with a consistent passion. Oh, bless. What do you even call this kind of pathetic weakness? Ahh, well… it’s tenderness.

This was the way the Lord revealed to me His sweet nature, that He pines for me in that very manner, with unapologetic tenderness, that He holds up some of His plans to wait for me. ME! It shattered me, to think that I ever let the Lord wait for me, because I was busy waiting for someone else to love me. “Whenever you’re ready!” are the words He likes to say to me. They send shivers through my body, to think that I am the one He waits for and waits on, for ME to be ready, for ME to say when. Sometimes we think that our deepest desires are far away, locked up somewhere in the heavenly realms, on shelves we can’t ourselves reach. We don’t consider much the concept that we might be the ones locking ourselves away from our own desires, with our excuses, our fears, and the forged, illegal copies of our record of wrongs. Whenever I’m ready, Lord? You’ve been waiting on me all along? Forgive me for not understanding.

I will leave behind the idol of ‘everything I’ve ever wanted’ and I will leave behind the idol of ‘my most precious time’ and I will become fiercely entangled with the One whose eyes of fire are ever on me, my clingy, affectionate, love-song Singer, the One whose words fall out and shock me with extravagance and revelation, the One whose conversation enamors me, so deeply entrenched in the mysteries of the Kingdom I so desperately seek to understand. My plan is Him. His fire will rest on me and test every aspect of my life, as it has been, leaving only a testimony of refinement and redemption. Revival will continue to stir in me, spilling into everyone and everything I come around. He needs not hardened hearts of stone. He needs vessels of tender flesh, warm, flexible, beating in unison, breathing in grace, exhaling heaven. I must, then, embrace my incorruptible tenderness. I must risk everything for Love.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure, and then he hid it in the field again. He was so happy [joyful; excited] that he went and sold everything he owned to buy that field. Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found a very valuable pearl, he went and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46